Photo credits: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
The legendary 81-year-old songwriter Lamont Dozier (pictured) has passed away. Dozier helped write song lyrics, which landed on numerous singles for The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, and other artists. Dozier wrote those songs along with fellow Motown Records songwriters Brian and Eddie Holland. His son sent a message on Instagram confirming his passing.
Hits such as “Heat Wave,” “Stop In The Name of Love,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Nowhere To Run,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” and “Bernadette” were written by the skilled and prolific authors named on album credits as Holland-Dozier-Holland. The trio was responsible for establishing Motown “the home of Hitsville, USA.”
In a statement, Dozier’s family said: “[Lamont Dozier was a] devoted father and legendary songwriter, producer and recording artist, died peacefully in his home on Monday, August 8…We love him dearly and will miss him always.”
Dozier was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He revealed to NPR in a 2004 interview that an elementary school teacher who appreciated his poetry and pushed him to continue creating it. Dozier stated:
“She thought it was very astute of me to have such a feel for words and stuff. So I started to put these words to music by the time I was, like, 12 or 13.”
Dozier formed The Romeos, a doo-wop band, when he was only 15 years of age.
Michigan’s most gifted musicians from Motor City eventually gained access to Berry Gordy’s Motown label during the 1960s. Holland-Dozier-Holland swiftly rose to become one of its best song lyricists. Gordy designed his record company like a Ford manufacturing cycle.
The Four Tops’ 1966 recording of “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” (written by Holland-Dozier-Holland) was added to the National Recording Registry earlier this year by the Library of Congress.
According to The Library of Congress, Lamont Dozier “wanted to write ‘a journey of emotions with sustained tension, like a bolero. To achieve that, he ‘alternated the keys, from a minor, Russian feel in the verse to a major, gospel feel in the chorus.’ ”
Early in the 1970s, Dozier split from the Holland brothers. However, during the ensuing decades, his artistic production persisted. In addition to writing songs for Phil Collins, Simply Red, and Alison Moyet, he also published a solo project.
Dozier’s book titled How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter’s Reflections on Music, Motown and the Mystery of the Muse was originally issued in 2019.