Prolific singer-songwriter Lamont Dozier penned hits for the Marvelettes, the Supremes, <a href=”Marvin Gaye”>Marvin Gaye</a>, Martha and the Vandellas, the 4 Tops, the Isley Brothers and lots of extra over his decades-long profession. Dozier helped outline the signature sound of Motown Information — one which has been coated, sampled, interpolated and utilized in soundtracks for generations.
Via his musical collaboration with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, Dozier co-wrote, organized and produced a string of basic hits within the Sixties. Amongst his in depth canon are songs like “You Hold Me Hangin’ On,” “Warmth Wave,” “I Cannot Assist Myself,” and “Nowhere to Run.” With out Dozier’s capacity to craft catchy hooks and grooves, Motown could have by no means develop into the powerhouse label that modified the course of music historical past.
Dozier’s inventive choices impressed artists throughout many genres, so when his publicist introduced information of his passing on the age of 81, social media was flooded with heartfelt tributes from notable collaborators and admirers of his work, together with Brian Wilson, Mitch Hucknall of Merely Crimson, Paul Stanley of KISS, and singer-songwriter Carole King.
Diana Ross — who first met Dozier within the ’60s when he co-wrote 10 No. 1 singles for the Supremes, together with “Child Love” and “Come See About Me” — paid tribute to the late songwriter on Twitter: “He’ll all the time be remembered by way of all the attractive songs that he wrote for me and the Supremes, and so many different stunning songs.”
Motown Information founder Berry Gordy performed a serious function in getting Dozier’s profession off the bottom. “Lamont was an excellent arranger and producer who balanced the abilities of the good Eddie and Brian Holland, serving to to drag all of it collectively,” Gordy stated in an announcement. “H-D-H, as we referred to as them, gave the Supremes not solely their first No. 1 file, ‘The place Did Our Love Go,’ however they adopted that with a number of No. 1s over the subsequent three years. Remarkable…Within the Sixties, their sound turned synonymous with the ‘Motown Sound.'”
(L-R) Diana Ross, Lamont Dozier (at piano), Mary Wilson, Eddie Holland, Florence Ballard (seated) and Brian Holland within the Motown studio circa 1965. | Photograph by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photos
Dozier’s journey to the highest of the charts started in Detroit, the place he was born and raised within the Black Backside district. Raised by a single mom who labored onerous to supply for him and his siblings, Dozier was a inventive, bold child and a little bit of a romantic — he was often called “the love physician” at his junior excessive the place he offered love letters to classmates. He knew he wished to make music, so he started writing songs as he discovered his subsequent strikes.
In highschool, Dozier took a serious step towards reaching his music goals when his interracial doo-wop group, the Romeos, stumbled right into a recording contract with a newly shaped impartial label. The group’s single “Wonderful, Wonderful Child” quickly caught the eye of Atlantic Information, which purchased the track from them. Dozier seen the sale as an indication of fine issues to return and promptly dropped out of highschool to dedicate all of his time to creating music, a lot to the dismay of his mom. However the Romeos’ success was short-lived — Dozier overplayed his hand throughout negotiations with Atlantic, abruptly ending the group’s collaboration with the label. They disbanded shortly thereafter.
After the group cut up, Dozier got down to earn a residing as a solo artist. In 1960, Dozier recorded his first solo undertaking with Anna Information, a label co-founded by Gordy’s sister Gwen. He recorded two tracks for the label, a midtempo ballad and a cool B-side referred to as “Popeye.” A younger Marvin Gaye performed drums on “Popeye,” which turned a regional hit earlier than the label was pressured to drag the file due to its references to the trademarked spinach-loving cartoon character.
When Gwen and her husband offered Anna Information to Motown and in 1962, Gordy got here a-knockin.’ After years of circling one another, Dozier agreed to hitch Motown as a songwriter/performer and partnered with songwriter Brian Holland to pen tracks for the Contours and the Marvelettes. They quickly recruited Holland’s brother Eddie, and every H-D-H member had a important function: Eddie could be the lyricist; Dozier, the thought man who created the lyrical ideas, and Brian would write the music.
In accordance with the Songwriters Corridor of Fame, H-D-H composed over 400 songs, 70 high 10 singles, and 40 No. 1 hits for Motown earlier than leaving on account of contract disputes in 1972. (The trio has since been inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Fame and the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame.)
Although the trio continued working collectively sometimes below a unique moniker, Dozier’s focus was on his burgeoning solo profession, throughout which he launched 12 albums. Whereas he couldn’t replicate H-D-H’s success along with his personal pursuits, the hitmaker earned accolades for his solo efforts and different collaborations, together with an Academy Award nomination and a GRAMMY win for his work on Phil Collins’ 1988 track “Two Hearts.”
Alongside his inventive pursuits, Dozier was closely concerned in music schooling all through his profession. The veteran songwriter helped develop the Pop Music Program at USC Thornton Faculty of Music and labored carefully with rising younger artists as the varsity’s Artist-in-Residence. “I found that I draw numerous vitality and inspiration from working with college students who love music and are hungry to study the craft,” he wrote in his 2019 memoir, How Candy It Is.
When he wasn’t composing, instructing, or spending time along with his household, Dozier held a number of management positions throughout the Recording Academy and left an indelible impression on those that crossed paths with him. “Lamont poured his coronary heart and soul into his craft, shaping the sound of Motown and eternally influencing the artwork of songwriting,” wrote Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. “We’ll keep in mind his pure capacity to pen legendary music that linked individuals internationally.”
“Lamont was a nationwide treasure and wrote a number of the most iconic songs of any technology. He was variety, humble and a pacesetter within the Recording Academy household,” provides Susan Stewart, Managing Director of the Songwriters & Composers Wing. “Most just lately, he served as an Honorary Chair for the Songwriters & Composers Wing, a job that honored his love and respect for his fellow writers. He can be so deeply missed by all of us.”
Over his six-decade profession, Lamont Dozier helped craft a novel mix of R&B, gospel and pop music that not solely outlined the Motown Sound however took flight for artists past Motor Metropolis f. Listed here are some important tracks produced, co-written and organized by the prolific hitmaker.
“How Candy It Is” – Marvin Gaye
Launched in 1964, “How Candy It Is (to be Beloved by you)” was an instantaneous hit for Marvin Gaye, who recorded the track in a single take. The love track hit No. 6 on the singles charts and have become Gaye’s most profitable track up to now.
The one’s success was bittersweet for Dozier, who had supposed to file the track for his solo profession. “As soon as Marvin had his hit with [‘How Sweet It Is’], I accepted that an artist profession simply wasn’t within the playing cards for me,” Dozier wrote. “I nonetheless wished it, however I used to be continually bombarded with demand for extra songs, and extra productions for [Motown’s] rising roster of artists.”
After penning numerous tracks for different artists, Dozier was ultimately in a position to make his dream come true — he launched a dozen solo albums all through his profession.
“The place Did Our Love Go?” – The Supremes
The Supremes’ first No. 1 hit charted for 14 weeks, however with out Dozier’s persistence, the group could have by no means recorded it. H-D-H had initially penned the monitor for the Marvelettes, who rejected it, which led Dozier to convey it to Diana Ross and The Supremes, who had been additionally not followers of the sound.
The songwriter was caught between a rock and a tough place: if he could not promote the only, the label would make H-D-H take in the manufacturing prices, so giving up was not an choice. Fortunately for H-D-H, the Supremes had but to attain successful single, in order that they had been in no place to move on the track. Due to Dozier’s tenacity and Berry Gordy’s stamp of approval, the trio gave in and agreed to launch the star-making hit that will launch them into the mainstream.
“You Hold Me Hangin’ On” – The Supremes
A sound impact from a radio information bulletin impressed the attention-grabbing basis of this hit track. “I remembered that staccato impact that preceded the information,” Dozier wrote. So he employed a guitarist to recreate the information alert on the monitor. “I believed that will be a cool means for us to sonically say, ‘Hey, listen.'” And the world did.
The track topped the charts and impressed new iterations from artists throughout varied genres and generations together with Vanilla Fudge, Kim Wilde, Rod Stewart and Reba McEntire.
“I believe that is in all probability one in all my favourite songs in our catalog due to the best way it has continued to resonate with completely different individuals by way of completely different variations for various generations over all these years,” Dozier wrote.
“Child I Want Your Loving” – The 4 Tops
What got here first: the music or the lyrics? Within the case of “Child, I Want Your Loving,” the music got here three years earlier than the lyrics.
Dozier and Brian Holland organized and composed the music for this hit track throughout a three-hour inventive session, however Dozier would not crack the lyrical idea till a 12 months later when the muse deposited a few strains into his inventive financial institution: “Child, I would like your love. Obtained to have all of your love.” The 2 iconic strains helped introduce the 4 Tops to a wider viewers, garnering them their first High 20 hit. (The track peaked at No. 11.)
“Cease! Within the Identify of Love” – The Supremes
This basic monitor was impressed by an argument that Dozier had with a lady he was seeing. “I used to be attempting to defuse the argument, and it got here out, ‘Cease within the identify of affection,'” Dozier instructed Rolling Stone.
“I used to be attempting to be facetious, however the lady did not suppose it was that humorous. However then I thought of it, and there was a money register ringing. The subsequent day I introduced it into the fellows, and Brian was taking part in this factor that appeared to suit it, and we had it proper off the bat.”
“Two Hearts” – Phil Collins
“Phil Collins and I turned buddies and admirers of each other from the primary time we met,” Dozier wrote. The songwriting vet partnered with the drummer-turned-solo celebrity to provide this monitor for the 1988 movement image “Buster,” which earned the duo a GRAMMY Award, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award nomination.
This wasn’t the primary collaboration between Collins and Dozier — the duo had labored on tracks for Eric Clapton‘s “August” — and it would not be the final. Each Collins and Clapton made visitor appearances on Dozier’s “Inside Seduction” album.
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