Singer/songwriter/producer Lamont Dozier was part of the legendary Motown production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. A galvanizing force in the '60s pop and R&B chart-dominance of the Detroit-based independent record label, the trio later formed Invictus and Hot Wax Records, and enjoyed gold-record-laced success with the Chairmen of the Board, Freda Payne, 100 Proof Aged in Soul, the Honey Cone, and 8th Day.
Born June 16, 1941, in Detroit, Dozier was a 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, "Let's Talk It Over," 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 Marv Johnson. Two other singles followed. Then in 1963, he was teamed with singer/songwriter Eddie Holland for a single release. Eddie Holland had a Motown hit with the Jackie Wilson-sound-alike single "Jamie" in early 1962. The following year, Dozier, Eddie Holland, and his brother Brian began writing together. Beginning with the Supremes' number one R&B smash "Where Did Our Love Go," the HDH writing/arranging/production 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, setting up Invictus and Hot Wax Records. Dozier restarted his solo artist recording career on Invictus with the mid-tempo ballad "Why Can't We Be Lovers," which went to number six R&B. The follow-up single, "New Breed Kinda Woman" -- a duet with Eddie Holland -- 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. His debut ABC LP, Out Here on My Own, yielded the hit ballad, "Trying to Hold on to My Woman" and the upbeat "Fish Ain't Bitin'," with its Richard Nixon reference ("tricky dick trying to be slick"). His next album, Black Bach, included the singles "Let Me Start Tonite," "All Cried Out," "Put out the Fire," "Rose," and "Thank You for the Dream." Around this time, Dozier produced and wrote most of the tunes for the self-titled debut album of actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Despite becoming a collectible in later years because of its high quality, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs wasn't a sales success. Switching to Warner Bros. Records in 1976, Dozier's next LP was Right There. The LP was full of smooth-as-molasses groovers: "Groovin' on a Natural High," "With a Little Bit of Mending (We Could Be as Good as New)," "Joy," "Ain't Never Loved Nobody (Like I Love You)," "Wild Frame of Mind," and "Good Eye." The LP briefly charted when it was released. His next WB album, 1977's Peddlin' Music on the Side, also charted briefly. The 12" version of "Going Back to My Roots" is a collectible and the tune was later a 1981 disco hit for the group Odyssey. The 1979 dance-oriented album Bittersweet was produced by Motown alumni Frank Wilson (Eddie Kendricks, the Supremes). Although Dozier was having a hard time cracking the charts, a single he produced for the group Zingara titled "Love's Calling" (with James Ingram on lead vocal) hit number 29 R&B in late 1980. By 1981, the multi-talented musician was signed to ARC (American Recording Company). The album Working on You was issued in the spring of that year. Tracks included the energetic, brassy "Cool Me Out," the bubbly "Nobody Told Me," the smooth title track, and the top-notch ballads "Too Little Too Long" and "Why (Ain't My Love Enough)." His next LP, Lamont, was created by former Motown executives Mike Roshkind and Mike Lushka. One single, the jubilant "Shout It Out," peaked at number 61 in early 1982.
Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. The following year, Dozier's Inside Seduction was released by Atlantic and was co-produced by Phil Collins. Previously, Collins had collaborated with Dozier on the 1988 number one pop single "Two Hearts.." The two dueted on "The Quiet's Too Loud." Dozier's songs have appeared on a host of releases, including Eric Clapton's August album and Nicole Renee's 1998 Atlantic debut. In 1997, Dozier appeared at the 1997 Celtic Harmony Festival in Ireland. Goin' Back to My Roots was issued three years later. ~ Ed Hogan