A Glimpse Into My Memories for Black Music Month

Eddie Holland, Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier Wrote and Produced a Heat Wave of Music

A Glimpse Into My Memories for Black Music Month

Black Music Month offers us the opportunity to celebrate the music that has enriched our lives in a multitude of ways: when we’re happy, sad, in-love, welcoming newborns into the world and also helps us come to grips with the death of a loved one.

Many of the musicians who create black music (perhaps defined as being black music when created by black musicians) have dedicated their lives to supporting us through the realms of human experiences. These musicians delve into the depths of our humanness allowing us to consciously express our soul’s innermost feelings.

Black music is such an intimate art form; it’s like a good friend who is there with you to enjoy the happy times and right by your side to console you during the hard times. R&B, blues, jazz, country, rock ’n’ roll, hip-hop and pop have all enhanced our sensibilities, touching us at our very core and at times, making life more tolerable.

Music is life. We cannot escape its ubiquitous reach, not that we want to but it’s ever present in the everyday reality of our landscape. If we are breathing, we hear music on TV, in films, supermarkets, elevators, churches, weddings, funerals, parties and we especially love our music while driving.

Black music as well as black musicians have been instrumental in ushering us through life’s journey.

Two such musicians are Eddie and Brian Holland. Arguably two of the greatest and most successful songwriters/composers of all times. Music having had such an enormous impact on their own personal lives, inspired them at an early age to embrace creating music as their life’s work.

Eddie and Brian Holland created songs that infused the mind, body and soul with a unique freshness as demonstrated by the songs they wrote while at Motown with co-writer, the late Lamont Dozier who rounded out the trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland (HDH). They would pen scores of songs of which, 25 were number 1 smash hits for the likes of the Supremes, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Isley Brothers, The Mavelettes, Martha and The Vandellas and this is just to name a few recording artists whose releases sparkled with that HDH magic.

I was a songwriter/producer with a few songs in my publishing catalog when I decided to locate to Los Angeles. I found myself a studio apartment but needed employment. I had met Eddie and Brian at a music industry conference and kept in touch with their business manager, Richard Davis. I gave Richard a call and let him know I was in L.A. and looking for employment. Richard invited me to come onboard at Holland Group Productions. I was elated. I couldn’t believe that I was actually working with these famous music legends. I was in the office every weekday. It wasn’t until after I started working there that I realized just how far reaching Eddie’s and Brian’s talents were.

After Eddie’s and Brian’s departure from Motown, they went on to found Invictus Records, Hot Wax Records, Holland, Dozier, Holland, Inc. and Gold Forever Music, Inc. which resulted in their recording and releasing even more hits for Freda Payne, Honey Cone, and the Chairmen of the Board among many other music artists on their golden roster. I had no idea just how prolific Eddie and Brian were after Motown until I began working at Holland Group Productions (HGP).

One day, while at work at HGP, I asked Brian to listen to one of my songs. Brian liked it so much, to my surprise, he said, “I’m gonna cut this.” I’m thinking what? I was absolutely thrilled!

Later on that day, I thought about how he phrased what he said about my song, “ I am gonna cut this.” In my production world, I would always say I was going to record a song but thought wow, this is the way Brian Holland said it, “cut” a song. Cut was probably the terminology recording artists used in relation to vinyl recordings which vinyl was the standard release when Eddie and Brian were writing all those smashes. I liked his phrasing and could visualize how the grooves were actually cut into vinyl back in the day. I said to myself, “Brian Holland’s going to cut my song, wow!”

My short writing herein, represents just a peek into the illustrious career of HDH and perhaps it will inspire some to discover more about HDH and Eddie and Brian Holland, two proud, bountiful black men whose musical magnificence contributed to black music that is loved all over the world.

These accomplished and respected music legends, Eddie Holland, Brian Holland and Lamont Dozierwere inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Article written by Felecia Harte for Hartecast Music; June, 2024
~from the Harte