Motown Songwriter-Producer Lamont Dozier Dead at 81

Motown Songwriter-Producer Lamont Dozier Dead at 81

Published August 10, 2022
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Lamont Dozier, the middle name of the celebrated Holland-Dozier-Holland team that wrote and produced “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Heat Wave” and dozens of other hits and helped make Motown an essential record company of the 1960s and beyond, has died at age 81.

Dozier’s death was confirmed Tuesday by Paul Lambert, who helped produce the stage musical “The First Wives Club” that Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for. Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the original Four Tops, called Dozier a “beautiful, talented guy” with an uncanny sense of what material worked best for a given group.

“I like to call Holland-Dozier-Holland ‘tailors of music,’” he said Tuesday during a telephone interview. “They could take any artist, call them into their office, talk to them, listen to them and write them a top 10 song.”

In Motown’s historic, self-defined rise to the “Sound of Young America,” Holland-Dozier-Holland stood out even compared to such gifted peers as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Barrett Strong. Over a four-year period, 1963-67, Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland crafted more than 25 top 10 songs and mastered the blend of pop and rhythm and blues that allowed the Detroit label, and founder Berry Gordy, to defy boundaries between Black and white music and rival the Beatles on the airwaves.