Chairman of the Board
-----------------------------------------------------------------THE MOTOWN YEARS-------------------------------------------------------------
A partial list of H-D-H-penned and produced Motown classics illustrates the magnitude of their achievement: "Come and Get These Memories," "Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run "I'm Ready for Love," and "Jimmy Mack" (all for Martha and the Vandellas); "Mickey's Monkey" (for the Miracles); "Can 1 Get a Witness" (for Marvin Gaye); "Where Did Our Love Go," "Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In the Name of Love," "Back in My Arms Again," I Hear a Symphony," "Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart," "You Can't Hurry Love," "You Keep Me Hangin'On,"---LoveIs Here and Now You're Gone," "The Happening," and-Reflections" (all for the Supremes); "Baby 1 Need Your Loving," I Can't Help Myself," 1t's the Same Old Song," "Shake Me, Wake Me (When It's Over)," "Reach Out, I'll Be There," "Standing in the Shadows of Love," "Bernadette," and "7 Rooms of Gloom" (all for the Four Tops); "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little wile) (for Kim Weston); "Heaven Must Have Sent You" (for the Elgin's); This Old Heart of Mine (is Weak for You (for the Isley Brothers); and "(I'm a) Road Runner" and "How Sweet It W' (both for Junior Walker and the All-Stars). while their work for others is widely known, Holland, Dozier, and Holland's recordings as artists in their own right are much less so. Yet before coming together as a team at Motown, each member of the Detroit-born threesome had been primarily a vocalist. Lamont was the first to make records, in 1956 with a Detroit doo-wop group called the Romeos for the Fox label, then around 1960 as "Lamont Anthony- for both Anna (a company run by Gwen and Anna Gordy with Billy Davis) and Mel-O-Dy (a short-lived Motown subsidiary). Eddie, whose strong, flexible tenor resembled that of early Berry Gordy, Jr. protégée Jackie Wilson, scored a Top 10 R&B hit in 1962 with "Jamie" on Motown, but stopped performing following an Apollo Theater engagement in the record's wake due to his intense dislike of singing in front of an audience. Younger brother Brian didn't begin recording as a vocalist until after the trio was well-established, and then cut only one obscure Motown single.
-------------------------------THE HOT WAX,INVICTUS, MUSIC MERCHANT
Following their much-publicized departure from Motown in 1968, H-D-H set up their own production company in Detroit and launched two labels-Hot Wax (distributed by Buddah) and Invictus (distributed by Capitol)-that quickly yielded hits for the likes of Laura Lee, Chairmen of the Board, 100 Proof (Aged in Soul), Honey Cone, Freda Payne, Flaming Ember, 8th Day, Glass House, and Parliament. None of the early sides by these artists was written or produced by H-D-H, however. They instead featured such talented songwriters and producers as Ronald Dunbar, Edith Wayne, William Weatherspoon, Angelo Bond, General Johnson, Greg Perry, George Clinton, and Ruth Copeland.1n order to give the labels a much wider creative flow and a different identity, we used the other people because we felt they had talent and they wrote differently than we wrote," Eddie Holland explains. "Over at Motown, most of the artists didn't really write for themselves, and what 1 was really trying to do was to develop them into writers. If they had some ability, then 1 wanted those singers to be able to write for themselves because 1 felt it had much more longevity to it." A lthough tied down to the administrative chores of running two labels,H-D-H eventually found time to write and produce again, including "Cherish What Is Dear to You (While It's Near to You)" by Freda Payne in 1971, "Chairman of the Board" by Chairmen of the Board in 1971, and 1f You Can Beat Me Rockin' (You Can Have My Chair)" by Laura Lee in 1972. And, in 1972, they began recording a series of singles for Invictus as vocalist under the Holland-Dozier banner, with Eddie, Lamont, and Brian taking turns leading on individual releases. The trio's decision to resume singing came as an afterthought. Eddie explains: "Brian might do a demo of a song and I'd listen to it and say, 'Sounds good on you. 1 don't know of anybody that could do it any better. Why don't we put it out on you?' And once in a while Lamont would do something and we would have a feeling that, 'Hey, it sounds pretty good. Let's put it out,' No more reasons than that. 1 don't think we necessarily took the records that Lamont, Brian, and 1 did as seriously as we would have another artist. This was just something we did almost off the cuff. It was more of a fun thing than anything else." Because H-D-H didn't take their own sides as seriously as they did those of others on the roster, their records were given little promotional push and no album was assembled. Yet their group efforts were so artistically compelling that several managed, even without label support, to garner airplay, most significantly the wonderfully loping "Why Can't We Be Lovers," featuring Lamont's church-emoting tenor, and Brian's elastically angelic reading of "Don't Leave Me Starvin'." Others went unnoticed, including the hauntingly beautiful "Where Did We go Wrong," which opens and closes this set, first as an Eddie Holland solo, then as a duet with Eloise Laws. Although there were several uptempo numbers, including the intensely burning "Hijackin'," the emphasis of the H-D-H group creations was on ballads, both slow and medium. "The people at Motown wanted only certain types of songs for the most part," Eddie states, "and because our up tempo songs were so exceptional, we just never did any of the other things that we were capable of doing or were interested in doing." If Eddie and Brian didn't attach much weight to singing again, Lamont must have. By the end of 1973, he had signed as a solo artist with ABC/Dunhill (where he scored three Top 10 R&B hits over the course of a year), thus ending a musical relationship with the Holland's that had begun a decade earlier at Motown. because of the rarity of these sides, many have mistakenly assumed that Holland, Dozier, and Holland's creative flow came to an end when they stopped writing and producing at Motown in 1967.