June 9, 2023

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Lamont Doziere, Motown songwriter of countless classics, dies at 81

Lamont Dozier. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Matt Lamont Dozier, Motown songwriter and producer, who helped create hit songs for artists like the Supremes, Four Tops, and Isley Brothers. He was 81 years old.

The news was confirmed by his son Lamont Doziere Jr. Who wrote on Instagram, “Rest in heavenly peace, Father!” The cause of death has not yet been announced.

Doozier was born in Detroit on June 16, 1941 and began his career in music as a singer, performing with many local doo-wop groups such as the Romeos and Voicemasters. In 1962, he signed to nascent Motown Records for Berry Gordy as artist, producer, and songwriter, and soon found himself working with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. The trio—which has come to be known as Holland-Dozier-Holland, or just HDH—had some deep cuts during their year together, but the generation-defining success came soon enough.

In 1963 Holland-Dozier-Holland recorded her first 10 hits with Martha and Vandals “Heat Wave” and “Quicksand”, as well as “Mickey’s Monkey” in Miracles. While Eddie Holland drafted the lyrics and audio production for the songs they wrote, Dozier and Brian Holland served as lead producers and coordinators for the band, working closely with the Motown House band, Funk Brothers, to fine-tune the label’s signature mix of R&B. and pop (with some big orchestral booms thrown in well).

In 1964, songwriting and voice-over perfectly combined with vocal talent and star power when Dutch Dozier Holland teamed up with the Supremes. That year, HDH created three iconic numbers for the girl group, “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love” and “Come See About Me”.

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In a 2003 interview with rolling rockDozier said that after he hit “Where Did Our Love Go” number one, he knew HDH had a special kind of chemistry: “Brian and I used to have lunch on that little tour, and as soon as that wheel started rolling,” I said, “Where did he go?” Our love, man, we stumbled upon something – feel it? He said, “Yeah, I feel that too.” I said, “I don’t know what this is, but I don’t think this thing is going to stop.” …it was like being at the carnival and ringing that bell, Pam! number one! bam! number one! bam! number one! When we weren’t doing that with the Supremes, we were here with the Four Summits. bam! It was surreal.”

HDH scored another seven points with the Supremes, bringing their total with the group to 10 in the short period between 1964 and 1967. Furthermore, the trio were also writing and producing timeless songs for other Motown favourites, such as Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet (To Love You)” and ‘I can’t help myself (Sugar Pie Bunch Honey)’ and ‘Give a helping hand I’ll be there.’

With reference to making the last track in The The Wall Street Journal In 2013, Dozier recalled how they encouraged Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs to tap into his inner Bob Dylan while recording lyrics. “Back in ’66, we listened a lot to Bob Dylan. He was the poet then, and his talkative style inspired us in Like a Rolling Stone. Dylan was something else – a man we looked up to. We loved the complexity of his words and how he pronounced and sung the lines. In some places. We wanted Levi to sing the lyrics to “Reach Outs – as a threat to Dylan.”

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In 1967, Dozier Holland left Motown due to a contract dispute with the label’s founder, Berry Gordy. Subsequent lawsuits were not settled until the late 1970s, but during that time, the trio continued to release their own labels, Invictus and Hot Wax, and continued to make music. In 1970, they recorded hits with the board chairs “Just Give Me A Little Time” and Frida Payne’s “Golden Band”. Dozier also began making music himself again, releasing a handful of high-chart R&B tunes including 1972’s “Why Can’t We Be Lovers” (attributed to Dozier and Brian Holland), and 1973’s “Trying to Hold on My Woman”. “

Dozier returned to the top of the charts again in the late 1980s when he partnered with Phil Collins to co-write and produce “Two Hearts,” which appeared on the film’s soundtrack. Mutt. Besides achieving number one, the song was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, and shared a Golden Globe in the same category with Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” (from working girl), and Dozier earned his first Grammy Award nomination and win (for Best Song Written for Motion Picture or Television).

In 1988, Holland-Dozier-Holland was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, while two years later they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In a 2019 interview with Detroit Free PressDozier also prepared to publish his memoirs with a suitable title, How sweet is itThe songwriter reflects on his work and the remarkable legacy of the music he helped create. “Everything I write,” he said, “I give credit to God, the inspiring master.” “I thank him for letting me put my name on his music. That’s how it started [regarding] He. She. I don’t read music and I can’t write it either. I did it all by ear and feeling when I sat down at the piano…but I still hear these things over and over again. It still hasn’t calmed down. They still play that music, man. amazing thing. I thought some of it wouldn’t last a day. But it’s been here for 60 years, and it feels great – all over the world.”

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