Holland Dozier Holland Biography

The Greatest secret behind Motown’s success?

Biography and Guitar Lessons

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H-D-H reunion


At the Motown hit factory, you’d find a house band, artists, engineers and perhaps the biggest secret behind Motown’s success; the songwriters working for the label.

In the 60s, the main team was Lamont Dozier and brothers Eddie and Brian Holland.

From 1962 to 1967, Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote and produced all Motown songs. Following the immense success during these years, H-D-H sued Motown which left them writing under pseudonyms.

Dozier later said in 2008, “The lawsuit was just our way of taking care of business that needed to be taken care of—just like Berry Gordy had to take care of his business which resulted in the lawsuit. Business is business, love is love.”

This would turn into one of the longest-running lawsuits, starting in 1967 it ended in 1977. In the subsequent decades, H-D-H has been inducted to most Hall Of Fame’s.

During their glory years, they wrote an immense amount of songs for Motown’s artists, including Baby Love, Band Of Gold, Can I Get A Witness, Heatwave, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), I Can’t Help Myself, Jimmy Mack, Nowhere To Run, Reach Out (I’ll be There), Stop! In The Name Of Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, and You Keep Me Hanging On.

Also worth considering is how much the team must have influenced all other artists around Motown’s headquarters during those days.

Perhaps it is impossible to estimate how important Holland-Dozier-Holland has been to the modern pop song.

Guitar Lessons

Can I Get A Witness – Step 2 (Free Preview)

To learn how to play this riff in an improvised way all over the neck, first work your way through all examples one by one.

Then start improvising.

Go to Can I Get A Witness step 2.

Jimmy Mack – Step 2 (Free Preview)

In this step, we learn the intro. The chords are extended and substituted to create more jazzy sounds.

First, learn all examples as the TAB says, then start improvising what shapes you play.

Go to Jimmy Mack step 2.

You Can’t Hurry Love – Step 2 (Free Preview)

I want you to be able to play the chorus progression anywhere on the neck as this will make it more enjoyable playing the song.

You could in this way keep changing it every time you play it.

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love step 2.

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Chords and Guitar Lessons

Can I Get A Witness is a fast blues format song in the key of Eb.

Over each chord in a blues, you quickly switch between three chords, creating an energetic riff.

Go to Can I Get A Witness chords and guitar lessons.


Ah listen everybody (everybody), especially you girls (especially you girls)
Is it right to be left alone by the one you love is never home
I love too hard, my friends sometimes say
But I believe, I believe, that a woman should be loved that way

Go to Can I Get A Witness lyrics.

Chords and Guitar Lessons

Jimmy Mack is a song written by Motown’s main songwriting team, Holland-Dozier-Holland. Penned especially for Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.

This song invites us to discuss how you can substitute instead of extending chords to create more interesting sounds.

Go to Jimmy Mack chords and guitar lessons.


Jimmy Mack, Jimmy. Oh, Jimmy Mack, when are you comin’ back
Jimmy Mack, Jimmy. Oh, Jimmy Mack, when are you comin’ back
My arms are missing you, my lips feel the same way too
I tried so hard to be true, like I promised I’d do

Go to Jimmy Mack lyrics.

Chords and Guitar Lessons

You Can’t Hurry Love has a great chord progression using only chords from the key of Bb.

By starting some of the chords earlier than expected, You Can’t Hurry Love gets its famous bouncy feel.

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love chords and guitar lessons.


I need love, love, to ease my mind
I need to find, find, someone to call mine
But mama said
You can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait

Go to You Can’t Hurry Love lyrics.

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