Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

HOLLAND/DOZIER/HOLLAND

Songwriting and production team, one of the most successful of the '60s: brothers Eddie (b 30 Oct. '39) and Brian Holland (b 15 Feb. '41) and Lamont Dozier (b 16 June '41), all from Detroit. Eddie worked for Berry Gordy's publishing company and sang on demos, then had hits on Motown sounding like Jackie Wilson: his first, 'Jamie', made the R&B chart and top 30 pop; three others reached the pop Hot 100. Brian was a Motown producer ('Please Mr Postman' for the Marvelettes, with Robert Bateman); Lamont had first recorded at 15 with the Romeos, went to NYC and worked outside music; back in Detroit '58 he recorded for Motown labels as Lamont Anthony without much success. From '62--8 the legend 'Holland/Dozier/Holland' became familiar to pop fans, appearing under the title on hit records written and/or produced by them: 'Where Did Our Love Go', 'Baby Love', 'Stop! In The Name Of Love', 'I Hear A Symphony', 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' and others for the Supremes; 'Baby, I Need Your Loving', 'I Can't Help Myself', 'Reach Out, I'll Be There' and others for the Four Tops; also Marvin Gaye, Martha and the Vandellas, the Isley Bros etc: they created the sound of an era, but fought with Gordy for their royalties, parted acrimoniously and formed their own labels Invictus and Hot Wax. In '69 Motown alleged breach of contract, settled out of court. The new labels had hits with Chairmen of the Board, Freda Payne and Honey Cone: the last were experienced backing singers Edna Wright (b '44, LA), Shellie Clark (b '43, Brooklyn), Carolyn Willis (b '47, LA); they backed Burt Bacharach on an Andy Williams TV show, Eddie signed them to Hot Wax and they had seven Hot 100 entries '69--72 incl. no. 1 'Want Ads' '71. (Willis was replaced by Denise Mills, later turned up as a featured vocalist with Seals and Crofts). Lamont had a hit '72 with 'Why Can't We Be Lovers', Brian '73 with 'Don't Leave Me Starvin' For Your Love', both on Invictus; Lamont left to go solo on the advice of the Four Tops; had hits '73--5 on ABC incl. no. 15 'Trying To Hold On To My Woman'; also prod. Aretha Franklin's Sweet Passion '77 etc. They made it up with Motown, returning with the Four Tops to prod. them there again. Their songs are classics, covered countless times.