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Michael Bolton

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Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton had an extensive (though not very successful) career under his real name, Michael Bolotin, before emerging in the mid-'80s as a major soft rock balladeer. He first turned up on RCA Records in the mid-'70s, singing cover tunes and his own blue-eyed soul songs in a gruff, Joe Cocker-like voice. Neither record buyers nor critics were much interested by the result. He then became the lead singer of Blackjack, a heavy metal band that made two albums for Polydor before splitting up in the early '80s. Looking to relaunch his career, he changed his name to Michael Bolton and signed to Columbia Records as a solo artist in 1983. The self-titled Michael Bolton was released in April 1983 and made the Top 100 best-sellers, as did its lead single, "Fools Game." At the same time, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," a ballad Bolton had co-written with Doug James, became a Top 40 hit for Laura Branigan. Nevertheless, Bolton's second album for the Columbia label, 1985's Everybody's Crazy, was a commercial flop. He finally broke into the mainstream with his third release, The Hunger, which appeared in September 1987. On this album, Bolton abandoned the hard rock sound of his previous records and concentrated on blue-eyed soul singing, both on his own songs ("That's What Love Is All About") and on covers like Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." Those two singles became his first Top 40 hits. Soul Provider, released in July 1989, turned Bolton into a certified superstar. Featuring songs co-written with hitmakers like Dianne Warren and Desmond Child, it reached the Top Ten, sold four million copies, and spawned five Top 40 singles, including Bolton's number one version of "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," as well as the Top Ten hits "How Can We Be Lovers" and "When I'm Back on My Feet Again." "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" also won Bolton a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Time, Love & Tenderness, released in April 1991, was even more successful, hitting number one, selling six million copies, and featuring four Top 40 hits, including a chart-topping cover of Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" and the Top Ten hits "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" (later the subject of a successful plagiarism suit brought against Bolton by the Isley Brothers) and "Time, Love and Tenderness." The album sold over eight million copies in America alone. Worldwide, it sold twice as much. Bolton won another Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, this time for "When a Man Loves a Woman," but he had to put up with abuse from two camps of detractors at the February 1992 ceremony. Just after Bolton had finished performing, pre-rock songwriter Irving Gordon won the Song of the Year award for "Unforgettable" and pointedly attacked songs that "scream, yell, and have a nervous breakdown" and singers who "have a hernia" when they sing. Then, backstage, Bolton faced a hostile press corps of critics unhappy with his tendency to mimic great soul singers like Redding, Ray Charles, and Sledge. Bolton suggested they apply their lips to a certain part of his anatomy. He further responded with Timeless: The Classics in September 1992, an album made up entirely of classic cover songs. It went to number one, sold three million copies, and featured a Top 40 hit in Bolton's version of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." Bolton's next album of original material, The One Thing, came in November 1993. It hit the Top Ten, sold three million copies, and featured the Top Ten hit "Said I Loved You...But I Lied." Bolton celebrated his decade-long string of hits with a best-of compilation, Greatest Hits 1985-1995, which debuted in the Top Ten. This Is the Time: Christmas Album appeared one year later. After topping the adult contemporary charts with "Go the Distance," a song he produced and recorded for the Disney film Hercules, Bolton returned in late 1997 with All That Matters, his first album of new material since 1993's The One Thing. Instead of continuing his success, however, it was a surprise flop, failing to generate a hit single and barely cracking the Top 40. It fell out of the charts altogether after 15 weeks. Even so, its lack of success didn't stop Bolton from turning his attention to My Secret Passion, a collection of opera and arias that he released in January 1998. By classical standards, the album was a hit, and the record received a great deal of press and surprisingly good reviews. He supported the two albums with a summer tour co-headlined by Wynonna Judd. Bolton then voluntarily stepped back for almost four years, disappearing from the public eye until the spring of 2002 when he began promoting Only a Woman Like You, his first album for Jive Records. After a brief sabbatical, he returned with Til the End of Forever, a hybrid album of seven new recordings and a live greatest-hits concert. In 2006, he released Bolton Swings Sinatra, a 12-song tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes that included a duet with fiancée/actress Nicollette Sheridan. One World One Love, an album featuring collaborations with Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga, arrived three years later in the U.K., followed by an American release in 2010. Bolton took part in the 11th season of Dancing with the Stars later that year, having already endeared himself to reality TV fans with 2007's Clash of the Choirs. He also collaborated with comedy troupe the Lonely Island by singing on the hip-hop parody "Jack Sparrow," which debuted as a digital short on Saturday Night Live before appearing on the Lonely Island's second album, Turtleneck & Chain. Keeping the collaborative spirit alive, he released 2011's Gems: The Duets Collection, an album featuring duets with vocalists (Seal, Delta Goodrem), country groups (Rascal Flatts), and instrumentalists (guitarist Orianthi). Two years later, Bolton saluted the legendary Motown Records with the full-length album Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville USA. The album debuted at 38 upon its February 2013 release and, a little over a year later, it appeared in a revised form featuring a duet with Leona Lewis on the title track. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Albums by
Michael Bolton

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    10 songs

    On Air

    Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A.

    14 songs

    On Air

    Duette

    12 songs

    On Air

    Gems: The Duets Collection

    12 songs

    On Air

    One World One Love

    10 songs

    On Air

    A Swingin' Christmas

    11 songs

    On Air

    Only a Woman Like You

    10 songs

    On Air

    This Is the Time: The Christmas Album

    11 songs

    On Air

    Timeless: The Classics, Vol. 2

    11 songs

    On Air

    My Secret Passion: The Arias

    13 songs

    On Air

    All That Matters

    10 songs

    On Air

    The One Thing

    10 songs

    On Air

    Timeless: The Classics

    10 songs

    On Air

    Time, Love & Tenderness

    10 songs

    On Air

    Soul Provider

    9 songs

    On Air

    Michael Bolton [1983]

    9 songs

    On Air

    The Hunger

    1 song

    On Air

    I'm Not Ready

    1 song

    On Air

    Murder My Heart

    11 songs

    On Air

    Vintage

    32 songs

    On Air

    The Essential Michael Bolton

    14 songs

    On Air

    Love Songs

    17 songs

    On Air

    Greatest Hits 1985-1995 [#1]

    18 songs

    On Air

    Everybody's Crazy

    14 songs

    On Air

    Michael Bolton Sings Covers

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Top Songs by
Michael Bolton

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   When a Man Loves a Woman
  3.   How Am I Supposed to Live Without You
  4.   White Christmas
  5.   That's What Love Is All About
  6.   Said I Loved You...But I Lied
  7.   Soul Provider
  8.   When I'm Back on My Feet Again
  9.   Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)
  10.   Over the Rainbow
  11.   Missing You Now
  12.   Completely
  13.   Now That I Found You
  14.   How Can We Be Lovers
  15.   Our Love Is Like a Holiday
  16.   Somethin' Out of Nothin'
  17.   Time, Love and Tenderness
  18.   Steel Bars
  19.   To Love Somebody
  20.   Go the Distance
  21.   A Love So Beautiful
  22.   The Best
  23.   As
  24.   Una Mujer Como Tu (Only a Woman Like You)
  25.   Dock of the Bay, (Sittin' On) The
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Michael Bolton

    On Air

    '90s #1 Hits

    On Air

    Broken Heart

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs

    On Air

    Classic Soft Hits

    On Air

    Vocal Standards

    On Air

    Top Christmas Hits

    On Air

    Holiday Deep Dive


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