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

WOW! So much great information! And the from the newpaper! Great picture!! Thanks for sharing al l your research!
OMG!!! With all this talk about Bios! I remembered I had the Time, love and Tenderness Bio of Michaels put away somewhere!!! SAFE HAHA!!! When we were moving bedrooms around when children where starting to leave home and everyone wanted to then switch rooms if one got married and one went off to college ( I have 4 Children) Anyway with all this talk I decided to see If I could find it!!! Down the basement in my file cabinet after an hour of digging through sutff my kids decided to store in the basement !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I FOUND IT and all my tees I have from each concert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!! Thank you all for this!! Now I will place it safely in my den!
Love Eileen oxox
Here is a 'Tip of the week" from the June 11, 1975 edition of the Milwaukee Journal: Michael Bolotin has one of those muffled, gutsy voices that may seek to imitate but few seem genuinely to possess. This 22 year old blues singer with a dubut album under his name on RCA (APL10992) is a Joe Cocker soundalike. And since Joe Cocker hsn't been sounding too much like Joe Cocker recently, it must be added that Bolotin sounds like a the Cocker of the old days.

This is lively, spirited, full bore music with a lot of emoion to convey. Bolotin does most of his own songwriting ( 8 out of11). The best numbers are "Your Love," "Tell Me How You Feel," "It's Just a Feelin'" and You're No Good." The fact that Bolotin is a good looking fella shouldn't slow up his career either.
Here is another small blurb from the Spokane Daily Chronicle, from May 29, 1975:
Michael Bolotin, RCA--22 year old Bolotin wants to be a blues singer and he wants to be good at it.
RCA is apparenly sure that he can do it and they have released an LP for him under his name.
RCA shold be congratulated. Mike is good.
He can also sing nearly perfect version of he blues.
Bolotin has patterned himself after Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart and he is distinguished though not polished.
This young man is going to be a star someday. His new LP predict it.
OMG, this is great stuff Payten! Did you get those from print articles or somewhere on-line with your detective skills? :) Maybe you should help Florin with the songs he's looking for! Take care and thanks for sharing! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
Thanks so much Payten, I love reading all these old articles about MB's career!!! You are great detective!!LOL
Robin :)
Here is another article that I nicked a ways back. Its a bit longer. All typos are mine....some of my keys stick. There is another reprint I have floating around that has a few more paragraphs that were edited out of this article. I might track it down if the mood strikes me :)

Bolton sings songs for his father
by Peter S. Hawes Associated Press Writer

New Have, Conn. (AP) At times, singer songwriter Michael Bolton can gase into the glaring lights of a concert hall and still see his father poking somebody in the rear end with his cane.
"Down in front," he recalls his father as saying. "I can't see."
"The guy in front turns around ready to pop him one," says Bolton, "and when he sees this wrinkled old guy wagging a cane at him, saying, " That's my son, my son,' and pointing at me, he sits right down."
Bolton's latest album, "Michael Bolton," is didicated to his father, George Bolotin who, before his death two years ago, often enouraged: "Keep with it Michael. Keep ith it. You're going to make it."
After more then 14 years of writing, recording and perfoming popular music, th 28 year old Bolton now has come close to making it.
On the heels of his single, "Fool's Game," which cracked the nation's top 100, Bolton recently completed his first major national concert tour. He opened for Bob Seger's Silver Ballet Band for 32 dates.
Most of the fans had never heard of Bolton; they were there to scream for Seger, a veteran rock star.
"You can't focus on that," Bolton says between bites of a mushroom pizza at a New Havn pizza parlor. "Your job is to go in there and kill those people, make them remember you after an hour and half of a devatating Seger set-the guy just has hit after hit after hit, and then his encore."
Struggling for recognition and hoping to learn from Seger, Bolton spent nearly every night enviously watching his show.
" I got blown away," says Bolton, his curly, blond hair waving as he shakes his head. Its both inspring and it's devastating because i's like a whip to me."
As a child, Bolton-he shortened his name from Bolotin for the current album-and his brother helped their fathe by riding bicycles around New Haven to ditribute campaign liteature for the area Democratic candidates.
George Bolotin was Democratic chairman in th city's 24th ward and also served as property manager of the New Haven Redeveloment Agency.
" I was into the Beatles and I grew long hair before the other kids, and I got in trouble in school for having long hair," Bolton says.
"They wouldn't let me play sports, which I really loved I was captain of my baseball team. They tried everthing to get me to cut my hair and it made me harder. And it made me angry. I didn't realize I was an angry kid."
Bolton's musical tastes soon turned to Motown and other rhythm and blues oriented artists. His musical influences included Mitch Ryder, Stevie Wonder, Little Richard, Junior Wells and the Righteous Brothers.
He convinced his parents to buy him a guitar. Within three years, he had a contract to record a single for Epic Records.
But by the time he was 17, the Epic deal had fallen hrough. Still, he was asked to open for Leon Russell before 9,000 fans atthe Philadelphia Spectrum. He recorded a series of demonstration tapes at Russell's home studio in Tulsa, Okla., signed a record deal and put out two albums, "Michael Bolotin" and "Every Day of My Life" in 1975-76.
Three years of anonymity went by before he fronted a grup called Blackjack, and released two more ablumbs. All four of his early albums are out of print. "Michael Bolton," released this year, is his first work since then.
Bolton seems to have more visibility as a writer then he does as a singer. His songs have been recorded and performed by the Pointer Sisters, Thelma Houston, Larry Graham and the Righteous Brothers.
One of hissongs, a ballad called "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," recorded by Laura Branigan, debuted last month at 63 on the charts "with a bullet," whic means it's a fast mover. It hit 44 with a bullet two weeks ago.
Most of those songs are soulful ballads, unlike the polished rock'n' roll that characterizes Bolton's own recordings and performances.
"My solo career is the most important thing to me," he says. "But I'm having a great deal of success as a writer.....writing songs that I wouldn't put on my album, that I think are real nice songs and say what I feel about certain things or observations or experiences.
"Bill medley (of the Righteous Brothers) did two of my songs, " he says. "I grew up with this guy. He was an influence for me and here I am, I'm on the phone going, 'Listen, Bill, I apreciate you doing the song. I just want you to know you've been an insiration to me and I loved all your records."'
"And I hear this voice on the other end," says Bolton, afecting Medley's grating deep voice. "Mike, you write great songs. You got a great voice. Just keep doing it, OK?"'
Bolton glories in recalling the conversation and expresses amazement that an idol from his youth enjoys his songs. "It's unbelievable," he says.
WOW! Love this Article! Thank you so much for sharing!!! I love this history!
Love Eileen oxox
Thanks so much again Payten! I love reading all of these old articles about MB in the early years!!! Wow!
Robin :)
Hi again Payten, I don't know if you're sorting out your MB treasure chest or if you're moving the on-line goldmine here, but these articles are fabulous, thank you so much for sharing! This last Associated Press one was particularly nice to read, thanks again! Take care. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
ok, this is a newer one....but since I've already posted a couple of interviews and blurbs, I though I would post one of my favorite interviews :
Sunday Times - UK April 07, 2002

The best of times, the worst of times: Michael Bolton
Michael Bolton, 49, has sold 52m albums, penned songs for the likes of Cher
and Barbra Streisand, and jingles for 'every brand of soda in the cooler'.
But he hasn't forgotten his poverty-stricken years. He tells Ria Higgins how
his rise to fame was too late to save his marriage

The thing about life is that you have to learn to laugh through the pain,
because if you don't you're in for a rough ride. Humour can be such a gift at
times and when I look back through some of the tough periods in my life, I
really wish that I'd had so much more of it.

Sure, it was great when I left school and got my first record deal at 16.
But, by the time I was in my early thirties, I was married, with three small
children all under the age of six, and I just wasn't earning enough money to
buy groceries or pay the rent or get the car fixed. We'd reached the point
where we were getting the eviction notices. All I have in my head is this
picture of myself sitting at the kitchen table and looking across the room
and not seeing anything - anything at all. I felt despair, utter desperation.

And it seemed like it was never going to end. I just couldn't see the light
at the end of the tunnel. It was the closest I'd ever felt to not having any
hope. And why was I in this state? Because I was hanging onto my dream - the
dream I'd had since I was a 13-year-old boy, playing in bands in the local
bars in Connecticut.

But the reality of my family's situation was inescapable. I wasn't earning
enough money - simple as that. I couldn't move forward, I couldn't move to
the side. I'd got myself tangled up in all sorts of legal stuff to do with a
management company that I was tied to and needed to break away from. But it
was like being in quicksand - the more I tried to figure a way out, the more
it felt like it was pulling me under. I was scared.

Maybe I was just the eternal dreamer. And maybe also at the back of my mind I
reminded myself of my mother - she was a wonderful singer who'd ended up
sacrificing her dreams to keep our family together. She'd always told me I
must never give up on my dreams. But whatever it was, I felt like I'd gone
too far out into the desert to turn back. My wife knew how much music meant
to me. It had been a huge part of my life during our courtship, through our
marriage and through the births of our three daughters. Giving up my dream
just wasn't an option.

Perhaps that's what you have to go through if you want to make your dreams
come true. I kept believing, I kept trying and then, one day, I got my lucky
break. Someone from a record company heard my demo tape. They really believed
in me; they knew I had something special. So they sorted out all my legal
stuff and suddenly things were looking up.

It still took another six or seven years before I had my first hit as an
artist, but at least I was making enough money to take care of my family -
even if it was only by writing songs for other people and making jingles. At
one point, I remember opening the cooler and realising I'd done the jingle
for every single brand of soda in there. By the end of 1989, when my album
Soul Provider was out, I started to think: 'Hey, maybe - just maybe - this is
going to work!'

As soon as I was earning money, I blew it all on the kids. I couldn't forget
how much it had hurt to say no to them that time - no new clothes, no special
outings, none of the toys they wanted. Now I just couldn't resist. One of my
favourite memories is of taking the kids to the shopping mall in Stamford,
Connecticut. They would have been about 8, 10 and 12, and each one had a
little trolley. I just followed them as they rushed around in pure
excitement, trying things on and asking each other how they looked. Their
little faces gave me so much joy, I don't think I'll ever forget it. It felt
like Christmas and I felt like Santa Claus, and all was well with the world.
I remember we got to the checkout counter and the woman behind the till said
to me: 'I wish I had a big brother like you.'

I laughed and told her I wished I was young enough to be her brother. I was
so touched that I said to her: 'Okay, take a trolley round the shop and get
whatever you want. It's on me.' It was such a wonderful moment.

Unfortunately, by then my wife and I had been seeing a marriage counsellor
for some time. I think in our hearts we both knew the marriage couldn't be
saved. We knew things weren't right between us - it had been apparent for so
many years. Of course, I ask myself if it was to do with the hardship I'd put
my family through, but I guess every marriage goes through peaks and valleys,
and roller-coaster rides at one point or another. At the end of the day, I
just think we got married very young, and a lot of people grow apart by the
very nature of growing up. When you're 20, you really don't know who you are;
you don't know who they are - you're just learning along the way.

Eventually I left and went to live in New York City. It was tough. The
children stayed with their mum and I would see them every two weeks. But it
felt such an unnatural existence. I'd come and collect them and then drop
them back home and kiss them goodbye. They'd all be sitting there on the
couch - the little one, the middle one and the big one - all turning their
heads to watch me leave. At moments like that, it just felt like a dagger
twisting around inside me. It was agonising beyond belief.

I felt guilty. I would blame myself for what had happened between me and my
wife. But it was nothing compared to the sense of loss and the physical
distance between me and the girls - the reality of not living with them any

Eventually I got a big house in Connecticut - about 35 minutes from where
they lived with their mum. Then, occasionally, instead of it being every two
weeks, I might see them a couple of weekends in a row.

Or if I was doing a special concert, or perhaps if I was receiving an award,
I might say: 'Ask your mum if you can come with me.' Once they were a bit
older they would even come out on tour with me.

Today I don't regret the path my life took. I'm just glad that, after all we
went through, my girls are still, and always will be, a central part of my
life. That's a great blessing and I'm grateful for it.
AWWWW This is the best on yet I think. You feel what MB is feeling with what he said dealing with those hard time.. OMG!!THANKS for posting this..

One part of this isn't quite accurate tho, he got custody of the girls at some point after he had the house. He talked about that in a more recent interview.

Robin :)


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