Lamont Dozier, co-author of dozens of hits for Motown, dies at 81
Lamont Dozier, who with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in pop music history, died Monday at the age of 81. The cause of death was not revealed.
Together, the Holland-Dozier-Holland team wrote dozens of hits for the Motown label in the 1960s, including more than a dozen #1s. The Supremes benefited most from the trio’s talent, but Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas and the Four Tops also recorded classics composed by them.
Dozier was, alongside Brian, responsible for the instrumental part of the tracks, including production. Eddie wrote the lyrics and arranged the vocals. The list of hits written by them is impressive: “Baby Love”, “Where Did Our Love Go?”, “Back In My Arms Again”, “My World Is Empty Without You”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, ” You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, all by the Supremes, “Heat Wave” (Martha And The Vandellas), “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” and “Baby I Need Your Loving” (by the Four Tops) and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Marvin Gaye).
Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1969 unhappy with the way they were treated by the company. For three years they were not allowed to use their names in any production. In 1969 they launched their own labels, Hot Wax Music and Invictus.
The venture may not have generated much money, in 1977 the companies went bankrupt, or achieved many hits on the charts but left a series of great albums and singles for the history of soul music and, at least, one masterpiece: “Band Of Gold ” in the voice of Freda Payne (1970).
Dozier left the Holland brothers in 1974 and continued working alone – in 1989 “Two Hearts”, recorded by Phil Collins and composed by the two, reached the top of the US singles chart.
Dozier reunited with his old partners to compose the songs for the musical based on the movie “O Clube das Desquitadas”. The first version of the piece had only new songs. Later versions also included some of the trio’s classics, but the negative reviews, although audiences were more generous, eventually led to its cancellation before it hit Broadway. Dozier also recorded albums as a singer, alone or in partnership with Brian Holland.