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The Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting and producing team consisted of Eddie Holland (born October 30, 1939, in Detroit, Mich.) Lamont Dozier (born June 16, 1941, in Detroit, Mich.), and Brian Holland (born February 15, 1941, in Detroit, Mich.). Eddie and Brian are brothers. While all three are talented composers, Eddie Holland was noted for his lyrics, Lamont Dozier for the melodies, and Brian Holland for production and engineering.
Holland-Dozier-Holland were the ace songwriting and production team of the Motown Record Corporation in the 1960s. While many other writers and producers contributed to Motown's distinctive style, H-D-H songs became synonymous with the "Motown Sound" because of their hits of the 1963-1967 period. In those five years, they wrote twenty-five Top 10 pop records, twelve of which reached the Number 1 spot. In addition, they wrote twelve other songs that made the Top 10 on the rhythm and blues (r&b) chart, making a total of thirty-seven Top 10 hits.
H-D-H are considered pioneers in changing the sound of r&b to "crossover music" or pop/r&b. Their songs combined many influences, including soul, pop, country, and r&b. Their music appealed to both black and white audiences, thus "crossing over" from one market to the other. Hence, the "Motown Sound" was also billed as the "Sound of Young America" because of its wide appeal to young people of all races.
Eddie Holland had a moderately successful career as a singer, charting such songs as "Jamie" and "Leaving Here" in the early 1960s. He was one of the first singers that Berry Gordy recorded as an independent producer in the late 1950s before Gordy formed Motown. Eddie's talent for writing lyrics led to his co-writing several songs for the Temptations with Norman Whitfield, and he wrote for other Motown artists and with other collaborators.
Brian Holland wrote and produced songs at Motown with Robert Bateman, Freddie Gorman, Lamont Dozier, and others before teaming up with his brother. Lamont Dozier had been singing with such groups as the Romeos and the Voice Masters in the late 1950s and as a soloist under the name Lamont Anthony. Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland formed a songwriting team at Motown with Freddie Gorman. When Gorman was replaced by Eddie Holland, the soon-to-become-famous Holland-Dozier-Holland team was born.
While many Motown artists recorded songs written and/or produced by H-D-H, they were most notably associated with the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, and the Four Tops. The Four Tops were virtually unknown after performing for nearly ten years, until they were teamed up with H-D-H and recorded such hits as "Baby, I Need Your Loving," "Bernadette," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," "It's The Same Old Song," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "7 Rooms Of Gloom," and "Standing In the Shadows of Love." "I Can't Help Myself" and "Reach Out I'll Be There" both went to Number 1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1965 and 1966, respectively.
The Supremes had joined Motown in 1962 and were hitless after releasing six singles, all produced by Berry Gordy or Smokey Robinson. The group didn't click with the record-buying public until their seventh single, released late in 1963. The song, "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes," was the group's first recording of a H-D-H composition. While the group reportedly didn't even like the song, they recorded it anyway. It reached a respectable Number 23 on the pop charts. The follow-up song, "Run Run Run," flopped; but it was to be followed by an amazing string of Number 1 pop hits that propelled the Supremes (and Diana Ross) into stardom.
H-D-H provided the Supremes with five consecutive Number 1 pop hits that began their reign over the pop charts for nearly four years, from 1964 through 1967. This first string of Number 1 hits began with "Where Did Our Love Go" in 1964, and was followed by "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In The Name Of Love," and "Back In My Arms Again." After the mid-1965 release, "Nothing But Heartaches," peaked at Number 11, the group added "I Hear A Symphony" to their list of Number 1 hits.
The Supremes began 1967 with two more H-D-H songs, "My World Is Empty Without You" and "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart," both of which made the Top 10 on the pop charts. Then there were four more consecutive Number 1 hits, all written and produced by H-D-H, for 1966 and 1967: "You Can't Hurry Love," "You Keep Me Hanging On," "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone," and "The Happening." Two more Top 10 hits from the pen of H-D-H, "Reflections" and "In And Out Of Love," completed the year for the Supremes. The collaboration between H-D-H and the Supremes came to an end in 1968 when H-D-H left Motown in a dispute over royalties.
Martha and the Vandellas were another Motown group that found recording H-D-H songs a boost to their popularity. From 1963 through 1967, they recorded five Top 10 pop hits written and produced by H-D-H: "Heatwave," "Quicksand," "Nowhere To Run," "I'm Ready For Love," and "Jimmy Mack." H-D-H worked closely with the group and provided them with such songs as "Come And Get These Memories," "Live Wire," "In My Lonely Room," and "I'm Ready For Love."
Other Motown artists that recorded H-D-H compositions included Marvin Gaye ?"Can I Get A Witness," "Little Darling (I Need You)," "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," and "You're A Wonderful One"?; Kim Weston ?"Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)"?; the Isley Brothers ?"This Ole Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)"?; and even Smokey Robinson's Miracles ?"Mickey's Monkey," "(Come 'Round Here) I'm The One You Need,"?.
After H-D-H left Motown, they established their own labels in Detroit. Hot Wax and Invictus offered a talented roster of black artists doing infectious r&b that found favor with both black and white audiences. Topping the H-D-H list of artists were Chairmen of the Board ("Give Me Just A Little More Time"), Honey Cone ("Want Ads") and Freda Payne ("Band Of Gold"). While these songs all reached the Top 10 on the pop charts, none of the artists were able to string together the kind of hits that made H-D-H famous in the 1960s.
Holland-Dozier-Holland were inducted as a team into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in January 1990. They were also inducted into the Songwriting Hall of Fame the same year. Interestingly, they never received a Grammy for their compositions, but they received over 100 BMI awards for some 35 records that made the Top 10. In 1989, Lamont Dozier won his first Grammy for co-authoring "Two Hearts" with Phil Collins for the movie Buster.
by David Bianco
The team was formed at Berry Gordy's Motown Record Corporation in Detroit, Mich., in 1962. Depending on the source, their very first recorded collaboration was either Lamont Dozier's recording of "Dearest One" on the Melody label or the Marvelettes' recording of "Locking Up My Heart" on Tamla. Wrote and produced 25 Top 10 pop hits (12 of which reached Number 1) and an additional 12 songs that made the Top 10 on the r&b charts during career with Motown, 1963-67; left Motown in 1968 and formed own record companies, Hot Wax and Invictus, in Detroit.
Lamont Dozier awarded a Grammy, with Phil Collins, for best song written specifically for a motion picture or television, 1989, for "Two Hearts" from motion picture Buster; team inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1990.
- Compositions released as singles by the Supremes
- "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes," Motown, 1963.
- "Where Did Our Love Go," Motown, 1964.
- "Baby Love," Motown, 1964.
- "Come See About Me," Motown, 1964.
- "Stop! In The Name Of Love," Motown, 1965.
- "Back In My Arms Again," Motown, 1965.
- "Nothing But Heartaches," Motown, 1965.
- "I Hear A Symphony," Motown, 1965.
- "My World Is Empty Without You," Motown, 1965.
- "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart," Motown, 1966.
- "You Can't Hurry Love," Motown, 1966.
- "You Keep Me Hangin' On," Motown, 1966.
- "Love Is Here And Now You're Gone," Motown, 1967.
- "The Happening," Motown, 1967.
- "Reflections," Motown, 1967.
- "In And Out Of Love," Motown, 1967.
- "Forever Came Today," Motown, 1968.
- Compositions released on LP by the Supremes
- Supremes Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown, 1967.
- Compositions released as singles by the Four Tops
- "Baby I Need Your Loving," Motown, 1964.
- "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)," Motown, 1965.
- "It's The Same Old Song," Motown, 1965.
- "Something About You," Motown, 1965.
- "Shake Me Wake Me (When It's Over)," Motown, 1966.
- "Reach Out I'll Be There," Motown, 1966.
- "Standing In The Shadows Of Love," Motown, 1966.
- "Bernadette," Motown, 1967.
- "7 Rooms Of Gloom," Motown, 1967.
- Compositions released as singles by Martha & the Vandellas
- "Come and Get These Memories," Gordy, 1963.
- "Heatwave," Gordy, 1963.
- "Quicksand," Gordy, 1963.
- "Live Wire," Gordy, 1964.
- "In My Lonely Room," Gordy, 1964.
- "Nowhere To Run," Gordy, 1965.
- "I'm Ready For Love," Gordy, 1966.
- "Jimmy Mack," Gordy, 1967.
- Compositions released as singles by Marvin Gaye
- "Can I Get A Witness," Tamla, 1963.
- "You're A Wonderful One," Tamla, 1964.
- "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," Tamla, 1964.
- "Little Darling (I Need You)," Tamla, 1966.
- Compositions released as singles by various artists
- (By the Miracles) "Mickey's Monkey," Tamla, 1963.
- (By Kim Weston) "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)," Gordy, 1965.
- (By the Miracles) "(Come 'Round Here) I'm The One You Need," Tamla, 1966.
- (By the Isley Brothers) "This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)," Tamla, 1966.
- Bianco, David, Heat Wave: The Motown Fact Book, Pierian Press, 1988.
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