Lamont Dozier, one of the architects of modern music – a giant of classic soul and contemporary pop – passed away on August 8th at the age of 81. It might have seemed that in the later years the veteran was taking stock of his achievements – publishing autobiography “How Sweet It Is” and issuing "Reimagination": an album of acoustic renditions of gems he helped to have penned – yet it wasn’t the case. More than anything, it signified the Motown legend’s careful curating of his legacy and keeping his career on the rails, in the ever-relevant state.
As part of creative team which also included the Holland brothers, Brian and Eddie, Lamont joined the Berry Gordy stable in 1962, and within a couple of years the trio started notching such perennials as “Stop! In The Name Of Love” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” for THE SUPREMES, “Heat Wave” for MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS, “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” for FOUR TOPS, and continued to produce memorable hits after parting ways with Motown to launch Invictus and Hot Wax. But Dozier turned out to be an amazing performer, too, his 1976’s quasi-conceptual longplay “Black Bach” a testament to the beauty of the composer’s voice, although his highest chart position as an artist had happened two years earlier with “Trying To Hold On To My Woman” which would be covered by Garland Green in the next decade.
Lamont’s ’80s weren’t lean either, as “Two Hearts” that he wrote with Phil Collins – who had laid down Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “You Can’t Hurry Love” in 1982 – for the “Buster” movie settled at Number One in many territories in 1989 and snatched a slew of awards – among them Golden Globe, Oscar and Grammy – while “Invisible” that he sculpted for Alison Moyet and a pair of songs he cowrote with Mick Hucknall for SIMPLY RED’s “Men And Women” became wide known as well. 1991’s “Love In The Rain” might have been the legend’s last solo success in commercial terms, with Joss Stone-delivered “Spoiled” recorded in 2004, yet his profile never waned, each new cover version of evergreens adding to it.
Gone now, Lamont Dozier will be sorely missed: without him, popular music as we know it would have been completely different.