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
ways."
[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?


1972:
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!
Enjoy!



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Wow , Jeremy !!! Congrats very good job, well done
Thanks a lot.
Take care
Mariu
Hey Sally, Jeremy, Sylvie, etc...

Sally, thanks for passing on all that stuff to me. I really appreciate it. The poster brought back some fond memories, because that was the image they used for all the flyers for years and years...I may (somewhere up in my attic) have a few of those flyers. If I do, I'll scan and pass on as well...

So here's my take on what you sent:

The youtube video, first of all: Running Away From the Nighttime. Same song I remember Michael doing, but a very different arrangement. And Michael's later version - 1975-78 or so - had a long outro on it as well...

The Hilly Michaels demo: I don't recognize that first tune at all. The second one, i think, is just the first few lines of Everyday of My Life. I haven't listened to that in a while, so I'm not 100% sure. The third one is just a slowed-down cover of Chuck Berry's Maybellene...

The 1978 tune - If I Ever Lose You - that sounds vaguely familiar, like I might have heard him play it once or twice.

You asked - and I think I replied privately to Jeremy on this - about Michael's set list in those days. Some staples that I recall:

Rocky Mountain Way
Please Come Home
Runnin' Away From The Nighttime
My Love Is Stronger (an original, one of my all-time faves)
Back In My Arms Again (the Supremes tune, rocked out)
Ain't That Peculiar (the Marvin Gaye song)
Tell Me How You Feel (which was, if memory serves, usually the encore)

I'll mention more as I think of them... I have to say, listening to Michael sing on these early tunes brings back some great memories... thanks for them. And the link to Bah Bah Bah - which also sounds vaguely familiar, though I can't say for sure I ever heard him do that live. But it wouldn't surprise me if I heard that on New Haven radio at some point... those drums are funny. So sixties. Nobody plays that way anymore!
Hi Dave (and everyone else),
Sorry for my silence as of late. Computer problems have been plaguing me all week, and continue to do so in varying ways. I'm glad Sally sent you the demos, Dave, since I wasn't around to do so.

It's too bad you don't recognize that first tune on the HM demo--I'm thinking it's an original, but I can find no reference to the lyrics we do have at our disposal. The second clip is actually from "Singin' The Blues," which was a Mary McCreary (later Russell) song she recorded in 1974, and Clapton recorded the same year. And "Maybellene," well who wouldn't want to hear that in its entirety? Quite the powerful vocals there...

What genre (roughly) is "My love is Stronger"? That's one I've never heard; since you hold it in such high esteem, it's a shame it didn't make either of the RCA albums.

I agree about the drums on "Bah Bah Bah." That style of playing is very much entrenched in the late 60s garage-rock genre...where everything's a four-bar fill.

I'm drawing a blank on other questions at the moment (I've only had one cup of coffee--that could be why). I'm just sitting here thinking what a great encore song "Tell Me How You Feel" would be. The piano groove in that song is so kickin'. I've played it a few times, and it just makes me want to pound the keys till my fingers bleed (well, I'd need another cup of coffee first...)
Cheers all!
Hi Dave, I had asked you about the setlist and what you can remember so far sounds great! Thanks for sharing it! I’m sure you’ve had a concentrated conversation with our Jeremy and you’ve already exchanged E-mail addresses, when you’ve discovered the PM’s can only contain 4000 characters! Lol Do you mind if I ask you how Michael sang those songs back then? I mean, we have an idea from the songs he’s already recorded, “Back in my arms” is one of my friend’s favorite covers of Michael’s! I know both Orrin’s and Bill Medley’s versions of “Please come home” and would love to know the sound Michael had musically and vocally. “Ain’t that peculiar” I love by Marvin and even have the Rex Smith version, I would have loved to hear what Michael did with it. BTW, did he already have “Gimme some lovin’” in his set in the 70’s? Also another one that comes to mind is “Summertime”, since Michael says he’s been singing it since his very early days. It would be interesting to have your take on that. Well Dave, thanks very much for sharing with us and agreeing to be bombarded in this way, God bless you! Lol Take care and I’ll look forward to the next wonderful history lesson! Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Wow!! I am having the best time reading all of these wonderful stories of Michaels history.

I hope you guys dont mind, but I've been saving the posts from here and 'trying' (being the operative word') to collate them into some kind of order that makes sense to me.

I would give my eye teeth (and alot of money!! Ha Ha!!) to get hold of one of the New Haven books which you talk of.

Just an idea guys, have you thought of contacting Michael and offering to help him write this autobiography that he has been promising for some time??

Just a thought as I'm sure you've already filled in a lot of the blanks for him.

Please, please, please, keep all this information coming guys, because even if I dont fully understand some of the references to which your speak of, and dont recognise the names of most of the band members you mention (Hilly Michael snippets?), I am really enjoying reading your stories.

I do know thsat I have a very old poster in my loft aswell but for the life of me, I cant remember which venure it came from.

Love Jennifer XXXX
Jennifer I am doing the same thing
Trully enjoying this thread I love it also just wish I could help :)
Love to you all
Dianna xxx
Hi Jennifer,

That little New Haven Sound book is quite a rare item I would say. The person I bought it from had authorization from the author, Paul Lepri, to have 10 copies reprinted (photocopies). Do you suppose there are some originals languishing in attics around New Haven?

If it's any solace to you, there are no pictures of Michael or any of his various band members in the book. There are maybe 10 sentences which mention Michael Bolotin in the whole book. These mentions were passed on to Jeremy at the time I got the book. If he considered the information worthwhile, I would imagine it all appears in his "history" at the beginning of this thread.

The book is listed on Amazon as "out of print, limited availability"
Amazon Bestseller rank #6,104,417 !! I wonder how many books have a lower rank than this????

Sally
Hi Jen, I’ve been doing the same thing you have, including the info our Jeremy and Sally have put on your “Michael’s very first single “bah bah bah” thread. This is a public forum, after all! I personally definitely think Jeremy and Florin could write a book about Michael’s musical history. However, I’m not sure how much details Michael would want to include in his autobiography, depending on how relevant and interesting it is in his life story. As far as I know, the first we’ve heard about his autobiography Jen was in September of last year, wasn’t it? When Alison had that interview on Smooth Radio U.K. that we never got to hear… I’m sure Michael might have had some time to write at least some plan of what he wanted to cover, but with his schedule, I really don’t know how far he could have gotten… What do I know? Ooh, all this talk about an autobiography got me salivating…  I really hope Michael does an audio version of it, not just because I’d love for him to read it to me but there is an extra dimension to the spoken word, so you know what the author meant. Christopher Reeve said something to that effect in the introduction of his book “Still me”, that I’ve of course read in audio version. Jen, the Hilly Michaels snippets we’re referring to are from reel-to-reel tapes that were offered on EBay last year. He had a link to his Myspace page, with audio clips, 2 of which are earlier on this thread and I’ll attach the third one, for those who missed it. Somehow I knew I’d see you back on this thread again Jen…  Take care sweetie. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hi Jen, I’ve been doing the same thing you have, including the info our Jeremy and Sally have put on your “Michael’s very first single “bah bah bah” thread. This is a public forum, after all! I personally definitely think Jeremy and Florin could write a book about Michael’s musical history. However, I’m not sure how much details Michael would want to include in his autobiography, depending on how relevant and interesting it is in his life story. As far as I know, the first we’ve heard about his autobiography Jen was in September of last year, wasn’t it? When Alison had that interview on Smooth Radio U.K. that we never got to hear… I’m sure Michael might have had some time to write at least some plan of what he wanted to cover, but with his schedule, I really don’t know how far he could have gotten… What do I know? Ooh, all this talk about an autobiography got me salivating…  I really hope Michael does an audio version of it, not just because I’d love for him to read it to me but there is an extra dimension to the spoken word, so you know what the author meant. Christopher Reeve said something to that effect in the introduction of his book “Still me”, that I’ve of course read in audio version. Jen, the Hilly Michaels snippets we’re referring to are from reel-to-reel tapes that were offered on EBay last year. He had a link to his Myspace page, with audio clips, 2 of which are earlier on this thread and I’ll attach the third one, for those who missed it. Somehow I knew I’d see you back on this thread again Jen…  Take care sweetie. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
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Hey all:

Found some goodies, not in the attic, but in the LP of Everyday of My Life...

Attached are them!

A photo of MB as I remember him...

Another poster with that familiar artwork, from the Oxford Ale House... note the Solid Rock Recording Artist lettering...

Note also the artwork credit I zoomed in on...

And a review of Michael's first record, not altogether positive, but not altogether negative either, from (I think) Rolling Stone, though I guess I didn't note that...

Enjoy...
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Hmmm....

Apparently only three files at a time...

here are the last two...
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Thanks Dave for these and for sharing with us all
Dianna

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