Behind the grooves
Holland-Dozier-Holland discuss some of their hits
by Ken Sharp
On “Baby I Need Your Loving”
Eddie Holland: It was a situation where [staff producer-songwriter] Mickey Stevenson opened the door and asked if we had anything for the Four Tops. I didn’t realize at the time that the Four Tops had been signed to Motown for over a year! For some reason, that song popped into my mind. It was a pleasant song that was just lying around for five or six months.
Brian Holland: We had a little melody and just bounced it around and put some lyrics to it.
Lamont Doizer: Brian is being modest. He came up with that melody. I told him it was a pretty one. He was always whispering these melodies but they were so infectious, the way he would do them. Sometimes they would bring tears to my eyes. They had a lot of heart. If it didn’t move us, we knew it wouldn’t move anybody else.
EH: I played the track for the band and gave the tape to Levi. When he first came to the studio, it didn’t come off right. He said, “Why don’t you give this to Lawrence Payton. It’ll be better for him.” I said, “No, I want you to sing it.” I told him to go home, learn the song and we’d try it again. He came in and gave a wonderful performance. Levi is a premier vocalist.
EH: That song sat around for months. We thought it was a B-side.
LD: It was like a chant. Brian was playing this thing and it felt so infectious to me. Eddie took the melody and wrote the lyrics.
It is a must read, at least for me. I find it most interesting to know these stories behind the music.