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According to the Bernadette Songfacts, there really was a "Bernadette".. in fact there were three - one reach for the writers Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland). Dozier explained to Hits magazine in 2003: "There were three Bernadettes, and they were all different girls. We sorta kept that to ourselves that we all had our own Bernadette. We always said, we'd never bring a girlfriend's name into the songs. We had this hidden thing when the name came up, so we didn't say anything. So at least two of us were thinking about the Bernadettes we knew."
In Dozier's case, "Bernadette" was inspired by his unrequited love for a girl when he was 12.

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