fbpx

In Memoriam|

By Hillel Italie, Associated Press | Lamont Dozier, the middle name of the celebrated Holland-Dozier-Holland team that wrote and produced “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Heat Wave” and dozens of other hits and helped make Motown an essential record company of the 1960s and beyond, has died at age 81.

Dozier’s death was confirmed Tuesday by Paul Lambert, who helped produce the stage musical “The First Wives Club” that Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for. Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the original Four Tops, called Dozier a “beautiful, talented guy” with an uncanny sense of what material worked best for a given group.

“I like to call Holland-Dozier-Holland ‘tailors of music,’” he said Tuesday during a telephone interview. “They could take any artist, call them into their office, talk to them, listen to them and write them a top 10 song.”

Holland-Dozier-Holland stood out even compared to such gifted peers as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Barrett Strong. Over a four-year period, 1963-67, Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland crafted more than 25 top 10 songs and mastered the blend of pop and rhythm and blues that allowed the Detroit label, and founder Berry Gordy, to defy boundaries between Black and white music and rival the Beatles on the airwaves.

> > > > > > > >

“Their structures were simple and direct,” Gerri Hirshey wrote in the Motown history “Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music,” published in 1984. “Sometimes a song barreled to number one on the sheer voice of repetitive hooks, like a fast-food jingle that lurks, subliminally, until it connects with real hunger.”

> > > > > > > >

“All the songs started out as slow ballads, but when we were in the studio we’d pick up the tempo,” Dozier told the Guardian in 2001. “The songs had to be fast because they were for teenagers – otherwise it would have been more like something for your parents. The emotion was still there, it was just under cover of the optimism that you got from the up-tempo beat.”

> > > > > > > >

Some of Motown’s biggest hits and catchiest phrases originated from Dozier’s domestic life. He remembered his grandfather’s addressing women as “Sugar pie, honey bunch,” the opening words and ongoing refrain of the Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch).” The Four Tops hit “Bernadette” was inspired by all three songwriters having troubles with women named Bernadette, while an argument with another Dozier girlfriend helped inspire a Supremes favorite.

“She was pretty heated up because I was quite the ladies’ man at that time and I’d been cheating on her,” Dozier told the Guardian. “So she started telling me off and swinging at me until I said, ‘Stop! In the name of love!’ And as soon as I’d said it I heard a cash register in my head and laughed. My girlfriend didn’t think it was very amusing: we broke up. The only ones who were happy about it were the Supremes.”
___

For more AP entertainment news, go to https://apnews.com/hub/entertainment

https://www.yahoo.com/news/motown-songwriter-producer-lamont-dozier-134958365.html

Leave a Reply

Close Search Window