Motown songwriter-producer Lamont Dozier dead at 81

FILE - Singer Diana Ross, second from left, joins songwriters, from left, Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland after the writing team was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York on Jan. 17, 1990. Dozier, of the celebrated Holland-Dozier-Holland team that wrote and produced "You Can't Hurry Love," "Heat Wave" and dozens of other hits and helped make Motown an essential record company of the 1960s and beyond, has died at age 81. (AP Photo/Ron Frehm, File)

NEW YORK (AP) - Lamont Dozier, the middle name of the celebrated Holland-Dozier-Holland team that wrote and produced "You Can't Hurry Love," "Heat Wave" and dozens of other hits and helped make Motown an essential record company of the 1960s and beyond, has died at age 81.

Dozier's death was confirmed Tuesday by Paul Lambert, who helped produce the stage musical "The First Wives Club" that Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for. Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the original Four Tops, called Dozier a "beautiful, talented guy" with an uncanny sense of what material worked best for a given group.

"I like to call Holland-Dozier-Holland 'tailors of music,'" he said Tuesday during a telephone interview. "They could take any artist, call them into their office, talk to them, listen to them and write them a top 10 song."

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