Motown legend Lamont Dozier behind hits including Baby Love and Two Hearts dies aged 81
- The songwriting genius behind multiple Motown hits has passed away
- Lamont Dozier was one third of the songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, known for co-writing The Four Tops, The Supremes and The Isley Brothers
- The team penned and produced more than 200 songs between 1962 and 1967
- A cause of death is not known at this time
Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier dies aged 81, pictured in New York in 1990
Motown legend Lamont Dozier has died, aged 81.
The songwriting genius, behind classics such as ‘Baby Love’ and ‘Two Hearts’, has passed away, his son Lamont Dozier Jr confirmed on Instagram.
He wrote alongside a picture of the pair: ‘Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!!!’
A cause of death is not known at this time.
Producer Brandon Williams led tributes to Lamont, writing: ‘Another man that sat down and taught me a lot about music is gone.
‘The great Lamont Dozier. I’ll never forget meeting and working with him along with the Holland Brothers in 2006. Thank you for all you did for me and for the world at large. You definitely made this place better.’
Lamont was one third of the iconic songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, who are known for co-writing huge hits for Motown acts such as The Four Tops, The Supremes and The Isley Brothers.
Their songwriting credits also include ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ and ‘Baby I Need Your Love’.
Holland-Dozier-Holland penned and produced more than 200 songs, with their tenure at Motown between 1962 and 1967 helping to define the sound.
Dozier’s son, Lamont Dozier Jr, posted a picture of the pair on Instagram and wrote: ‘Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!!!’
Dozier performs live on stage during a rehearsal at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 22nd September 2001
From left to right is pictured Diana Ross, Lamont Dozier (at piano), Mary Wilson, Eddie Holland, Florence Ballard (seated) and Brian Holland in the Motown studio circa 1965 in Detroit
Lamont Dozier at Air Studio in Montserrat Various
Born in Detroit, Michigan, aka Music City, Lamont’s first foray into music was singing in the gospel choir at this local Baptist church.
Motown boss Berry Gordy first approached him when he was with a group called the Romeos, but he was only 16 and didn’t immediately jump at the chance.
He started working for a sister label called Anna Records, jumping ship to Motown when the company went under.
Motown record label had a group called the Matadors, who went on to become the Miracles – their hits ‘Shop Around’ and ‘Please Mr Postman’ propelled the label into enormous fame.
There, Lamont met Brian and Eddie Holland, the beginnings of the now world-famous writing-producing team.
‘We were as surprised as anybody else when we came up with so many songs.’ he said in an interview with The Guardian in 2015.
The team would get into the studio at 9am and often work until 3am, grinding out song after song.
Some took 15 minutes, whereas other they spent 15 days working on.
He said they had a mission to write music that was cheerful and optimistic, despite what was going on in the world at the time.
The approach created the signature style of dark lyrics combined with an upbeat tempo familiar to many of their fans.
President Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Leron Gubler, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Songwriter Stevie Wonder, Record Producer Berry Gordy, Singer Mary Wilson and Councilman Tom LaBonge attend The Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony honoring Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier And Eddie Holland at Hollywood Walk Of Fame on February 13, 2015
Lamont Dozier, Boy George and producer Stewart Levine at Air Studios in the Carribbean island of Montserrat Various
That became our style: making lemonade out of lemons,’ he said. ‘I think that’s why the songs have lasted, all around the world.’
Lamont and siblings Eddie and Brian Holland would get their first string of hits with The Vandellas’ ‘Come and Get These Memories’ and ‘Heatwave’ in 1963.
A year later, they hit the big time with The Supremes’ mega-hit ‘Where Did Our Love Go’, their first No.1, and certainly not their last, as they went on to score a further nine chart-toppers.
In 1973, Lamont parted ways with his songwriting partners and released his own music.
The following decade, he and Phil Collins joined forces on a new rendition of ‘Two Hearts’ for the soundtrack to the 1988 film ‘Buster’.
It topped the charts and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1989.
In 1990, Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Towards the end of his life, Lamont moved into the musical theatre business.
Lamont’s composer credits include tracks for the likes of Kanye West, Sir Rod Stewart, Lil Wayne, and Solange, to name a few.
‘Your dad lives on forever in the beautiful music he shared with the world’, said an Instagram user commenting on Lamont Dozier Jr’s post.
Other fans took to social media to commemorate Dozier’s passing.
The band Simply Red, who wrote four songs with Dozier, described him as ‘one of the greatest songwriters of all time’.
‘Rest easy, Lamont Dozier, natural born hitmaker,’ said another fan.