2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the birth of the Invictus, Hot Wax and Music Merchant labels. Even the most casual soul collector will know that that trio of labels was set up by Brian Holland, Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozer after their acrimonious (to say the least) split from Berry Gordy.

H-D-H had helped Gordy create the classic Motown sound. The mighty triumvirate masterminded (writing and producing) more hits than any of Gordy’s other backroom teams but by the late 60s they felt they weren’t getting enough credit and so decided to strike out on their own. It wasn’t easy though. Gordy –as pugnacious as ever he was in his boxing days – fought them all the way, hitting them with injunction after injunction.

Brian, Eddie and Lamont gave as good as they got and eventually established their labels in 1969 and to celebrate the 45th anniversary, Harmless Records are all set to release a magnificent 14 CD box set that chronicles every single 45 (45 geddit?) released on Invictus, Hot Wax and Music Merchant…. 157 singles in total. The release features all the A and B sides and, as a bonus, the package will also feature countless test pressings, demos, remixes and other previously unreleased material. Sleeve notes come courtesy of respected soul writer Dean Rudland and the whole thing comes in a de-luxe, user-friendly box. Moreover because this is the 21st century, each box will contain a download card that will give access to a trio of previously unreleased Tom Moulton mixes.

This most comprehensive look at the post Motown work of three of soul’s greatest – Brian Holland, Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier will be available from 26thMay.