Many artists have fallen into the music business almost by accident, but few as accidentally as the subject of our latest Motown collection: Eddie Holland, who attended an audition with a pal just to keep him company, and ended up the one with a recording contract. And many have had a single hit, and after a few unsuccessful years have given up their recording careers to take up a position in some other part of the business, but few with such spectacular results as Eddie, who together with his brother Brian and Lamont Dozier formed Holland-Dozier-Holland, one of the most successful songwriting teams of the 1960s.
Much has been written about Holland-Dozier-Holland’s songs and productions, but little about Eddie’s recording career, which spanned six years and resulted in 15 singles, one LP and a wealth of tracks hitherto unknown to the public. Our aim here is to present all of the records he cut from his 1958 debut through to 1964, when he withdrew from performing to concentrate on writing songs for the Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas, the Four Tops etc.
Following an extensive trawl of the Motown mastertapes in New York last summer, we’ve included everything we were able to find that Eddie recorded for Mercury, United Artists, Motown and the tiny Kudo label, where he appeared under his brother’s name on a commercial for a brand of wine. The set contains 56 tracks; including 30 new to CD, 18 of which have never been released in any form before.
The story of Eddie’s recording career is narrated in the bumper booklet by the man himself. Looking back, often with amazement and sometimes complete lack of recognition of some of the songs in this collection, he commented: “You know what is very clear to me? We were very, very fortunate to have a place where we could record that many pieces of product, and experiment that much, with somebody paying for it. That was like going to school, and somebody’s paying for your classes. That’s what Berry Gordy was doing. Can you imagine recording all those songs, learning your craft, and not even thinking about how much it was costing? I would say to you that Berry Gordy should be given an extraordinary amount of credit, because everybody was always criticising him. But you should pat him on the back and say, You know what? You made that possible.”
Watch this space for more Ace/Motown releases in the not too distant future.
By Keith Hughes