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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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Jeremy, you're right about the "Michael bolton + the Call" record, I have it. It's been a while since I've listened to it but I don't think there is an interview, I should double-check. As far as the "Michael Bolton story", I don't think anything much is mentionned about Joy. Maybe something about the Nomads in passing but not sure. I should revisit those and get back to you. Well, whether it took long to compile this or not, the fact that you got this info somewhere I think involved serious research and it is impressive: take credit where credit is due! :) BTW, I don't know if you check your personal page, but the Hilly Michaels EBay snippets are still available if you want them. Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Sylvie, that would be great! I still have the snippet of the "live" recording that was on eBay--the medley of the "unknown song," "Singin' the Blues" and "Maybellene"--but not the demos of the other two songs that were reportedly from 1978. Actually, I recall Hilly Michaels saying the "live" recording was from 1972 or '73 (I can't remember which one), but I'm positive that this couldn't be the case. Rather, I maintain that it must have been from 1975: "Singin' The Blues" is copyright 1974, and according to the musical arrangements (as well as the direction of Patrick Henderson, who you can hear in the background talking right before "Singin' the Blues" begins) it sounds like a demo for EDOML, not "Michael Bolotin." Anyway, I might be the only one who cares about the accuracy!

Someday I hope I'll get a chance to hear the recordings in their entirety. I really, really do.
Hi again Jeremy, I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ll try to upload the mp3’s on to this page. If I can’t, accept me as a friend and PM me your E mail address and I’ll send you all of them. No Jeremy, you’re not the only one who cares about accuracy, he said they were from ’73. I’m with you about hearing the old recordings in their entirety! I delight in listening to the evolution in Michael’s voice from his early days onwards. I love his voice on “Maybellene”! Wish me luck on uploading! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Hee-hee, it worked! I'll try for the next one... sit tight... Hope it works, if not, I'll try again. Enjoy! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Okay, take 2, I'm trying for the second song again. I tried deleting my second message but don't hink it worked.Here goesnothing!
Okay, take 2, I'm trying for the second song again. I tried deleting my second message but don't think it worked.Here goes nothing! I haven't figured out all the bugs out of posting yet! lol Enjoy! Sylvie from canada
They both worked perfectly, Sylvie. Thanks so much!! I'm going to study both of the vocals intently to see if I can figure out if it was indeed 1978. It could very well be true, but then the song titles should also show up in the US Copyright Office database (this is, of course, assuming they were copyrighted). The online version of the database contains songs from 1978 to the present. More on that later! Thanks again!!
Hi again Jeremy, it was my absolute pleasure! I don’t know how you know Patrick Henderson’s voice or anything and I’m frankly awed by your encyclopedic knowledge of songwriters etc! I don’t know about the songwriting, but to me, this sounds more like the bluesy Bolotin sound, more than the Black Jack sound that was more powerful and strong from the throat. Let me know what you think! Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
What do you two know about Michaels part in 'Aldo Nova' and Twitch?

According to the sleeve notes it describes Michael as being 'backing vocals and stand up man'.

I havent played it yet, but I've got my usb record deck sorted out now so I can record it to cd.

Love Jennifer XX
Hi Jennifer,
Well Aldo Nova and MB ran in the same AOR circles from around 1982 to 1985. It's a pretty safe bet that MB's signing on with Leiber-Krebs in 1982 and subsequent publishing deal with CBS Columbia exposed him to the likes of Nova, Mark Mangold, Peppy Castro, Chuck Burgi, Mark Radice (who wrote a song on Nova's Twitch album), etc. Recall that Aldo Nova plays synths on (if memory serves me correctly) "Can't Hold On, Can't Let Go" and the guitar solo in "Back in my Arms Again" from '83. Michael did a lot of other background vocal work for AOR bands from 1979 to 1985, so it's no surprise that he would show up on Nova's album. Under the CBS label (although Nova, I'm quite sure, was on Epic, but still owned by CBS at the time), these guys were all doing the same stuff, writing with each other occasionally, and playing on each other's records. I don't know of any specific situation in which MB and Nova met, but it may have been as a potential songwriting partnership (although there are no copyrighted co-writes between them, to my knowledge).

And Sylvie, I'll get back to you with my thoughts on the possible origin of these two demos! I'm listening to them now, in fact.
Hi Jen, isn’t Jeremy amazing?  Which record are you referring to sweetie? My “Michael Bolton + the Call” only had a generic sleeve and I can’t read the other one. All I know about Aldo Nova is that he’s a Canadian musician who sadly was a one-hit wonder in '81 with a great song called “Fantasy”. And he also played for Céline Dion at some point. OMG Jeremy, would you happen to have a list of what artists Michael sang backups for? I’ve been looking for one for years! When I first joined the MBPlatinum club, I know there was one on-line somewhere but I couldn’t even send my own messages back then. Michael also sang backups for other artists too. The only ones that come to mind are Martika, Tommy Page and Cher, off the top of my head. And that was for songs he wrote himself, I believe. Jeremy, I’ll be anxiously awaiting your analysis! Take care. Hugs to you both, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada P.S.: Oops, thought of another one: Michael also sang backups on a track on the Cosby show soundtrack with several people but you could pick his voice out right away!
Sylvie, I think both of you are amazing!!

The knowledge that you two share is outstanding!!

I am in awe of the pair of you and very grateful that you are willing to share your information.

Love Jennifer XX


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