To music fans throughout the world, the sounds produced by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland are instantly recognizable. Better known as Holland-Dozier-Holland (H-D-H), the trio became the most successful songwriting and production team at Motown Records, with 25 top ten pop hits between 1963 and 1968. Classic works from their years at Motown include songs such as the Supremes’ numberone hits “Where Did Our Love Go?,” “Baby Love,” and “Stop! In the Name of Love;” the Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself” and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There;” and Martha and the Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run” and “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave.” After a bitter parting with Motown in 1968, H-D-H established their own record company, Hot Wax Records, and continued their string of successes in the late-1960s and early-1970s with hits by Freda Payne, Honey Cone, and the Chairmen of the Board. Lamont Dozier concentrated on his own recording career throughout most of the 1970s, but the trio reestablished H-D-H Records in 1984 to continue their partnership and supervise the top ten hits as a songwriting and producing team.
All three members of H-D-H were born and raised in the Detroit, Michigan. Eddie Holland, the oldest of the trio, was born on October 30, 1939; his younger brother, Brian, arrived on February 15, 1941. Lamont Dozier was born on June 16, 1941. Although the Hollands did not know Dozier while they were growing up, their musical interests and talents would eventually bring them together at Motown Records. Both Holland brothers were singers, although Eddie was considered to be the more talented vocalist of the two. By the late-1950s Eddie had started a recording career with a series of singles produced by Berry Gordy, Jr., including “You,” released on Mercury Records in 1958, and “Merry Go Round,” released on United Artists in 1959. However, Eddie’s singles did not make much of an impact on the national charts. Brian, who had performed around Detroit with the Satintones in the 1950s, did not do much better than his brother with his 1958 single, “Shock,” produced by Gordy and released on Kudo Records to little attention. Eddie was signed to Gordy’s Motown Records in 1961 and eventually had one hit, “Jamie,” that made the pop top thirty in 1962. It was his only release as a recording artist to make the national charts.
Lamont Dozier had a similar false start in the music business as a recording artist. A longtime fan of gospel, doo-wop, and rock and roll music, Dozier had played in his church as a child and joined the Romeos, a vocal group, in his early teens. The Romeos released one track on Atco Records, “Fine Fine Baby,” which made the national R&B charts in 1957, before breaking up. Dozier left Detroit’s Northwestern High School before graduating, and performed with the Voicemasters, another Detroit vocal group, for the next few years. He recorded under the name Lamont Anthony on a record label started by Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna Gordy, but “Let’s Talk It Over,” released in 1961, and “Just To Be Loved,” released the following year, failed to hit the charts.
It is not clear exactly when Dozier met the Holland brothers, but their paths certainly crossed at some point in the vibrant Detroit music scene of the 1950s. Places such as the Graystone Ballroom, 20 Grand Ballroom, and Flame Show Bar hosted the best R&B talent of the era and also gave local musicians the chance to perform for a supportive yet discerning crowd. That same support for local talent carried into Motown Records, established by Berry Gordy, Jr. with a loan from his family in 1958. While Gordy kept a tight reign on the company’s finances, he encouraged its singers, producers, arrangers, and artists to collaborate,
Born Eddie Holland on October 30, 1939, in Detroit, MI; born Brian Holland on February 15, 1941, in Detroit, MI; born Lamont Dozier on June 16, 1941, in Detroit, MI; Dozier; married Barbara; children: Beau, Paris, Desiree.
Career: Motown Records, songwriters and producers, 1962-68; Hot Wax Records and Invictus Records, owners and producers, 1969-74; Music Merchant Records, owners and producers, 1972-73, 1984-.
Awards: Trustees Grammy Award, Recording Industry Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1998; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction, 1990; Dozier: Grammy Award, Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television, for “Two Hearts,” 1988.
Addresses: Production company —Holland Group Productions, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028.
improvise, and experiment on each new release. Indeed, H-D-H’s evolution into a songwriting and producing team reflected the creative freedom of Motown’s operations. The trio first worked together to write “Dearest One,” a song recorded by Lamont Dozier on Motown’s Mel-O-Dy subsidiary in 1962. The following year, Dozier and Eddie Holland recorded another single for Motown, “What Goes Up Must Come Down.” Neither release was a success, and in 1963 the Holland brothers and Dozier began to focus on producing records for other artists.
Brian Holland had already had some success as a producer at Motown. As coproducer and coauthor of the Marvelettes’s “Please Mr. Postman” in 1962, he had worked on the first number one record that the label had produced. The first track penned and produced by H-D-H to hit the pop charts was “Come and Get These Memories,” performed by Martha and the Vandellas. The song hit the top thirty in the summer of 1963. The group had an even bigger hit later that year with the H-D-H song “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave,” which hit the Top five. H-D-H also produced the top ten hits “Dancing in the Street,” “Nowhere to Run,” and “Jimmy Mack” for Martha and the Vandellas. Each of the records typified the Motown Sound—or “The Sound of Young America,” as the label on its records stated—with clear vocal arrangements, clever (usually romantic) lyrics, and an R&B sound accompanied by increasingly symphonic touches such as violins or, later on, electronic instruments.
H-D-H worked with many of the leading acts at Motown, including Marvin Gaye on “Can I Get a Witness?,” the Miracles on “Mickey’s Monkey,” and the Four Tops on “Baby, I Need Your Loving” and “I Can’t Help Myself.” But the trio became best known for its work with the Supremes. Signed to Motown in 1961 while its members were still in high school, the group was first known as the “No-Hit Supremes” for its string of failed releases. After teaming with H-D-H for the late 1963 release “When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes,” the Supremes went on to have five consecutive number-one records between August of 1964 and June of 1965: “Where Did Our Love Go?,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Back In My Arms Again.” The Supremes took the H-D-H tracks “I Hear a Symphony,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” “Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone,” and “The Happening” to the top of the charts as well.
In her 1994 memoir, Secrets of a Sparrow, Supremes lead singer Diana Ross described the dynamic of working with H-D-H at Motown: “Brian Holland had a strong gospel sense, and he was the one who worked out the part for the lead singer. Lamont Dozier was in charge of the harmonies and the background sounds, the music that goes beneath the lead to support her. And Eddie Holland created the performance level. Together they made an incredible triangle, just as the three of us [Supremes] did. Holland-Dozier-Holland became our main songwriters, and it was yet another great blend, another example of synergy that was a piece of the magic that was Motown at the time.” In addition to their songwriting and producing duties, by 1967 Eddie Holland was in charge of Motown’s artist and repertoire department while Brian led the label’s quality control section.
In late 1967, after a series of discussions to get better compensation from the label, H-D-H stopped submitting songs for Motown artists to record. By early 1968, after Gordy refused to meet their terms for a new contract, H-D-H had left the label altogether. Alarmed at their departure, Gordy sued the team for breach of contract and stopped them from writing or producing for any other record company. Although Gordy later claimed that the lawsuit was merely a ploy to bring H-D-H back into the Motown fold, it was two years before the legal action was settled. In the meantime, the former Motown employees were busy launching their own record labels, Hot Wax and Invictus Records. It was not until 1970 that the labels could release material without fear of legal reprisal from Gordy; their first releases included the top five hits “Give Me Just a Little More Time” by the Chairmen of the Board, “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne in 1970, and “Want Ads,” a number-one hit for Honey Cone in 1971. H-D-H formed another label in 1972, Music Merchant Records, but the imprint folded after just one year.
In 1974 Dozier took a break from his full-time partnership with the Holland brothers to revive his solo recording career. Throughout the rest of the decade he released a string of albums that proved to be more successful with critics than with the record-buying public. In 1988 he received a Grammy award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television for “Two Hearts,” cowritten with Phil Collins. Dozier also received a Grammy nomination in 2002 for Best Traditional R&B album for An American Original. Living in Encino, California, with his wife, Barbara, and their three children, sons Beau and Paris and daughter Desiree, Dozier continued to write and produce for artists such as Eric Clapton and Alison Moyet throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
The Holland brothers were not as active in the music business as Dozier, but in 1984 H-D-H officially reformed their partnership and revived the Music Merchant label to oversee their back catalogue of work and develop a new roster of talent. H-D-H also reestablished a working relationship with Motown Records and reconciled with Berry Gordy. In 1997 Brian Holland, by now living in Las Vegas, made headlines for his troubles with the Internal Revenue Service over unpaid back taxes. The Holland Brothers also made financial news for their 1998 plan to sell bonds to the public backed by future royalty earnings from their back catalogue. The plan was estimated to be worth $30 million but ran into problems when the Holland brothers sued the management company in 2001 over a breach of contract.
During their career together, H-D-H wrote more than 200 songs, including 70 top ten pop hits and 20 number-one singles. In 1990 Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1998 they received the Trustees Grammy Award from the Recording Industry Academy of Arts and Sciences for their career accomplishments.
Out Here on My Own, ABC Records, 1974.
Black Bach, ABC Records, 1975.
Love and Beauty, Invictus Records, 1975.
Right There, Warner Records, 1976.
Peddlin’ Music on the Side, Warner Records, 1977.
Bittersweet, Warner Records, 1979.
Lamont, M&M Records, 1981.
Bigger than Life, Demon Records, 1983.
Inside Seduction, Atlantic Records, 1991.
Soul Man, Castle Records, 2002.
An American Original, D-Flawless Records, 2002.
Eddie Holland, VIP Records, 1962.
Bianco, David, Heat Wave: The Motown Fact Book, Pieran Press, 1988.
George, Nelson, Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound, St. Martin’s Press, 1985.
Gordy, Jr., Berry, To Be Loved: The Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown, Warner Books, 1994.
Singleton, Raynoma Gordy, Berry, Me, and Motown: The Untold Story, Contemporary Books, 1990.
Smith, Suzanne, Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit, Harvard University Press, 1999.
Whitburn, Joel, The Billboard Book of Top Forty Hits, Billboard Publications, 1996.
Billboard, August 11, 2001, p. 8; February 2, 2002, p. 43; March 2, 2002, p. 1.
Detroit News, November 6, 1999.
Jet, April 27, 1998, p. 62.
Las Vegas Business Press, December 15, 1997, p. 14.
All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com
Holland-Dozier-Holland Official Website http://www.hollanddozierholland.com
Lamont Dozier Official Website, http://www.lamontdozier.com
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, http://www.rockhall.com
"Holland-Dozier-Holland." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 12, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/holland-dozier-holland-0
"Holland-Dozier-Holland." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/holland-dozier-holland-0
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
Pop songwriting/producing team
Holland-Dozier-Holland (pictured below, with Diana Ross) 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
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.
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 Tamia. 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.
Awards: 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.
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 Whitf ield, 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-fa-mous 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.
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, 1965.
“Back In My Arms Again,” Motown, 1964.
“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, 1964.
“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),” Tamia, 1964.
“Little Darling (I Need You),” Tamia, 1966.
Compositions released as singles by various artists
(By the Miracles) “Mickey’s Monkey,” Tamia, 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.
"Holland-Dozier-Holland." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 12, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/holland-dozier-holland
"Holland-Dozier-Holland." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved July 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/holland-dozier-holland