Lamont Dozier, Motown songwriter, dies aged 81

As one third of Holland–Dozier–Holland, the Detroit musician was responsible for some of Motown’s biggest hits of the 1960s

Lamont Dozier, the Motown legend behind hits for artists such as the Supremes, the Four Tops and the Isley Brothers, has died aged 81.

The news was confirmed by his son Lamont Dozier Jr on Instagram. No cause of death has been released as yet.

As one third of production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, Dozier was responsible for 10 of the Supremes’ 12 US No 1 singles, including Baby Love and You Keep Me Hanging On.

The trio was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Ronnie Wood, who covered the trio’s 1963 single Leaving Home in 2001, paid tribute to Dozier on Twitter. “God bless Lamont,” he wrote. “His music will live on.” Mick Hucknall, who worked with Dozier in the 1980s, also tweeted his condolences calling him “One of the greatest songwriters of all time.”

Born in Detroit, Michigan on 16 June, 1941, Dozier started his musical career working for a few Detroit labels with little success. His luck changed in 1962 when he and songwriting brothers Brian and Eddie Holland started work at Motown. They hit the ground running, scoring three hits – Come and Get These Memories, Heatwave, and Quicksand – for Martha and The Vandellas.

They were followed in 1964 by Where Did Our Love Go, the first of 10 US chart-toppers the trio would write for The Supremes. Four years later, having helped define the Motown sound, Holland–Dozier–Holland left the label to start the Invictus and Hot Wax labels. Dozier would go on to record as a soloist for both labels.

After leaving Holland–Dozier–Holland in 1973, Dozier focused on his solo career, with one of his early singles, Going Back To My Roots, later becoming a huge success for disco group Odyssey in 1981.

Seven years later Dozier collaborated with Phil Collins on the US No 1 Two Hearts, winning the pair a Golden Globe and a Grammy. Dozier also worked with other British artists during the 80s, including Alison Moyet and Simply Red.

Dozier is survived by his six children.

• This article was amended on 9 August 2022. An earlier version stated that Dozier was survived by his second wife, Barbara Ullman Dozier. She died in 2021.


Michael Cragg

The GuardianTramp

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