January 17th, 2015

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Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland wrote and produced many Motown hits which include “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” (the Supremes), “Heat Wave” and “Jimmy Mack” (Martha and the Vandellas), “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Baby I Need Your Loving” (the Four Tops), and “Can I Get a Witness” and “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You” (Marvin Gaye). All of those songs preceded the trio’s record-breaking success with the Supremes. In June 1964, “Where Did Our Love Go” became the first of six consecutive Number One singles for the Supremes and Holland, Dozier and Holland.
In 1969 Holland, Dozier, and Holland left Motown and founded the Invictus/Hot Wax label. They had many hits with Freda Payne (“Band of Gold”), Chairman of the Board (“Give Me Just a Little More Time”) and the Honey Cones (“Want Ads”). I was part of that rhythm section. We had Sylvester Rivers on keyboards, Peanut on bass, Zack on drums, Ray Parker Jr. and me on guitars and Jerry on congas.
The first sessions HDH did after they left Motown were at Thera Shirma Studios in Detroit with some of the Funk Brothers. Ray Monette and I played guitar and Bob Babbitt was on bass. Later they built a studio in the Tower Theater in Detroit. Ray Monette and I played guitar there but when Ray joined Rare Earth, Ray Parker Jr. came on board. Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier would usually work with the rhythm section while Eddie Holland stayed in the control room. They hired sound engineer Lawrence Horn away from Motown. Tony Camillo and McKinley Jackson were the arrangers.
I really enjoyed working with HDH. We would read the arrangements as written and then Brian or Lamont would tell us to switch around the arrangement sections of the song. They would re-sequence the verses, choruses, and bridges and have us play the new sequences until they were satisfied and then we recorded it. Most of the time the new song sequences would be hit records. HDH really knew how to do make great records! Eddie and Brian Holland told me when they first started at Motown they were young and living at home and Berry mentored them and encouraged them to be innovative and try new ideas.

HDH in Motown Studio A

Holland, Dozier, and Holland


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Dennis Coffey