Lamont Dozier Dies: Hit-Making Motown Mastermind Was 81

Lamont Dozier, who along with his songwriting and producing partners brothers Brian and Eddie Holland was a pioneer and driving force of Detroit’s beloved “Motown Sound” of the 1960s and 1970s, has died. He was 81.

His death was announced on Instagram today by his son Lamont Dozier Jr. No cause or additional details were given, with Lamont Jr. writing only, “Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!”

The famous Holland-Dozier-Holland team was the force behind such iconic Motown hits as “Heatwave” by Martha and The Vandellas, numerous hits by The Supremes, including “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Baby Love,” scores of songs by The Four Tops (“Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”), The Isley Brothers (“This Old Heart of Mine”) and Marvin Gaye (“Can I Get A Witness?”.

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While Dozier and Brian Holland tended to focus on musical arrangement and production, Eddie Holland chiefly handled lyrics.

After Motown, Dozier founded and owned Invictus Records and Hot Wax Records, producing hits for Freda Payne, Honey Cone and Chairmen of the Board.

A Detroit native, Dozier joined Motown in 1962, as did the Holland Brothers, and would ultimately co-write and produce 14 U.S. #1 hits, with four #1s in the UK.

The trio left Motown in 1968 to form their own Invictus and Hot Wax labels. Around that time, Dozier began to sing and perform himself, and though he had some minor success on the charts, he never attained the performing status of the musicians and singers he had helped create.

For TV, Dozier wrote and sang the second theme song of the ABC sitcom That’s My Mama. In the 1980s, he returned to hit-making with his collaboration with Phil Collins, co-writing the Golden Globe-winning song “Two Hearts” that was featured in the movie Buster.

British singer Alison Moyet had a hit in 1984 with Dozier’s “Invisible,” and in ’87 Dozier wrote the song “Without You,” sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, for the film Leonard Part 6.

Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

In addition to his son Lamont Jr., Dozier is survived by wife Barbara Ullman Dozier and five other children.

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