Even those who are not unfamiliar with recent music history may falter at his name. Lamont Dozier was not just a man in the background, but above all part of a legendary trio whose names are now much more common: Holland, Dozier, Holland – the songwriters and producers shaped the Motown label in Detroit, Michigan.
Lamont Dozier was born there on June 16, 1941, and early on he tried unsuccessfully as a singer. Nevertheless, Berry Gordy recognized the talent and brought Dozier to his Motown label, which he had founded three years earlier – a stroke of luck for both sides, because without the songs by Holland, Dozier, Holland, Motown might not be an independent term for the soul sound of the 1960s today -Years: Confident and funky, apolitical at first glance, but accompaniment to the black civil rights movement.
Detroit in the Rust Belt, the largest industrial region of the USA, was home to the big US car manufacturers and motor factories – the Motor Town, from which Berry Gordy unceremoniously made the name Motown. Modeled on the production lines in car factories, his label was to produce hits on an assembly line.
The brothers Eddie and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier implemented Gordy’s goal, soon Motown also reached a white audience and ended up not only in the black R&B charts but also on the big ones, the Billboard charts, right at the top.
“The Black Bach”
If you leaf through the booklet of a Motown compilation today, you will constantly come across their names: under “Heat Wave” by Martha & The Vandellas, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “Stop! In the Name of Love” and several other songs by The Supremes with lead singer Diana Ross, “I Can’t Help Myself” by the Four Tops, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by Marvin Gaye.
Dozier was involved in a dozen number one hits, and 35 songs he co-wrote made the US top 10. With the Holland brothers he worked out melodies and lyrics, wrote refrains and composed on the piano. The trio have always had a high degree of artistic freedom, Dozier once said.
In 1968 the trio left Motown in a dispute over better pay and founded their own labels Invictus and Hot Wax. In the 1970s, Dozier released his own albums, one of which bore the self-confident title “Black Bach”. His most famous songs were “Going Back To My Roots” and “Why Can’t We Be Lovers”.
With their tracks, Dozier and the Holland brothers influenced the music world and laid the foundation for much of what followed in the later decades: Motown’s successes with the Jackson 5 or Stevie Wonder and the disco era in the 1970s, which turned to the Soul-opening pop music from the 1980s or hip-hop that still likes to sample Motown numbers today.
Countless artists have covered Dozier’s pieces, including Phil Collins, who not only took on the Supremes classic “You Can’t Hurry Love”, but also wrote the hit “Two Hearts” together with Dozier in 1986. Collins, then a superstar, retaliated with the chorus on Dozier’s 1991 single “The Quiet’s Too Loud”.
In 2010, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In her speech, Diana Ross emphasized that the music they shared was born out of love.
Lamont Dozier was married twice and had six children. As announced by his son Lamont Dozier Jr. on August 9, Lamont Dozier died a day earlier at the age of 81.