Lamont Dozier

Singer, Songwriter, & Record Producer

“I don't think about commercial concerns when I first come up with something. When I sit down at the piano, I try to come up with something that moves me.”

Lamont Herbert Dozier was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He co-wrote and produced 14 U.S. Billboard number-one hits and four number ones in the UK.

Lamont Dozier was most well-known as part of Holland-Dozier-Holland, Motown's legendary team of songwriters, producers, and arrangers. A galvanizing force in the ‘60s R&B and pop chart dominance of the Detroit-based label, the trio was behind number one hits such as “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “You Can't Hurry Love,” among other chart-toppers for the Supremes, and “(I Can't Help Myself) Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” and “Reach Out I'll Be There,” both for the Four Tops.

Holland-Dozier-Holland later launched Invictus and Hot Wax Records, and enjoyed additional gold-certified success with the likes of Chairmen of the Board and Freda Payne. Dozier's own recordings date back to the late ‘50s. They include a run of ‘70s and ‘80s albums that began with Out Here on My Own (1973), featuring the Top 40 singles “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and “Fish Ain't Bitin’.” In the mid-‘80s, Dozier began to focus again on writing for other artists, and later that decade scored another number one pop hit ‐‐ as well as a Grammy ‐‐ with Phil Collins’ “Two Hearts.”

Lamont Dozier

Over the next few decades, Dozier recorded a few more albums, the most successful of which was Inside Seduction (1991). The Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee died in 2022, leaving behind a gilded songbook.

Born June 16, 1941 in Detroit, Lamont Dozier was part of the Motor City's late-‘50s vibrant vocal scene, singing with the Romeos and the Voice Masters. Signing with then-fledgling local songwriter and producer Berry Gordy, Dozier's first single, “Benny the Skinny Man,” was issued in 1960 on Gordy's sister's label, Anna Records, and was credited to his nom de plume, Lamont Anthony. He also worked with Gordy on Motown singles for Mare Johnson. Two other singles followed.

In 1963, he was paired with singer/songwriter Eddie Holland for a single release. Holland had a Motown hit with the Jackie Wilson sound-alike single “Jamie” in 1962. The following year, Dozier, Eddie Holland, and Holland's brother Brian began writing together. Beginning with the Supremes’ number one R&B smash “Where Did Our Love Go,” the HDH writing/production/arranging trio enjoyed a phenomenal five-year run at the top of the R&B and pop charts, selling millions of records for Motown. Another Motown act, the Four Tops, had a certain affinity for HDH's songs, scoring number one R&B and pop hits such as “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I'll Be There.”

Amid lawsuits, royalty disputes, and creative differences, HDH left Motown in 1967, and set up Invictus and Hot Wax Records, releasing HDH-powered hit singles by the likes of Chairmen of the Board (“Give Me Just a Little More Time”) and Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”), among other recordings by acts such as the Honey Cone, Parliament, and 100 Proof Aged in Soul. Dozier restarted his recording career on Invictus with the midtempo ballad “Why Can't We Be Lovers,” a collaboration with Brian Holland that went to number six R&B. The follow-up Holland-Dozier single, “New Breed Kinda Woman,” peaked at number 61 R&B in 1973.

That same year, the HDH team splintered and Dozier signed with ABC Records as a solo artist. Dozier's debut ABC LP, Out Here on My Own, yielded the ballad “Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and the grittier and upbeat “Fish Ain't Bitin’,” number four R&B hits that respectively reached number 15 and number 26 on the pop chart. His next album, 1974's Black Bach, included another number four R&B smash, “Let Me Start Tonite,” and was followed later that year by Love and Beauty, his final Invictus release. Around this time, Dozier produced and wrote most of the tunes for the self-titled debut album of actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs.

Switching to Warner Bros. in 1976, Dozier's next LP was Right There. The LP was full of smooth-as-molasses groovers such as “Groovin’ on a Natural High” and “With a Little Bit of Mending (We Could Be as Good as New),” and briefly charted. His next Warner album, 1977's Peddlin’ Music on the Side, also touched the R&B chart and similarly peaked at number 59. The ten-minute single “Going Back to My Roots,” a self-identity anthem embraced in clubs, reached number 35 on Billboard's disco chart. (Richie Havens and Odyssey would record well-received covers over the next few years.) Bittersweet followed in 1979 and produced another charting club record with “Boogie Business.”

Lamont Dozier

A year later, a single Dozier produced for the group Zingara titled “Love's Calling” (with James Ingram on lead vocal) hit number 29 R&B in late 1980. Dozier signed to Columbia in 1981 and released Working on You. It included a handful of singles but didn't gain commercial traction. By the end of the year, Dozier returned on M&M Records, a short-lived venture of former Motown executives Mike Roshkind and Mike Lushka, with the album Lamont. One single, the jubilant “Shout About It,” peaked at number 61 R&B in early 1982.

After the 1983 U.K. release Bigger Than Life, Dozier took a break from solo recordings and wrote songs for younger and established artists alike, including Eric Clapton (two songs on August) and Phil Collins (the number one pop hit “Two Hearts,” a Grammy-winner for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television). Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 1990 entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The following year, Dozier's Inside Seduction, co-produced by Collins, was released by Atlantic. New Dozier albums became increasingly rare. His lone 2000s recording, An American Original ‐‐ an independent release featuring fresh versions of vintage highlights from his songbook ‐‐ was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Traditional R&B Album. All the while, Dozier was invested in artist advocacy and occasionally collaborated with other musicians as accolades piled up. In 2009 alone, his “Living in High Definition” was recorded by George Benson for Songs and Stories, and he and the Holland brothers were honored with the Johnny Mercer Award.

With help from the likes of Cliff Richard, Graham Nash, and Gregory Porter, Dozier revisited his catalog again for the “unplugged” set Reimagination, issued in 2018. Dozier died on August 8, 2022 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Quick Facts

Birth Date:
June 16, 1941

Death Date:
August 8, 2022

  • Dozier wrote the song “Two Hearts” for the movie soundtrack for Buster. “Two Hearts” received a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song nomination, an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song; and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.
  • Phil Collins and Dozier also co-wrote “Loco in Acapulco” for The Four Tops.
  • Dozier and the Holland brothers were honored into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
  • Lamont Dozier
  • Lamont Dozier
  • Lamont Dozier


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PHOTO: Pinterest + IHeart + SongHall + SoulWalking + SongFacts

Last Updated

October 2022

Original Published Date

October 2022

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