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Lamont Dozier, of the Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown songwriting team behind 'Baby Love' and other hits, dies at 81

The Detroit-born songwriter's death was confirmed by his son, Lamont Dozier Jr., who wrote on Instagram, “Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!”
Lamont Dozier in 1975. The Motown songwriter has died at 81, his family said.ABC / via Getty Images file

Lamont Dozier, the Motown songwriter who, with the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland, was behind such hits as the Supremes’ “Baby Love” and “You Keep Me Hanging On,” has died, his family said overnight.

He was 81.

Lamont Dozier Jr. confirmed his father’s death on Facebook.

"R.I.H.P. Dad!!" Dozier Jr. wrote, sharing a photo with his father.

An Instagram account also appearing to belong to his son, who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a singer and songwriter, shared the same message: "Rest in Heavenly Peace, Dad!"

Music producer Brandon Williams paid tribute to Dozier on Twitter, writing: "Another man that sat down and taught me a lot about music is gone. The great Lamont Dozier.

"I’ll never forget meeting and working with him along with the Holland Brothers in 2006," Williams said. "Thank you for all you did for me and for the world at large. You definitely made this place better."

Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson also paid tribute, noting that Dozier's production team was "responsible for much of the Motown sound and countless hit records."

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood wrote: “Ah — God Bless Lamont. His music will live on.”

The cause of death was not immediately clear.

As one-third of the iconic songwriting group Holland-Dozier-Holland, Dozier was behind a string of hits from major artists including the Supremes, the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers and Martha and the Vandellas.

Their catalog highlights include “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby, I Need Your Loving,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and more, according to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which credited the trio's work with forming a "major part of the Motown success."

The Holland-Dozier-Holland team was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1888 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

According to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Dozier, who was born and raised in Detroit, grew up "surrounded by music as a child" and started writing lyrics and music before he was a teenager.

He founded the Romeos at age 13 and was signed to Atco Records in 1957, the hall said. The band had a charting R&B record with the song “Fine Fine Baby."

After the Romeos disbanded, Dozier joined the Voicemasters, a doo-wop band on Anna Records. He signed exclusively to Motown Records in 1962 as an artist, producer and songwriter, according to the hall of fame.

It was in the early 1960s that Dozier started working with Brian Holland, with the pair later being joined by Brian's brother, Eddie, to form their famous trio.