Motown Magic (and Beyond): Lamont Dozier's Best Songs

L-R: Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland in 2003
Photo Credit
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Born in Detroit, Mich. on June 16, 1941, Lamont Dozier went on to become part of one of the greatest songwriting and producing partnerships in the history of popular music, and a fundamental architect of the Motown sound. After Motown, Dozier continued writing hits for other artists and even scoring a few of his own, as a performer.

After trying to earn fame in the late ‘50s as part of such local Detroit acts as The Romeos and The Voice Masters, in 1962 Dozier was introduced to brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, and the trio formed the songwriting and production team Holland-Dozier-Holland. The following year, they penned and produced a Top 5 hit for Martha & The Vandellas, “Heat Wave.”

Over the next year, Holland-Dozier-Holland also wrote and oversaw tracks by the likes of Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells and The Miracles, and in 1964, they began perhaps their greatest artistic partnership, with The Supremes, who took three of the team’s songs to No. 1 that year alone, beginning with “Where Did Our Love Go?”

READ MORE: August 1964: The Supremes Charm America with "Where Did Our Love Go"

The late ‘60s were a turbulent time in the U.S., but Motown kept churning out hits of a consistently high quality, thanks in no small part to the Holland-Dozier-Holland team. In 1966, the Four Tops took their song “Reach Out I’ll Be There” to No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts.

READ MORE: October 1966: Four Tops on Top Again with "Reach Out I'll Be There"

Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1968 over an argument about money, but the trio continued to write and produce hits under the pseudonym "Edythe Wayne." One of these was Freda Payne’s 1970 hit “Band of Gold.”

READ MORE: FREDA PAYNE: Classic Soul 1976 Interview

In the early '70s, Lamont Dozier split from the Holland brothers and resumed his career as a performer. His biggest hit was the string-laden ballad “Trying to Hold Onto My Woman,” which hit the Top 20 in 1974.

BONUS: Several songs written by Dozier alone were hits for other artists, including Phil Collins (“Two Hearts”) and British chanteuse Alison Moyet’s 1984 hit “Invisible.”

 

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