Motown songwriting legend Lamont Dozier dead at 81

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Lamont Dozier, one-third of the legendary Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, has died, his son announced on Instagram Tuesday. He was 81.

Lamont Dozier Jr. posted a photo of himself with his famous father and wrote, “Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!” Details of his death are not known at this time.

Dozier and brothers Eddie Holland and Brian Holland joined Motown in 1962 and wrote more than 200 songs for the label’s acts, helping to create the “Motown Sound.” Dozier and Brian worked as musical arrangers and producers, while Eddie focused on lyrics and vocal production. 

Together, the trio wrote 10 #1 hits, including The Supremes‘ “Where Did Our Love Go,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love” and The Four Tops‘ “I Can’t Help Myself” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There.”  They also penned classic hits for Martha & The Vandellas, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye and The Isley Brothers.

In 1988 and 1990, Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted, respectively, into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The trio left Motown in 1968 to form the labels Invictus and Hot Wax. In 1973, Dozier left the trio, recording albums as a solo artist and penning songs for others. Some of his later co-writes included the Phil Collins‘ smash “Two Hearts,” Alison Moyet‘s “Invisible,” Debbie Gibson‘s “Anything Is Possible,” and “Without You” by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle.

In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Dozier explained why the songs the trio wrote were mostly empathetic toward women. “Women bought the records, to put it bluntly,” Dozier said. “They wanted music that talked about their feelings, but also … women raised me … I trusted women, and I still do.”

Fellow hitmaking songwriter of the ’60s Carole King tweeted, “Gerry [Goffin] & I respected Holland Dozier Holland over at Motown. Striving to keep up with them made us better songwriters. Rest In Peace and power Lamont Dozier.”

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