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Stateside Podcast: Remembering Motown legend Lamont Dozier

Songwriter Lamont Dozier in 2013. He co-wrote songs that helped define the Motown sound. He died Monday at 81.
Chelsea Lauren
/
Getty Images for BMI
Songwriter Lamont Dozier in 2013. He co-wrote songs that helped define the Motown sound. He died Monday at 81.

Since the 1960s, music lovers everywhere get a little taste of Detroit every time they put on a Motown track. Thanks to Motown Records, Detroit artists like Stevie Wonder, the Supremes, and the Temptations are household names around the world. But what about their lesser-known counterparts: the songwriters who put pen to paper to create the hits that we know and love today?

Ann Delisi, host of Essential Music from WDET, joined Stateside on today’s podcast episode to discuss the lasting impact of Motown singer and songwriter Lamont Dozier, who recently died at the age of 81.

Dozier got his start in music as a singer himself. After joining forces with Bryan and Eddie Holland in 1962 to create Holland-Dozier-Holland, Dozier solidified his place in the Motown scene as a songwriter. The trio helped write hit songs and build the careers of many Motown legends, including the Supremes.

“The Supremes couldn't get a hit,” Delisi recounted. “They were called ‘the No-Hit Supremes.’

But Holland-Dozier-Holland changed all of that.

“‘Where Did Our Love Go?’ was the first single to go to number one for the Supremes. And then Holland-Dozier-Holland were responsible for ten of 12 number one hit songs for the Supremes after that,” Delisi said. “It's remarkable, even by today's standards, that they were able to write that many hit songs for one band.”

Dozier’s mark on Motown music can be heard in countless iconic songs, such as “How Sweet It Is” by Marvin Gaye and “Baby Love” by the Supremes. Throughout his long and accomplished career, Dozier helped to shape the legacy of Motown music and some of its biggest stars.

“Now we're watching … the forefathers and foremothers of what we hear today … pass away,” Delisi said. “It's hard to watch. But they certainly left us with an awful lot of incredible music to listen to that I believe to be timeless.”

GUESTS:

Ann Delisi, host, Essential Music from WDET

You can find a recording of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Edward Holland's 2003 interview on Fresh Air here.
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Anna joined Stateside as an assistant producer in August 2021. She is a recent graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism and previously worked for The State News as an intern and student government reporter.
Ronia Cabansag is a producer for Stateside. She comes to Michigan Radio from Eastern Michigan University, where she earned a BS in Media Studies & Journalism and English Linguistics with a minor in Computer Science.