Lamont Dozier: Motown hit-maker was one of the greatest songwriters in the business
Music promoter and manager Mark Ede pays tribute to Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier, who has passed away aged 81
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It's with some personal sadness that I learnt of the death of Motown songwriting legend Lamont Dozier.
Although, through ill fate, I never met the man, I did broker a deal with V2 records for a European release of the last full album he ever recorded: the 2018 release 'Reimagination', produced by Fred Mollin.
As the album title suggests, this was a revisit of just a small percentage of the dozens of hits Lamont wrote as a part of Motown's famous Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team. Songs like 'Baby Love', 'How Sweet It Is', 'Heatwave', 'This Old Heart Of Mine' and 'You Just Keep Me Hanging On'.
The album featured a whole host of music A-listers, such as Gregory Porter, Todd Rundgren, Graham Nash, Rumer, Sir Cliff Richard and more, all of whom were more than delighted to pay homage to a songwriter whose songs became the soundtrack of not just of a certain generation, but all generations, such was the timeless craftsmanship involved. Songs that remain widely performed and covered by artists today, of course.
Lamont's interest in music began like so many of his contemporaries in the church, and in 1962 he was signed as a singer, producer and songwriter to Motown records.
After a slow start he talked/tricked the reluctant Supremes into singing a song rejected by another group on the label, 'Where Did Our Love Go' which ended up a smash hit.
From this point on there was no looking back, and it started a run of 10 number ones for the group. Apart from also providing songs for the likes of Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Four Tops and other Motown greats, Dozier also found time to have a few successful records of his own, and in more recent times he worked with the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Kanye West and Phil Collins.
A huge personal regret is that a 2018 UK tour I helped arrange was scuppered by ill health, as were a whole series of invited BBC appearances and national press interest in the songwriting giant.
An artist I manage, Devon songstress Jo Harman, had the honour of singing a duet on the album with the man himself, and what an honour it would have been to have seen that performed live.
RIP Lamont - truly one of the greatest songwriters in the business, his legacy will certainly live on.
Mark Ede is Associate Director BiGiAM music promotions