At number 15 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Holland-Dozier-Holland, referring to Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. These three were contracted to the Motown record label from 1962 and wrote songs for the artists singing on that label. They helped define the sound of Motown, and of soul music in that decade.
Some of the many songs they wrote are the 1963 hit “Heat Wave” (sung by Martha and the Vandellas), the 1963 hit “Can I Get a Witness” (sung by Marvin Gaye), the 1965 hit “Stop! In the Name of Love” (sung by The Supremes), the 1966 hit “You Can’t Hurry Love” (sung by Diana Ross and The Supremes and which I blogged about here) and the 1969 hit “Give Me Just a Little More Time” (sung by Chairman of the Board, which I blogged about here).
The songwriting partnership followed more traditional lines than e.g. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Dozier and Brian Holland would write the music and produce the songs, and Eddie Holland would write the lyrics and arrange the vocals. In 1968 their contract with Motown ended, by which time they had fallen out with the label’s founder and owner Berry Gordy. They continued to write together after leaving Motown, but in 1973 Dozier left their partnership to pursue a solo recording career.
The song I have decided to share in this blogpost is their 1966 song “Reach Out I’ll Be There”, which was a hit for The Four Tops.
Now if you feel that you can’t go on (can’t go on)
Because all of your hope is gone (all your hope is gone)
And your life is filled with much confusion (much confusion)
Until happiness is just an illusion (happiness is just an illusion)
And your world around is crumbling down, darlin’
(Reach out) Come on girl reach on out for me
(Reach out) Reach out for me
Hah, I’ll be there with a love that will shelter you
I’ll be there with a love that will see you through
When you feel lost and about to give up (to give up)
‘Cause your best just ain’t good enough (just ain’t good enough)
And your feel the world has grown cold (has grown cold)
And your drifting out all on your own (drifting out on your own)
And you need a hand to hold, darlin’
(Reach out) Come on girl, reach out for me
(Reach out) Reach out for me
Hah, I’ll be there to love and comfort you
And I’ll be there to cherish and care for you
(I’ll be there to always see you through)
(I’ll be there to love and comfort you)
I can tell the way you hang your head (hang your head)
You’re not in love now, now you’re afraid (you’re afraid)
And through your tears you look around (look around)
But there’s no peace of mind to be found (no peace of mind to be found)
I know what your thinking
You’re a loner, no love of your own, but darling
(Reach out) Come on girl reach out for me
Reach out, just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there to give you all the love you need
And I’ll be there you can always depend on me
I’ll be there
Here is a video of this fantastic song. Enjoy!