Lamont Dozier
Lamont Dozier | Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Lamont Dozier, Iconic Motown Songwriter, Dies Aged 81

Famed singer, songwriter and record producer Lamont Dozier has passed away at the age of 81. News of the industry great’s passing was confirmed by his son, Lamont Dozier, Jr., with no cause of death given.

Dozier was renowned for his role in helping to define the Motown sound, working alongside brothers Brian and Eddie Holland to create the Holland–Dozier–Holland songwriting and production team. Together, the trio were responsible for writing some of the most memorable songs of the era, including ten number one singles for The Supremes.

Lamont Dozier received his first number one for The Supremes’ ‘Where Did Our Love Go’

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1941, Dozier entered the music industry as a teenager, performing with groups The Romeos and The Voice Masters, before an introduction from his wife at age 20 saw him team up with the Holland brothers. Within a year, the trio had penned their first charting single, ‘Locking Up My Heart’, for The Marvelettes, before writing ‘Heat Wave’ for Martha & The Vandellas just months later, giving them their first number one on the US R&B charts.

Dozier worked with Brian Holland in composing and producing each Holland-Dozier-Holland track, while Eddie Holland took care of the lyrics and vocal arrangements. Within just a few short years, the group’s fingerprints could be found all over the international pop charts thanks to songs from The Miracles, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers, and more.

In 1967, a legal dispute put an end to the songwriting partnership on paper, with the group instead publishing material under the pseudonym Wayne-Dunbar. In 1973, Dozier left Holland-Dozier-Holland to pursue his own career as a solo artist, and later as a composer and arranger, working with the likes of Phil Collins and Joss Stone in subsequent decades.

In 1990, Dozier’s legacy was honoured by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, where he was inducted as part of Holland–Dozier–Holland, with The Supremes’ Diana Ross performing the honours.

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