Lamont Dozier, an acclaimed singer, songwriter and producer, who was one of the key architects of the "Motown Sound," has passed away, reports NPR. He was 81.
Dozier's passing was confirmed by his family in a statement saying the "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."
On Instagram, Lamont Dozier Jr. payed tribute to his father.
“Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!,” his post read.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Dozier was encouraged by an elementary school teacher who loved his writing as a kid.
"She thought it was very astute of me to have such a feel for words and stuff," Dozier said in an interview. "So I started to put these words to music by the time I was, like, 12 or 13."
While in high school, Dozier started his own doo-wop group called The Romeos and by the 1960s his musicality caught the attention of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy. Along with Brian and Eddie Holland, he formed Holland-Dozier-Holland and they would go on to be the chief architects of the "Sound of Young America."
Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote 80 singles that hit the Top 40 of the pop or R&B charts, including 15 number one songs. The trio crafted classic songs for Martha and the Vandellas (“Heat Wave,” “Jimmy Mack”), the Four Tops (“Baby I Need Your Loving,” “Bernadette,” “I Can’t Help Myself”) the Supremes (“You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby Love,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”), Marvin Gaye (“How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You), and many others. From 1963 and 1972.
Describing the creative process of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Dozier said, “Brian was all music, Eddie was all lyrics, and I was the idea man who bridged both.”
In 1967, Dozier and the Holland brothers left Motown, at the peak of their powers, in a dispute over money and ownership. They would go on to launch two labels of their own, Invictus and Hot Wax, where they wrote Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold” in 1970.
Resuming his singing career in 1973, Dozier released several solo albums and singles including “Trying to Hold On to My Woman,” which reached the Top 20, and “Fish Ain’t Bitin’,” which urged the resignation of then-President Richard Nixon.
Throughout the 1980s, he wrote songs for Alison Moyet, Simply Red and Phil Collins.
Dozier served as an artist-in-residence professor at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and as chairman of the board of the National Academy of Songwriters.
Along with Eddie and Brian Holland, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009.
In 2019, Dozier's memoir How Sweet It Is: A Songwriter's Reflections on Music, Motown, and the Mystery of the Muse was published.
We at EBONY extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lamont Dozier.