R.I.P. Lamont Dozier

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. 



SHOF Master Class With Lamont Dozier, Writer Of Motown’s Greatest Hits With H-D-H

Master Class moderator Nelson George and Lamont Dozier
Photo credit: Shawn Ehlers

Last night, the sold out crowd at the Kaufman Center for the Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Class was treated to a very special, intimate evening of stories about the wonder years of Motown Records and the origination of some of the many hits written by Lamont Dozier and the powerhouse songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland(H-D-H). H-D-H were credited with creating the Motown Sound and had 13 #1 consecutive hits with The Supremes alone!. Some of their classics include “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “Stop! In The Name of Love,” and “Where Did Our Love Go.” Moderator and cultural commentator Nelson George coaxed fascinating and entertaining tales out of the songwriting icon about working with Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, The Marvelettes, Phil Collins and, most recently, Solange Knowles, but also shared songwriting tips that helped propel his career, making him a living legend in the industry. At the end of the Master Class, the crowd helped Dozier celebrate his 68th birthday, singing “Happy Birthday” in unison as a big candlelit cake was brought out onstage.

On Thursday, June 18, Lamont Dozier will receive the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award along with Brian Holland and Eddie Holland, Jr. at the Songwriters Hall of Fame 40th Anniversary Gala.
SHOF Chairman/CEO and songwriting icon Hal David, Lamont Dozier and Nelson George
Following the Master Class, SHOF presented the 2009 Abe Olman Scholarships for Excellence in Songwriting, which is given annually to five promising young songwriters who have risen to an exemplary standard. This year’s Abe Olman Scholarship recipients are: Madi Diaz (SHOF), Michael Grubbs (SESAC), April Lynn Smith (BMI) , Kirsten Thien (SGA) and Natalie Warner (ASCAP).

SHOT Celebrating Its 40th Anniversary, Announces 2009 Master Class With Lamont Dozier On 6/16

New York, N.Y. – April 2, 2009 – Songwriters Hall of Fame (SongHall), now in its 40th year, is pleased to announce their 2009 Master Class event. The spotlight will shine on SongHall Inductee Lamont Dozier, who will be honored with the prestigious 2009 Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Awards Gala, as previously announced.

The Master Class will take place on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 8:00 PM at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center, located at 129 West 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam.

The same evening, there will be presentations of SongHall’s esteemed Abe Olman Scholarships for Excellence in Songwriting to gifted young writers.

The Songwriters Hall of Fame Master Class series offers an extraordinary and intimate view of the creative processes of some of our most prolific and well-known songwriters.

“With his celebrated contributions to popular music history, we are proud Lamont Dozier will lead our next Master Class,” commented SongHall Chairman/CEO and songwriter extraordinaire Hal David.

In the heyday of Motown, the songwriting team of Lamont Dozier, together with brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, created a massive stream of songs for the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Marvelettes and Marvin Gaye. Catalog highlights include “Baby Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” “Stop! In The Name of Love,” “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart,” “Heat Wave,” “Nowhere to Run,” “Bernadette,” “It’s The Same Old Song” and more. Holland-Dozier-Holland were the architects of the self-titled Sound of Young America, and created the songs that turned a fledgling Detroit record company into an industry groundbreaker and powerhouse.

Lamont Dozier has gone on to record numerous gold and platinum solo albums. He’s written and produced for mega artists Alison Moyet, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Simply Red and Phil Collins, with whom he wrote the Oscar-nominated “Two Hearts.” The song garnered the Ivor Novello Award in the UK, the Brit Award, The Golden Globe Award and a Grammy Award. In 2002, Lamont released the Grammy-nominated, “Reflections,” and wrote songs for Joss Stone, members of the Black Eyed Peas and Solange Knowles.

Currently, Dozier is excited about an instrumental he wrote for the new George Benson album, and he is currently collaborating on songs for a musical adaptation of the Oscar-nominated 1996 comedy “The First Wives Club”, set to open at the Old Globe in San Diego in July.

Dozier was awarded the USC Thornton School of Music’s “Thornton Legacy Award” in 2007 and is presently serving as a professor at the school. He is currently serving as a Trustee and the Chairman of the Advocacy Committee for NARAS.

About the Songwriters Hall of Fame:

The SongHall celebrates songwriters and educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Over the course of the past 40 years, some key Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees have included Desmond Child, Loretta Lynn, John Sebastian, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Steve Cropper, Richard and Robert Sherman, Bill Withers, Carole King, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Sir Elton John, Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Hal David and Burt Bacharach, Jim Croce, Phil Collins, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison and Cy Coleman among many, many others. The Songwriters Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer and publishers Abe Olman and Howie Richmond.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum at songhall.org.

Ticket Information:

For ticket information for this Master Class event taking place on June 16th, contact the Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center box office at 212-501-3330, or go to www.songhall.org.

Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame Annual Awards Gala on June 18th are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go towards the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.