The Men That Made the Motown Sound: Holland-Dozier-Holland

When you think of Motown, you hear a certain sound: a driving thrum, passionate, soulful, full of beautiful melodies and soaring sentiments as well as the grit and the heart and the pain of the city from which it came. It’s music that opens itself up to you, and gets into your bones. It’s amazing singers belting perfect lyrics accompanied by some of the most beautiful music ever written.

And that sound was largely created by three men, the writing team of Lamont Dozier and the Holland brothers, Brian and Eddie. Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote and produced so many of the great songs that defined the Motown sound, which, without exaggeration, helped to define American culture. If you love Motown- and who doesn’t?- you know the work of Holland-Dozier-Holland.

The Hall of Fame Songs

Not everyone gets inducted into the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Holland-Dozier-Holland have been. And no wonder. When you hear Martha and the Vandellas belting out “Heat Wave”, the perfect encapsulation of thrilling summer love, they’re singing HDH. The Four Tops owe such iconic hits like “I Can’t Help Myself”, “Standing in the Shadows of Love”, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Bernadette” to the creative genius of Holland-Dozier-Holland.

And that’s not all. When people think of Motown, they often go right to the top: Marvin Gaye or the Supremes. Unsurprisingly, HDH has written instantly recognizable hits for both those incredible talents. “Baby Love”, “Stop in the Name of Love”, “Where Did Our Love Go”, and “You Keep Me Hanging On” are just a few of the Top Ten Hits for the Supremes written by Holland-Dozier-Holland. And from “Can I Get A Witness” to “Your Unchanging Love” Marvin Gaye had some of his most memorable songs of the 60s come from the trio.

New Songs for First Wives Club: The Musical

Being the driving force behind what was arguably the most important and dynamic music scene in American history would be enough for some people. But Holland-Dozier-Holland didn’t rest on their laurels. We’re thrilled to have 22 original songs from one of the greatest writing teams of all time. Their recognizable sound and creative genius drives our raucous interpretation of First Wives Club, the brilliant Olivia Goldsmith novel and the hit 1996 movie.

A musical rests on three things: its performances, its story, and its songs. The story of First Wives Club has touched people and made them laugh for decades. With the legendary team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, we have the kind of music theater fans dream of. First Wives Club is about people who should have been broken, who were thrown away by an unfair system, but who united and created something great. Who become bigger than the sum of their parts. Does anything capture the spirit of that more than Motown? First Wives Club: The Musical is about flawed unions, but in terms of theme and musicians, we know we have a perfect marriage. Click here to read more about Holland Dozier Holland’s first collaboration in years, and their thoughts on giving musical and lyrical voice to the ladies and cast of First Wives Club.