Legendary Motown Songwriter Lamont Dozier Dies at 81

Lamont Dozier, one-third of the legenday “Holland-Dozier-Holland” songwriting and production trio who wrote many of Motown Records’ biggest hits for the Supremes, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas and others, has died at the age of 81. The news was confirmed by his son Lamont Dozier Jr on social media; no cause of death has been released as yet.

Hits written and produced by Dozier with siblings Brian and Eddie Holland read like a greatest-hits of Motown’s early years: “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “Stop! in the Name of Love,” “How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You),” “Baby Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “You Keep Me Hanging On” and many others. They racked up 10 of the Supremes’ 12 No. 1 singles in the U.S. and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

While the group had a falling out with Motown founder Berry Gordy, they continued to have hits into the early 1970s with Freda Payne and Dionne Warwick and others, although not at their prior level of success.

Born in Detroit in 1941, Dozier struggled early in his career but found almost immediate success after uniting with the Holland brothers and beginning work at Motown in 1962. The following year they scored three hits for Martha and the Vandellas, “Come and Get These Memories,” “Heatwave” and “Quicksand,” and were off and running. The trio’s hits continued unabated throughout the decade as Motown thrived, but in 1968 parted ways with the company and, due to legal complications, worked under pseudonyms for a time.

The group’s hits continued with songs like Freda Payne’s hit “Band of Gold” and their own Invictus and Hot Wax labels, and Dozier also worked as a solo artist for a number of years. Separate from the Holland brothers, his song “Going Back to My Roots” was a hit in 1981 when covered by the group Odyssey. Later, Dozier worked with longtime fan Phil Collins on the American chart-topper “Two Hearts” and followed by working with other artists who grew up on Motown and reflected his hits in their sound, including British singer Alison Moyet and group Simply Red.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their three children.


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