Lamont Dozier (1941-2022)

As one of the preeminent songwriters of the Motown era – or, indeed, any era – Lamont Dozier was dizzyingly high on our wishlist from the start. We attempted to book him a few times in the first few years of the show, but to no avail.

Then, in the summer of 2015, we heard he was to grace our hometown of Liverpool for a live ‘Record Producers’ event at the Epstein Theatre off Hanover Street. Figuring we had nothing to lose, we once again contacted Lamont’s manager (who also happened to be his wife, Barbara) and to our delight were told he’d agreed to speak with us.

Sodajerker On Songwriting, Episode 77 with Lamont Dozier

So it was that on a sunny August afternoon we found ourselves in a conference room on the top floor of the Hope Street Hotel, eyeball-to-eyeball with one of the men who gave us ‘Baby Love’, ‘Bernadette’, ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’, ‘Stop! In The Name of Love’ and ‘Band of Gold’, to name but several immortal pop gems that have echoed through the ages. Here, sat before us, was one of the very architects of the Motown sound. Gulp.

Simon and Brian with Lamont Dozier

It was only our second ever in-person interview, but our nerves quickly dissolved in Lamont’s genial presence. In fact, he couldn’t have been more accommodating, and afterwards he happily posed for photos and signed Simon’s Lamont-Dozier-Holland boxset (still the only post-interview autograph we’ve ever requested, incidentally). What lucky, lucky boys we were to enjoy an experience like that.

As for his contribution to popular music…well, that’s simply undeniable and unimpeachable.

Thank you, Lamont. Rest in peace.

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