EDIT: I have attached a Word file of an updated version of what appears below. Please feel free to download it to your computer. Cheers, Jeremy

I'm in the process (in between work and studying) of gathering/assimilating the tiny threads of information out there surrounding the Joy years. I must preface this by saying that in no way to I want to step on anyone's toes. Buy Michael's music as before, and support him in the wonderful ways you all do. But given his iconic status (well, at least to me, anyway) as a vocalist and composer, it's only right that this history be as complete as possible for those of us who are fascinated by his musical journey. This is quite long, but I'm pasting it from a Word document for you to browse and contribute to as you will/might/are able. For questions I still have, I have indicated them in italics. For updates and information that is new (at least to me), I've indicated so with "Update" in bold. Enjoy!

The Early EARLY Years: What We Know So Far

1965-66: MB meets Marc Friedland at a party at the home of someone named Jimmy Rozen,
who was apparently a bandmate of Friedland’s in The Sensations in 1965.

1966: Marc Friedland joins a band named The Zyme; had first recording session. Versions of the band included the following members:

Marc Friedland

Bobby Goodman

Gary Barnett

Michael Hillman (aka Jay Michaels, Hilly Michaels; he co-wrote the song "Every Day Of My Life" with Patrick Henderson)
(others included Jeff Coopersmith, Mark Magin)

Band was aka The Outsiders, The Unexpected, The Coconut Conspiracy

Side note: Marc mentioned to me awhile ago that someone else was chosen over MB for lead singer of The Coconut Conspiracy, much to his chagrin!

1968: Friedland joins already-established George’s Boys, which soon became Joy [Question: unclear what year MB actually joined George’s Boys—can anyone help?]. Joy (temporarily) moved to East Oakland, CA, returning to CT by the end of 1968 and renting “Joy House” in Woodbridge, CT. Members (or entourage) who moved to East Oakland:

Marc Friedland
Michael Bolotin

Fred Bova

Bob Brockway
Richard Friedland
Denise (?)
Chip (?)

Update: George's Boys soon became known as The Bram Rigg Set, according to various new sources. The band itself did not morph into Joy. Another local band, The Shags, had Orrin as a roadie, and they took The Bram Rigg Set under their wing around the time that Joy was first rehearsing.


1969: Joy demo session at Syncron Studios in CT, earning a record deal with CBS on Epic Records (Marc Friedland mentions only “Bah Bah Song” and “It’s For You”). Joy rehearses in a loft owned by Bill
Haughwout. Joy plays the Electric Circus in New York, The Exit in New Haven, and various “Yale mixers.” [Question: when/where did Joy record “Going Back to New Haven” and “Cookie Man”? It’s possible that it was at the same session, but this needs to be verified]


Update: I have now learned that “Going Back to New Haven” was written by Tom Pollard. I’m not sure where he fits in, relationship-wise, to
the Joy musicians, but I’ve heard his performance of the song and it’s definitely the same song.

Also, Syncron Studios, by 1969, was already known as Trod Nossel Productions Recording Studio. Syncron, which was originally a microphone testing business, was purchased by Dr. Thomas Cavalier in 1966 and renamed. It still exists today, and has become quite famous on an international level. Its location is 10 George Street in Wallingford, CT. Dr. Cavalier was a dentist who switched careers to manage The Shags.


1970: Joy dropped from CBS.


1971: Marc Friedland moves to Venice, CA and received publishing deal (solo or group?) for Dimension Music (he mentions the
names Michael Gordon and Steven Lewis in conjunction with this, but I have no info on these names). Several New Haven musicians join him. The roster now includes:

Marc Friedland
Michael Bolotin

Michael Hillman (aka Jay Michaels, Hilly Michaels)
Fred Bova

Glenn Selwitz
Orrin Bolotin
Tony Corolla (?)

Group rehearses in their school bus (Oogy Ahhgy) parked at Helen Bolotin’s apartment complex on Coldwater Canyon Blvd (Helen Bolotin lived in CA at some point? I didn’t know that). The circulated colour photo of MB and his bandmates sitting on the ground with the back of their school bus behind them is from this period in CA.


1971-early 1972: Joy records “album” for Pentagram
Records. Marc Friedland phrases it as such: “[1971 & early 1972]: Recorded album for Pentagram Records. Did sound track for the movie ‘November’s Children.’ Plays gigs – ‘Image’ in Van Nuys etc.” Michael Hillman does not mention the film, and specifies the conditions of the contract: “We had an LP deal with Pentagram

Records," he recalls, "and they gave us a $500 advance to do an album. We only got to do four songs though, because the company had to pay us union dues and they couldn't afford to do that and finance the record. We split our dues and the advance seven
[Question: do we know for sure that the songs recorded for Pentagram are the songs on the November[’s] Children soundtrack? Only two songs have been unearthed from the soundtrack: “Running Away from the Nighttime” and “Where Do We Go From Here.” Both features MB’s vocals, and he is credited as sole songwriter of the former song]

Update: I have now learned the following. November Children (no “’s”) is aka Nightmare County and Nightmare of Death, according to copyright document V3054P214-216. The plot synopsis is as follows: “In this 70's drama, the candidate who was supported by a coalition of fruit-pickers finally gets elected in their farming community. But the local law enforcement agency does not like this and begins to terrorize his supporters.” At 75 minutes long in theatrical release in 1971, an 87 minute version was released to video in 1977.

More importantly, for us, is the song information I have finally obtained. There are three songs on the soundtrack performed by Joy: “Running Away From the Nighttime” (words & music Michael Bolotin), “Where Do We Go From Here” (words & music Michael
Gordon, aka Michael Z. Gordon), and “Our Town” (words & music Larry Quinn).

This leads me to an interesting conclusion: we now know the four songs the pre-1971 lineup of Joy recorded: “Bah Bah Bah,” “It’s For You,” “Going Back to New Haven,” and “Cookie Man” (although the last one, to my knowledge, hasn’t been heard). We also know the three songs the 1971 lineup of Joy recorded for the film. What we still don’t know is whether the Pentagram songs are the three November Children songs (plus one more that didn't make it on the soundtrack), or if they are four different songs (in which case songs for which we have no information at all). If it's the first case, what is the name of the fourth song they recorded for Pentagram?

Finally, I now believe the Michael Gordon name Marc Friedland mentions alongside the publishing deal for Dimension Music (see 1971 above) is the Michael (Z.) Gordon who composed material for the film. I’m assuming Steven Lewis was somehow also associated with this film soundtrack project. However, this is even more curious, since a publishing deal implies composition—Friedland isn’t listed as author of any of the songs on the soundtrack, and MB is only listed once. So what exactly was the nature of this "publishing" deal?

Joy (according to Marc Friedland) now consists mainly of Marc Friedland and MB. Marc Friedland and MB open for Leon Russell (3 concerts, one of which is performed in Philadelphia, PA, with an attendance of around 10,000 at each).


1974: Marc Friedland travels to Tulsa, OK with MB to record a four-song demo at Leon Russell’s house (according
to Marc Friedland
). [Question: do we know for certain that this occurred in 1974? MB began recording tracks in New York for the “Michael Bolotin” album in late 1974. Stephen Holden mentions hearing MB’s demo of “Dream While You Can” in his office before signing him to RCA. Between the recording in Tulsa, the meeting with Holden that took place with MB and Orrin, who was acting as his manager, and the recording of the album, that’s quite a bit happening in the space of less than a year]


The last little tidbit for now—even though Marc Friedland worked for years with MB before his debut solo album, he doesn’t actually play on it. He
moved back to CA in 1974 after getting married, and wanted to explore other opportunities. Gotta respect that! I also respect that he does not circulate items in his collection relating to MB for obvious reasons: while many folks, myself definitely included, are interested in these items from a musical history perspective, they could very easily fall into the wrong hands. No one

should ever be making money off of these things except copyright owners. Plus, Marc is a stand-up guy by all accounts. So I ask you please not to go pestering any of the people I’ve mentioned for photos/recordings etc. I just felt the need to conclude with that, for now!

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Hi Dave and welcome to the forum! Geez, we all would love to hear those songs and if anyone has them, please share! Does this mean you have attended shows where Michael has sung those? Lucky dog! Well, this might not be exactly what you’re looking for but on this page, you can find a few live songs, demos, commercials, interviews etc, that you might find interesting.
If you ever find anyone who has the songs you’ve talked about, please do share! And if you have anything you’d like to share about MB’s early days, we’d all love to hear it, concert experience, anything… Take care and hope you post again! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hi Sylvie, and Florin, and others:

Stories? Boy do I have stories....

I was a high school senior/college student in CT in those mid-late 70s years, and spent a lot of time following Michael Bolotin, and dragging various friends to see him at places like the Arcadia Ballroom, Toad's Place (when it was teeny-tiny), the Oxford Ale House, and a couple other clubs whose names escape me. After first seeing Michael at an outdoor festival sometime in the mid-seventies in New haven, I went out and bought his first couple records (the self-titled solo debut, and Every Day of My Life), and was, frankly, a little disappointed, because they didn't come close to matching the energy of those live shows. His voice, in particular.. there was just a quality those records were missing...

I recall one New Year's Eve where Michael and the Good Rats (I think, might have been someone else) were switching off sets between the Oxford Ale House and Toad's Place for the evening, and me and a friend followed him from one club to the other...as probably did a lot of other people!

His drummer for most of those shows was Bobby T., who was an absolute monster, and later - or perhaps, concurrently - drummed for Johnny Winter. He had a series of phenomenal guitar players, including Bob and Bruce Kulick (who later played with Kiss and in Blackjack) but I have to say that my favorite band line-up was Bobby T., Pat Rush on guitar, Jan Mullaney on keyboards, and someone on bass whose name escapes me. I don't think it was Steve Buslowe, who played mostly when Patrick Henderson was in the band. Anyway...

Another regular at those shows was Michael's dad, who always got the table front and center. I remember being asked to move once, at the old Arcadia Ballroom on Whalley Ave., because Michael's dad, who was walking with a cane then, wanted to sit where we were. No problem, of course, once we saw who it was...

The Blackjack albums came out while I was in college, but I never got to see that band. But after I graduated...

While I was putting together some bands of my own...

I happened to see an ad in the New Haven Advocate for voice lessons from Michael Bolotin. So naturally...

I took a couple of those. I recall going to his apartment in New haven, and there were a bunch of guys with guitars sitting around, clearly rehearsing, and Michael sat down with me in the next room and we went over some exercises, and...

You know, I was too star-struck, frankly, to recall much of that... except that contrary to what I've read elsewhere, he was as nice a guy as you could imagine. You can tell about people, I think, right away, whether or not they're full of themselves, etc. and Michael was not.

Though I don't remember much about what we did, the warm-ups stuck with me, and I use them to this day...

Then years later, when I was in NYC doing the band/songwriter thing, I met a woman whose boyfriend at the time turned out to be Jan Mullaney, who as I said was the keyboard player in my favorite of Michael's bands. We were over at Jan's apartment in Brooklyn one day, and I told him how much I loved that band, and what Michael had been doing then, and he said 'you know, I have recordings of some of that stuff around somewhere. I'll get them to you."

And then, of course, he and that woman broke up, and I lost that connection...argghh..

But let me tell you how much I loved those songs, in particular Please Come Home and My Love is Stronger...

I saw Michael so many times that I was able to learn them on guitar, and teach them to members of various bands I was in... and now I just went and listened to a song sample of Orrin Bolton's version of Please Come Home, and that makes me think I ought to be teaching that song to some more people now...

Okay. Glad to find some fellow Bolotin/Bolton (I have to say, the latter still sounds strange to me after all these years!) fans out there, and if Michael does read these messages once in a while...

Put those recordings up on ITunes, puh-leaze!

- Dave
Man do we ever need to have a chat! My goal is to expand the historical research I've been doing up to the Blackjack years, but there's a lot of missing info between the release of his RCA albums and the first Blackjack LP, no doubt because he was only recording demos and playing live.
You have come along at a perfect time, my friend.
Hey Jeremy:

Happy to chat anytime! I'm a writer these days, with a fairly loose schedule, though today is pretty much shot at this point... just let me know...

P.S. - Just recalled another song title - Runnin' Away From the Nighttime... it's all coming back to me ... though what Michael always opened with in those days was Rocky Mountain Way. And the way he would do it, typically... the guitar player would come out first, and start playing. Then the drummer. Then the bass player. Then the keyboard player. (depending on line-up, I guess). Then Michael... who was playing a lot of guitar in those days himself, actually, now that I think about it...

And now that I think about it even more...

After maybe a year or so of that, they would come out and play this one chord pattern, and then launch into Rocky Mountain Way. Now what's funny is that it was a great, very distinctive chord pattern, and then Peter Gabriel's first solo record came out, and it was the chord pattern from the intro of 'Modern Love'!

Wow. It really is all coming back to me.
Today's shot for me too, but I'm a PhD candidate so work from home a lot over the summer. I think it's safe to say (although others may object) that I'm the biggest Michael Bolotin/Blackjack fan who never got to see him live in those days (couldn't: I wasn't exactly alive).

We have much to discuss. I'll PM you shortly.

I'd say there is absolutely no competition on the question that you are the youngest and most knowledgeable Bolotin/Blackjack fan on the planet.

I hope Dave is ready to answer about a million questions. I can feel the excitement from here!


Hi Dave

A huge welcome to you! In addition to this "history enthusiasts" thread, have you gone over to the "Bah Bah Bah" thread? There is a more discussion of the Bolotin boys early years over there that might be of interest to you.

Do you perhaps have any photos from the early CT concerts? I know there are a few out there (actually they're probably in my archives residing under my bed!) Now I'm on a mission to see what I can find.

Anticipating more info from your memory bank!

Dave first and foremost welcome to the forum
I want to say I loved reading your story and I hope to hear more of them.
It is good if you can help Jeremy out with some questions he has
I of cause (living in Australia) never heard of Michael Bolotin until I had learned of cause Michael Bolton :)
But it is always mice to hear stories from people who had shared the early experiences so please keep them coming I am sure there are many who read this thread and am very curious in the things that are wrote here for us to learn so thank-you Jeremy,Florin, Sally and you Dave who are taking the time to teach us so much more about Michael.

All the best
Dave wrote:

After first seeing Michael at an outdoor festival sometime in the mid-seventies in New Haven, I went out and bought his first couple records (the self-titled solo debut, and Every Day of My Life), and was, frankly, a little disappointed, because they didn't come close to matching the energy of those live shows.

Could this show possibly have been the free festival concert presented by NHDUO (no clue what that stands for) on the grounds of Quinnipack College, mid August 1975? I just reread the review of Michael's set written by Charlie Frick for The Aquarian Aug 13-27 1975, titled Michael Bolotin, He's Young, He's Hot, He's Talented & He's Gonna be Big......Charlie was so right!

BTW, folks, the Aquarian is still alive in online form. Google it!...In fact I found a reference to our hero, Charlie Frick by search also.

Hi Sally:

I think, by God, that you're right. That might have been the festival. I have a vague memory of that article too.

Florin, though, that is not me, David E. Stern. Or the NBA commissioner... I could use that latter guy's salary, though.
Hmm...I wanted the photo to show in my posting. How????

The image is for Dave, especially, as he no doubt laid eyes upon the real thing back in 1977. It's from Lee Randall's unauthorized bio Michael Bolton, Time Love and Tenderness.

By the way, where are you, Dave and Jeremy (sounds like a folk duo, bring on the guitars), conferring privately? Looking forward to any and all future comments. This is a bit like Christmas. Anxiously awaiting the opening of the presents.

Hi again Dave, your stories are mind-boggling! Do you have any idea how much of a goldmine of info you are to us?  You wouldn’t happen to have any tapes of the voice lessons with Michael, would you?  Wow, we’d love to hear, or should I say I’d love to hear the results of those voice lessons… Have you recorded anything? Just curious. Has Jeremy had you listen to the Hilly Michaels snippets Hilly had put up on EBay last year yet? You might be able to help him with what the first song is in that montage… Oh Orrin’s version of “Please come home” is wonderful! Dave, I have a question for you: I have a reproduction poster of Michael at the Oxford Ale House, March 10 1977 and it says that this was his last date, before he’d record his next album. Would you happen to know what kind of songs he might have played back then? I’m wondering since, as you know, he didn’t record another solo album until ’83. I was just curious. In any case, please please, keep those stories coming! Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada


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