Appreciating all that makes America special

Music: Holland-Dozier-Holland

They wrote and produced 25 number one hits, most for Motown. Uploaded by ecx.images-amazon.com.

If you love what’s commonly called “Soul” music, the Motown Sound in particular, then you probably know who Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr. are. They’re one of the most successful and influential songwriting teams of the twentieth century, that’s who they are.

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Dozier and the Holland brothers worked in-house for Motown Records from 1962 to 1967. After that they went out on their own, but still wrote and produced many of the label’s biggest hits. They wrote an amazing total of 25 number one hits. Great songs like “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” for Marvin Gaye, “Heat Wave” for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and a whopping ten number one songs for the Supremes.

The guys left Motown in a contract dispute which took years to resolve. They went on to start their own record label, Invictus, which obviously didn’t come close to the impact that Motown had. Then Holland split with the Dozier brothers in the seventies, and the team hasn’t worked together since.

But as a team, they accomplished great things. They’re in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Space doesn’t allow me to list all their hits, but here are the really big ones:

“Mickey’s Monkey” (Smokey Robinson and the Miracles)
“Where Did Our Love Go” (The Supremes)
“Baby Love” (The Supremes)
“Come See About Me” (The Supremes)
“Baby I Need Your Loving” (The Four Tops)
“You’re A Wonderful One” (Marvin Gaye)
“Stop In The Name Of Love” (The Supremes)
“Nowhere To Run” (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas)
“I Can’t Help Myself” (The Four Tops)
“Back In My Arms Again” (The Supremes)
“Nothing But Heartaches” (The Supremes)
“It’s The Same Old Song” (The Four Tops)
“I Hear a Symphony” (The Supremes)
“This Old Heart Of Mine” (The Isley Brothers)
“Reach Out, I’ll Be There” (The Four Tops)
“Standing In The Shadows Of Love” (The Four Tops)
“My World Is Empty Without You” (The Supremes)
“Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart” (The Supremes)
“You Keep Me Hanging On” (The Supremes)
“You Can’t Hurry Love” (The Supremes)
“Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” (The Supremes)
“Jimmy Mack” (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas)
“Bernadette” (The Four Tops)
“The Happening” (The Supremes)
“Reflections” (The Supremes)
“In And Out Of Love” (The Supremes)
“Give Me Just A Little More Time” (Chairmen of the Board)
“Band of Gold” (Freda Payne)

This is a fascinating video as the three songwriters discuss their creative process:

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