Lamont Dozier, a record producer and songwriter who helped mold and create the sound of Motown in the 1960s, died at 81. His son, Lamont Dozier, Jr., shared the news on his Instagram on Tuesday morning. The cause of death has not been shared.
Born and raised in Detroit, Mich., Dozier joined Motown Records in 1962 after Berry Gordy approached him about being an in-house hitmaker for the label. Dozier obviously accepted and went on to make countless hits for a myriad of artists.
Teaming up with fellow producers Brian and Eddie Holland, the trio formed the production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland and became responsible for creating the “Motown sound.” They wrote and created songs for Martha and the Vandellas, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers, The Supremes and Marvin Gaye.
Their first chart-topping hit was with The Supremes in 1964 with the song “Where Did Our Love Go.” In the years to come, they would produce nine more chart-topping records for the group including “Baby Love,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Dozier spoke about working with the Holland brothers during the prime years of Motown Records. “We’d get there at 9am and we would sometimes work until 3am. It was blood, sweat and tears. We pounded on the piano and put our ideas down on a little recorder and just worked and worked them out until we came up with things.”
The production trio was known for combining light and positive sounds with dark lyrics, to reflect the times they were living in. Dozier said, “So we ended up with quite dark lyrics and uplifting, cheerful music, and that became our style: making lemonade out of lemons. I think that’s why the songs have lasted, all around the world,” according to The Guardian.
In the late 1960s, the production team left Motown over a royalty dispute and formed the labels Invictus and Hot Wax, where they continued to produce and write songs.