Come And Get These Memories… The Genius of Holland-Dozier- Holland

As Motown celebrates its 60th anniversary, fans have been treated to all kinds of goodies – album reissues, TV specials (in the US at least), a major movie and plenty of memoirs. The latest memoir is ‘Come And Get These Memories’ an absolutely apt title for a book that chronicles the achievements of the mighty Holland-Dozier-Holland.

The 360 page hardback takes us from the projects of Detroit (where the Hollands were brought up by their grandmother and single mother) to the creation of perhaps the greatest song writing triumvirate in music history, crafting countless classics and then onto their falling out with Berry Gordy, the creation of their own labels and the fallout from that – including the Holland brothers alienation from Lamont Dozier.

The book’s been put together by Eddie and Brian Holland with help from Dave Thompson, a UK born, US based writer who’s a columnist for Goldmine magazine; his work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Mojo, Record Collector and many other major publications. Tellingly, there’s no input from either Berry Gordy or Lamont Dozier. Sure they’re mentioned (copiously, of course) but because they were such major players in the H-D-H story, maybe we’re not getting the full picture especially re. the H-D-H split with Motown and the Hollands’ falling out with Dozier. Any legal eagle will tell you that there are three sides to every dispute: the stories told by the two protagonists… and the truth! I guess in this saga we’ll never know the truth, especially as there are still plenty of legal writs being thrown about.

That said ‘Come And Get These Memories’ is a treasure trove for Motown anoraks who’ll learn all sorts of things. Like, for instance, on the early Motown revue shows often only the lead singer of the girl groups went on the road… Eddie Holland picked local singers in the tour towns to provide the backing; then, back in 1966 Brian Epstein started negotiations to have Holland, Dozier and Holland come to the UK to produce the Beatles! It never happened (of course) and in fact Eddie and Brian first visited the UK as late as 2004 when they were surprised by the reverence in which they were held. Each chapter turns up intriguing facts like those and for those interested in the personal stuff you get plenty of that too… like Lamont Dozier’s dalliance with Mary Wilson and Brian Holland’s affair with Diana Ross – leading to a fist fight with his then wife.

There’s also plenty of business stuff too – contracts here, negotiations there, writs and counter claims everywhere! As a Motown fan I found this the least satisfying part of the book – but I guess it’s part of the story. And in that complex story a few things really stand out. – 1… Without stating the bleeding obvious, H-D-H were hugely talented BUT to get the hits they absolutely needed the Motown artists, the musicians AND Berry Gordy. 2 … In their rise to prominence and evolution, Eddie Holland called all the shots. 3 … at Motown Smokey Robinson was the big cheese… Gordy’s right hand man and getting first pick of who to work with. The Hollands (especially Eddie) never got over that!

The book is completed with extensive discographies and its stuffed with archive pictures. It’s available now and is published by Omnibus Press.