Legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier has died at age 81. His son Lamont Dozier Jr. confirmed his father’s passing on an Instagram post. Dozier was one-third of Motown’s Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team with brothers Eddie and Brian. They were responsible for writing some of the most revered songs in pop for The Supremes (“Stop! In The Name Of Love”), The Four Tops (“Baby, I Need Your Love”), Martha And The Vandellas (“Heatwave”), Marvin Gaye (“Can I Get A Witness”) and more. The trio helped Motown during its defining moments in the ’60s during their time at the company from 1962-67. Legal issues forced them to work under the name Edythe Wayne from 1969-72. When they left Motown they continued to work together as a production team until 1974. They also started the record labels Hot Wax and Invictus and had their biggest success with Freda Payne’s “Band Of Gold.”
Dozier was a native Detroiter who started his career as a teenager in the group he founded called The Romeos in 1957. They signed with Atco Records and had a charting song with “Fine, Fine Baby.” When the group disbanded he joined the doo-wop group The Voicemasters. They were signed to Anna Records which was founded by Gwen and Anna Gordy before their brother Berry Jr. started Motown. The work he did with Motown got Holland-Dozier-Holland inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
In the ’70s Dozier recorded some solo albums and had hits in 1974 with “Trying To Hold On To My Woman,” “Fish, Ain’t Bitin'” and in 1977 with “Going Back To My Roots.” “Fish, Ain’t Bitin'” became known because Dozier’s lyrics suggested then-president Richard Nixon needed to resign and the White House sent a letter to the record label telling them to stop promoting the song. He wrote the theme song for the second season of the television show That’s My Mama. In the ’80s he worked with Phil Collins and they wrote “Two Hearts” for the movie Buster. Dozier also wrote “Without You” which was sung by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle for the film Leonard Part 6. Mick Hucknall of English R&B band Simply Red collaborated with Dozier on “Suffer” and “Infidelity” from the group’s 1987 sophomore album.
In the 2000s Dozier was an Artist-In-Residence Professor at the University of Southern California School Of Music. In 2019, his autobiography How Sweet It Is was released.