4 Hits Lamont Dozier Wrote After Leaving Holland-Dozier-Holland

The songwriting trio of Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland powered the train of Motown hits from the early ‘60s through the early ‘70s. They penned dozens of Top-10 smashes, from “Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vandellas to “Band of Gold” by Freda Payne. A dozen of those songs topped the Billboard Hot 100, and The Supremes took Holland-Dozier-Holland songs to the No. 1 spot 10 times. Dozier left Holland-Dozier-Holland in 1973, and subsequently had some success as a solo recording artist and as half of the Holland-Dozier duo with Brian Holland.

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Strangely enough, Dozier’s biggest solo hits—”Trying to Hold on to My Woman” and “Fish Ain’t Bitin’”—were written by McKinley Jackson and James Reddick and not by him. That doesn’t mean Dozier ceased writing hits once he left Holland-Dozier-Holland. He wrote his 1974 single “Let Me Start Tonite,” which peaked at No. 87 on the Hot 100. Dozier also penned a number of his solo dance and R&B hits. While he went an entire decade without a Hot 100 entry, he wrote or co-wrote each of the following substantial hits from the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

“Invisible” by Alison Moyet

Remakes of Holland-Dozier-Holland songs, like James Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and Phil Collins’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” were popular singles during the time new Dozier compositions were absent from the Hot 100. “Invisible,” however, was truly a new chapter in Dozier’s career. It was a new start for Alison Moyet as well. In teaming up with Vince Clark (Depeche Mode, Erasure) to form Yaz, Moyet sang on three No. 1 dance hits—”Don’t Go,” “Situation,” and “Nobody’s Diary.” Yaz disbanded in 1983, and Moyet went to work on her debut solo album Alf.

“Invisible” was the third single from Alf, and in cracking the Top 40, it did something that neither of the first two singles—nor any single by Yaz—did. The song spent 17 weeks on the Hot 100, reaching a peak of No. 31. It was also the only song on Alf not written by Moyet and her production team of Steve Jolley and Tony Swain. In 2017, Moyet said she was not going to perform the song about a neglectful partner going forward. She explained, “It’s just not who I am anymore—there are too many Americanisms in that song, and also I’m a middle-aged woman—I’m not going to sing about it because it doesn’t fit my headspace. … I’m just not that victim anymore.”

“Without You” by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Five years before Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle would top the Hot 100 with the Aladdin theme “A Whole New World,” they duetted on this song from the 1987 film Leonard Part 6. While Bryson had a steady string of pop, R&B, adult contemporary, and disco hits going back to the 1975 Michael Zager Band single “Do It with Feeling,” “Without You” was one of Belle’s earliest entries on the charts. It did not rank as one of the bigger hits for either Bryson or Belle, scraping its way onto the Hot 100 at No. 89. However, it gave them—and Dozier—a Top-10 adult contemporary hit (No. 8) and a Top-20 entry on Billboard’s R&B chart (No. 14).

The song would appear on Bryson’s 1988 album Positive, and would also be released in Portuguese and Spanish versions. Brazilian singer Rosana Fiengo sang on both renditions, which were both titled “Amor Dividido.”

“Two Hearts” by Phil Collins

This chart-topping song from Phil Collins’ 1988 film Buster was easily Dozier’s biggest hit from his post-HDH days. While he was the sole writer for “Invisible” and “Without You,” Dozier and Collins co-wrote this Motown-style tune. Collins covered “You Can’t Hurry Love” before he met Dozier—one of his songwriting heroes—but “Two Hearts” was merely the most successful of a handful of songs they had both worked on. Dozier wrote a pair of tunes (“Run” and “Hung Up on Your Love”) for Eric Clapton’s August album, which Collins co-produced. He and Collins also co-wrote two other songs from the Buster soundtrack—Collins’ “Big Noise” and The Four Tops’ “Loco in Acapulco.”

“Two Hearts” earned Dozier and Collins the 1989 Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television and the 1989 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon (from Working Girl).

“Anything Is Possible” by Debbie Gibson

Dozier played a key role on Debbie Gibson’s 1990 album Anything Is Possible, co-writing four of the tracks with Gibson and producing three. In her Live Around the World video, Gibson explained that Atlantic Records executive Paul Cooper came up with the idea for the collaboration, in light of Gibson performing a Motown medley consisting of several HDH songs in her live shows. One of the songs they wrote together was the title track, which was one of three songs they wrote in a single day during a recording session at Dozier’s house. As the album’s lead single, it spent a dozen weeks on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 26.

The only other song to chart from Anything Is Possible was another Gibson/Dozier collaboration. “One Step Ahead” made it to No. 18 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“Anything Is Possible” would be the last song Dozier wrote or co-wrote to reach the Hot 100 prior to his 2022 death. His compositions would make it onto Billboard’s R&B chart two more times—once with his solo hit “Love in the Rain” (1991) and another with Joss Stone’s “Spoiled” (2004), which he co-wrote with Stone and his son Beau Dozier.

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