Soul Serenade

Eddie Holland - Leaving HereI consider myself to be a fairly knowledgeable music fan, but I’ve always had an enormous amount of respect for those guys (yes, they are invariably guys) who seem to have retained specific details about every record ever recorded. If I could be an expert in one field, I would choose to be able to hold an intelligent conversation with those guys. As things are, I mostly just listen when they talk, and learn.

Oddly enough, I can vividly recall the first guy I ever met who had the entire world of popular music in his head. I don’t remember anything about him specifically, but I remember something he said. It was during my teenage years in Atlantic City. The kids who visited Atlantic City during the summer were invariably from Philadelphia, and if there is one thing that Philly kids know about, it’s soul music. Back in the ’60s when the rest of the world had moved on to the Beatles and the Stones, the Philly kids kept the torch burning for soul music, and I will always be grateful to them for the education they gave me.

To get back to this one guy; what I remember him saying was simply “Eddie Holland – ‘Leaving Here,’ Motown 1052.” First of all, it was a record that I had never heard at the the time. Not only that, but this guy, whose name has faded in the mists of time, knew the record’s catalog number! Of course he could have been bluffing. I had no way of knowing back then. But if you look at that single pictured up there, you will see that he was not. Respect.

Eddie Holland released over a dozen singles for UA and Motown between 1958 and 1964. He even had a couple of hits. He achieved his greatest success as a recording artist with his 1961 single “Jamie,” which reached #30 on the pop chart, and #6 on the r&b chart. The hard-charging “Leaving Here”, released at the tail end of 1963, didn’t do quite as well, only making it to #76 and #27 respectively. It did, however, find a prized place in the hearts of British soul music fanatics.

If that was all there was to the story, you would have to say that Eddie Holland had, at best, a middling career in music. Fortunately for him, and for all of us, Holland didn’t achieve his greatest success as a recording artist. Instead he found enormous success as a member of the storied Motown songwriting and production team of Holland/Dozier/Holland that included his brother Brian, and Lamont Dozier. In their Motown years, from 1962-1967, the Holland/Dozier/Holland team was responsible for writing and producing some of the biggest hits in the history of popular music for artists like the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Mary Wells, the Four Tops, and the Temptations. Their impressive discography includes no less than 35 Billboard Top Ten singles.