Lamont Dozier, the legendary songwriter and producer who helped establish the Motown sound as one third of the Holland-Dozier-Holland trio, has died. Dozier’s son Lamont Dozier Jr. confirmed his father’s death on social media. No cause of death was provided. Dozier was 81.
Born in Detroit in 1941, Dozier grew up singing with the Romeos and the Voice Masters, which were part of Motor City’s vibrant vocal scene. After being recruited by Motown boss Berry Gordy, Dozier joined forces with the brothers Eddie and Brian Holland in 1962. Dozier and Brian Holland would focus on musical arrangements and production, while Eddie Holland was tasked with writing lyrics. The team found success early on with hits for Martha and the Vandellas, the Miracles, and Marvin Gaye, before landing their first No. 1 hit with the Supremes’ ‘Where Did Our Love Go’. They went on to write and produce nine more No. 1 hits for the Supremes, including ‘Baby Love’, ‘Come See About Me’, ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’, ‘I Hear a Symphony’, and ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’, and were also behind the Four Tops chart-toppers ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’ and ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)’.
After a royalty dispute with Berry Gordy, the trio left Motown in 1968 to form two labels, Invictus and Hot Wax, penning hits such as Freda Payne’s ‘Band Of Gold’ and Chairmen of the Board’s ‘Just Give Me a Little More Time’. Dozier parted ways with the group in 1973 to focus on his career as a lead artist, scoring a Top 20 hit with the 1974 single ‘Trying to Hold on to My Woman’. In the late 1980s, Dozier started collaborating with Phil Collins, co-writing and producing the No. 1 single ‘Two Hearts’, and also worked with Carly Simon and Alison Moyet. Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.