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!

Views: 5826


Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Payten, that was a fun article, thanks for posting it! And thanks for all your hard work, I appreciate it, take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada P.S.: You should be in bed at this hour! :D
Florin, you are brave to watch this movie! Though having the soundtrack is worth it maybe. I don't recall if I posted this review here. The movie is listed as "low budget, with no stars" on IDmb

"I saw this movie more 30 years after it was shot with me as an extra in it. That was in 1971. I don't know why it shows a release date of 1977. It probably sat on a shelf somewhere for six years waiting to find someone willing to distribute it. I spent three days in San Fernando Valley shooting my part (which lasts on the screen all of 4 seconds during the opening credits) Even as a naive 21-year old with no movie experience, I could tell that this was an awful, budget movie that was going nowhere. The best known actor in the movie, Jodie McCrea (son of Joel McCrea) didn't even appear in the credits. He must have felt it was worse than any of those goofy beach movies he was in back in the 60s and asked that his name be left out. I won't spoil the movie for any of you who still want to see it (why, I'll never know) Let's just say that whatever money the producer rounded up to make this movie surely didn't go into production values. The sound is bad, the acting is worse and the directing is embarrassing. Enough said."

On the soundtrack LP November Children(for some reason they changed the name when the movie was released), Our Town is sung with Orrin on lead vocals...it sort of a Beverly Hillbillies country sounding song, and there is also an intrumental Cowboy's Theme played by Joy.

I'm off to Chicago for a week so don't know if I'll be able to check in here much. I do know that I should be getting all the last minutes bits ready to go instead of reading and writing here. But the fact that you found this movie, Florin, made me stop and respond.

You all have a good time while I'm gone!
Dear Dianna, take credit where credit is due: you’re a sweetheart, okay? :D I do need to find a program with OCR for future reference. Besides, technically, the wonderful Sally sent me this article in print, but noone’s had time to read it to me yet. Ah, independence: the final frontier! Lol Well anyway, I truly appreciate your time and effort, thank you sweetie, take care. Big hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hey Florin, I believe "Our town" has Orrin as lead vocals. Ask Jeremy, I think he'll agree. Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada P.S.: Congratulations on finding "Nightmare county"!
Hey Florin:

Interesting item, but I don't think it's true! Good link to the complete Concert Vault show, though... thanks...
A song I'd love for Michael to do is "If I could Bring Back Time" (may be wrong title) by R. Kelly. What a tear jerker but I love it.

Robin the boltonnut from L. A. Ca

Hope I'm doing this right.
Hi all, I’ve been recommending this site to a lot of new friends and it occurred to me that, even though I believe this was on a previous forum, new fans should definitely have a listen to this little gem. This is an interview Michael did 8/13/1988 in New York and it’s one of my top 3 all-time favorites. It’s on a site called “Wolfgang’s vault” and it’s about 42 minutes long but way worth it! All you have to do is register for free. I hope you all enjoy it, take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada P.S.: On the same site, there's a vintage live set of Michael's, recorded in 1983, if I recall correctly and it's just wonderful too!
Cool Sylvie. I think I've heard of the wolfgang web site but I'm not sure. Is it the one you sent me a way back? :)

Robin the boltonnut from L. A. CA

to Sylvie in Canada.
Hi Sylvie,Thanks so much for sharing this site!!! What a great interview!!! Loved it!!

Love Eileen xoxo
Yes Robin from CA, that's the one! I'd sent it to you because I knew you'd have trouble retreiving it. Take care sweetie and hope you've read this thread, it's one of my favorites! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Glad you enjoyed it Eileen! I’ll tell you: the best interviews are when the interviewers have a few great questions, just ask and listen to Michael for half an hour! Lol There are too few of those, these days… Take care sweetie. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hi Jeremy,
I would be glad to help fill in some of the gaps for you in Michael's early early history. For instance the album with Pentagram was a full album, not just the few songs that appeared in the movie. I'll be glad to tell you the names of the songs, but as you know, the only way you can hear them is if you come to my house, which you're welcome to do. BTW - I'm in contact with Larry Quinn who wrote most of the songs for (November's Children) Nightmare County. To make it worth your while, you can also view the original recording and publishing contracts and other really cool stuff if you ever stop by.
-- Did you know that there are 2 different versions of Running Away From The Night Time, one for the album and one for the movie -- close to identical...
And the original demo of it recorded in Michael's bathroom is VERY interesting!
Please don't hesitate to get in touch.
And thanks for your kind words and sensitivity about me in your explanation of Michael's history.


© 2024   Created by Michael Bolton Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service