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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Hya Jeremy,

Anything that you can do with the information that has been so lovingly and willingly provided here or that has been un-locked from the confines of the vaults of time, would be so very gratefully recieved by us all, I'm certain of that.

I've ordered a copy of the book ' New Haven sound' but so far, it hasnt arrived with me here in the UK. I think the seller of it is using a snail to post it to me from the US?

A new puppy eh? They are hard work arent they especially when all they want and all we want is to cuddle them all day. What 'model' of dog is it? Will it remain 'lap size' and easy to cuddle or grow into a proper 'lifesize' dog?

Take care and have a great Canadian Thanksgiving Jeremy.

Love Jennifer XX
Hi Jennifer,

Don't all dogs no matter what size they grow to be still think they are "lap size". I can tell you that Jeremy won't be typing with puppy on his lap for long!

As for the rest of the details, I'll let the proud papa share the details.

Hey Jeremy, happy Thanksgiving to you too eh! Lol Good to hear a sign of life from you my friend. I believe I’ve mentioned earlier on this thread, that I’m convinced that between you, Florin, Sally and Marc, you could write one heck of a beautiful “Early musical history of Michael Bolton”! Frankly, I don’t know that you’d have time to even consider it, but I’m sure you have enough material to write a terrific contribution book… As I’ve always told you Jeremy: use that power for good! Lol Aww, sweet you have a new puppy, what breed is it and what’s his name? Just curious. Well Jeremy, thanks again for sharing and I for one will be awaiting anxiously for the results. You know, maybe you can issue your findings in installments? Just a thought. It seems to me that smaller short-term goals would be less daunting. Well take care my little nowhere man and I’ll look forward to your next post, again, happy Thanksgiving! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Dear Jeremy,

Book length is exactly what we're hoping for. Can't wait for you to start sharing the spoils. It's truly fortunate that Marc not only has an incredible memory, but also appears to have saved every scrap of paper and recordings pertinent to the early years.

Have a great Thanksgiving with family, friends and the newly adopted 'kids' (for those wondering why that's plural, Jeremy's Mom couldn't resist one of the other pups in the litter)

Hi Jeremy.
We have learnt to be very patient over the years of being MB fans :)
I know it will come though and I think its great that you are going this so Thank-you!!!
A new puppy very cute what sort is he?
All the best
Totally off topic, but cuteness wins here. I have no idea which one is Puppy Greenway. Jeremy will have to let us know when he comes around after Thanksgiving dinner overload.

Oh aren't they precious...the little brown one in the middle of all the black ones!! Gail
Adorable cute puppies how precious
Thanks Sally
Love Dianna xxx
AWWWWWWW What an adorable little group there.. I would pick the brown one too!!! Cute little faces. OMG can you imagine the fun when they all take off in different directions at once!!ROFL

Thanks for sharing Sally...LOL
Robin :)
Can I have the black one please?

Aww, they are the cutest little pooches, a real chocolate box image.

Love Jennifer XXX

Hi there,

I came across this interview with Paula Abdul. Sorry, if this has been posted before. It is an interesting mix of topics: historical music background and private memories

BTW, wouldn't it be nice if we could have this amazing thread on top?

Greetings from Germany





Paula: Michael Bolton Was a Bad Babysitter

VH1.com caught up with pop legend and American Idol judge Paula Abdul to speak about her new song and video (see it here), “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow,” off of Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Vol. 1 The pop number is Abdul’s first in almost 12 years, and it placed her solidly back on the charts. We’ll be breaking down Abdul’s comments over the next week in a variety posts. In today’s installment, she discusses how the new song came to be, and how she knows longstanding Idol co-host Randy Jackson. She also talks about why you should never let Michael Bolton babysit your kids.

Paula Abdul on how she came to record “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”:

I’ll tell you how it all started. For the past six seasons [on American Idol], Randy and I toyed with the idea of collaborating. One of the guys will be singing a song, and [Randy and I] will look at each other and go, “God, that would be a great cover.” But to focus Randy Jackson is like trying to catch a kid who’s at an amusement park and focused on getting cotton candy. It’s like, “Randy! Yo, Randy! Come on, Randy!” He’s a total politician. He’s always like, “Yo, we love this! We’re going to do this! We’re going to win! It’s great!” It goes on and on. I know he’s like this, so I’m always like, “Stop toying with my emotions.”

I’ve known Randy going on 18 years. I first met Randy Jackson running my cheerleading and dance camp. I was always a businesswoman, looking to make my camps the best. It always seemed like there was a tour going on in each of the cities I’d do my competitions in. Well, Journey was on tour in each of those cities. I was 18 years old, calling them up and saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I need a bunch of tickets at a very discounted price. I’ll have hundreds of cheerleaders in uniforms doing the wave and all this stuff.” I talked the promoters into giving me a bunch of tickets, and so the winners of my competition would go to the Journey concert, go backstage and meet the band. That’s when I first met Randy. I was just starting being a Laker Girl and running my cheer and dance camp. He was the bass player! It was cool.

What was really funny — you know, I never told anyone this — was that I was making my album, my first album, and I didn’t want to lose my day job as a choreographer. At this point I was an award-winning choreographer, and I was still doing the Laker Girls, and my camp, and I was secretly recording. Right when “Straight Up” was coming out, I was in the car with my sister. “Straight Up” came on the radio. We were on Sunset Boulevard. It was so exciting. Right after that, we flipped the stations and heard this voice — it was a ballad. My sister goes, “God, this reminds me so much . . . Paula, do you remember Bolotin?” Michael Bolotin [singer Michael Bolton’s birth name]. That was his name, Bolotin. He was best friends with my older sister and his girlfriend, Maureen, who he then married in Connecticut, was my sister’s best friend. He used to babysit me. I couldn’t stand him.

Forgive me, but when I was a Brownie — you know, before you’re a Girl Scout, at first you’re a Brownie — I remember coming home from Brownies, doing my homework with a pencil on my L-shaped couch. Michael was babysitting me. He never took care of me, he’d just do jam sessions outside in our condos. In the condos where we lived, the Tower of Power horn section lived across the pool area, and the Porcaro brothers from Toto lived two doors down, and the drummer from the Jackson 5 lived there too. I have such a documentary musical of my life in the making. You’d never believe it! This was the normal, everyday, after-school thing.

Anyway, I remember [Michael saying], “Yep, yep, kid, I’m just going to be out there. I’ll be back in an hour, whatever.” I remember running on my knees to walk him out of the house. When I ran, my pencil was sticking straight up in one of the cushions and went right into my knee. Now I had a pencil in my knee. I’m screaming and screaming, and it was all because of him. He had to [skip] rehearsal, which he hated, and I had to get to the hospital. And that’s my experience of Michael Bolton.

So, if you can imagine, “Straight Up” is on the radio, we flip the station, my sister goes “God, that reminds me of Bolotin,” and that was Michael Bolton. We screamed, turned the car around, went into Tower Records, which is no longer on Sunset, and bought his album called The Hunger. I was like, “Oh my God. This is how weird my life is.” Not even a minute after we’re at the cash register, my phone rings. It’s my agent saying, “This is a weird request. This manager named Lewis Levin, who manages Michael Bolton [laughs] would like to meet with you, but first he needs to know — is Paula Abdul the Paula Abdul that [Michael Bolton] knows as a child?” I told my agent I’d take care of the phone call. I called Lewis and said, “Don’t tell [Bolton] that it is me.” He’s laughing. He wanted to hire Paula Abdul the choreographer, but wasn’t sure it was the Paula Abdul he used to babysit. So my sister and I went to the studio where Michael Bolton was working. All this happened in one day. At four o’clock, he came out, and he just about fainted. We talked until about three o’clock in the morning. I said to him, “What am I going to do choreograph you? You just stand there! You didn’t cut your hair! This is so weird.” He goes, “Just help me. I just don’t know what to do.” So then I decided I’d help stage him and give him some movement.

Three days later, I went to S.I.R. [Studio Instrument Rentals] because he was getting ready to tour. He goes, “I can’t believe that you’re going to have a number-one record!” I remember escorting him to one of the awards [shows] — everyone knew who Michael Bolton was! And then, at every single American Music Awards or Grammys, I’d get asked to announce the category that Michael Bolton was in. And then he’d win! There was one time that I didn’t do his category, and he goes, “I knew I wasn’t going to win.” [Laughs]

But having said that, I drove to S.I.R., and there was Randy Jackson. He was [Michael Bolton’s] A&R guy! I know that was a long story but it shows my connection to Randy. Throughout all of my career, every three or four years of my life, [Randy plays an important part]. It started when I was a cheerleader, then when I was a choreographer, then when I was a recording artist. He would sometimes consult me, and then . . . American Idol. When I came in for Idol, they go [in tony British accent]: “Paula. We have this guy Ryan Seacrest.” I didn’t know who Ryan was and they were going, “Oh, brilliant. We wish Ryan was here. And a guy named Brian Dunkelman.” I’m like, uh huh. And then they’re like, “We have Randy Jackson. And Paula, he’s not the fat Jackson from the Jackson 5.” I’m like, “Duh! If you knew any of my background, I worked with the Jacksons. I know.” That’s the story.

So for me to get Randy to actually do [“Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow”] . . . . In every part of my life, there’s been triumph over adversity. I’ve been to the top, the stratosphere, and become a superstar in three separate and distinct careers — as a choreographer, then as a recording artist and breaking records, and then, the biggest, as a judge on American Idol. Now, to come back for the fourth time, and to have [a song and video charting] on iTunes . . . I don’t know any other artist who’s done that with their career, to be honest. Not Madonna, not anyone.

Tune in on Tuesday for part two of Paula Abdul in her own words.


Astrid! I’m so glad you took my advice and checked this thread out,isn’t it amazing? There is a video of Paula on VH1 on the “New videos on Youtube” thread but I never had access to it. So if this is the same contents, thank you so much for posting it! I knew about the babysitting story but not how they reconnected. This is very cool and thanks again so much for posting it! I do agree this should be a featured discussion, but sadly, the main contributors  are too busy to continue the wonderful job. Although I do think this is a great spot for posting vintage articles if one can find them. In any case, I’m sure that because you’ve brought it back to the surface, anyone who’s remotely interested in Michael’s early days will delight in it. Thanks again sweetie, take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada


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