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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Hi Sylvie,

thank you so much for putting me on track here. I remember starting to follow the thread but then lost touch - what a shame LOL. I hope that there will be a book which combines all these fantastic infos and stories!

Since I saw Paula Abdul - and Patrick Swayze - while presenting Grammy awards really getting excited, when she announced, that Michael won the Grammy and just recently I saw her on a motivating internet programm with Brendon Burchard, my heart opened to her and I was interested to learn more about her connection to Michael. Also I learned how many personal and buisness challenges she had to deal with. She seems to be an amazing woman.

Unfortunately the link on the youtube-thread does not work for me (again), but I saw a MTV interview and she outed Michael to be nicknamed "Michael Balboa Bolton". Sadly, she couldn't recall why "Balboa" - I would have loved to know LOL.

Here are two other quotes:



Paula Abdul insists Michael Bolton learned all his parenting skills from her after getting a job babysitting the wild child. The 80s pop star first met the future singer when she was just seven years old.

She recalls, "He used to call me a brat and I said he was the worst babysitter in the world, but I actually loved him. I was once wearing my cute little Brownies (Girl Scout) uniform. I stuck a pencil in my knee and Michael had to take me to the doctor. He's a good father now, and I think he got his training babysitting me ... but I don't think he ever sang me to sleep."



  • "[Paula Abdul and Michael Bolton go way back. Back to when she was 7 - he used to baby-sit her.] I had this couch and we pushed it up against the door to try to lock him out one night, ... used to call me a brat. I said he was the worst baby sitter in the world, but I actually loved him."
    - Paula Abdul

Nice and cute story LOL


I don't have time now ----

but I can certainly answer the Balboa question.

Paula's recollection is not 100% accurate, or she was misquoted or intentionally embellishing for the sake of entertainment value, or perhaps she's leaving me out for my own protection somehow.

I've supplied Jeremy with most of the details already.

-- Marc

Hi Marc,

wow I did not expect someone to know about this. Thank you for your quick reply and I hope Jeremy will share the details - I am really curious LOL.

Here is the link where she mentioned the Balboa-nickname.



Thanks again and have a great time.

Greetings from Germany


Approximately late 1971 & 1972 is the time period we’re talking about.

The band “Joy” used to travel around the San Fernando Valley, CA in my converted old school bus named Oogy Ahgy. 

I would sort of yell/scream/sing the names of all the roads that we went by and Balboa Blvd was one that we often drove by and one of the most fun ones to say.

I could still sing it for you today how I used to do it back then, but I can’t describe it in words.  The few times Michael ever sang it, he was imitating me, just because it was fun to do.  Obviously Michael is a MUCH BETTER singer than me, but no one was really able to capture my inflections or enthusiasm of yell/singing the street names.

My best guess is that Paula is remembering me yelling Balboa, but Michael & I were so close back then - in her memory she was easily able to exchange the 2 of us.


Here’s the whole story about the babysitting scenario.


I lived in an apartment with Michael & Maureen. 

Wendy Abdul and I became a couple – I was 20, Wendy was 16 and Paula was about 8 years old. (Michael was 18 for those of you who are counting)


The 2 couples would want to spend time together, sort of double dating, except we couldn’t really afford to go anywhere anyway.  Wendy’s dad was often away from home & their mom worked at The Screen Actor’s Guild.  There were times when the mom was going out Wendy would have to stay home to babysit her little sister.  On those occasions Michael, Maureen & I would go over their house to hang out and keep Wendy company.  We would play music, sing songs, and generally just goof around.

So in actuality – Paula was being babysat by her older sister Wendy.  I was there because Wendy was my girlfriend and Michael & Maureen were there to hang out with me & Wendy.  Michael NEVER went over there for the sole purpose of babysitting Paula, he was just a bystander, though we had fun interacting with Paula in playful goofy ways when we were there.   


-- Marc

Hi Marc,

thank you so much for taking time to share this beautiful story LOL. Paula was a little girl, no wonder she puts her memories to her point of view. You must have had a great time then, even though I bet you had to deal with your challenges. You wrote so vividly that I almost heard you yelling at this particular road. Although I must admit that in my fantasy I hear this boxing promoter yelling too: in this corner "Rocky Balbooooooa" LOL Sorry, it is tough not to associate!

Thanks again for clarifying and sharing details of your private life - I deeply appreciate that. 



Wow!! Thank you so much to both of you Marc and Astrid for regailing these wonderful stories of Michael, Maureen, Wendy and Paula and famous 'babysitting' story.


I am so glad that your memory was clear and precise enough to fill us in correctly on the story that we have all heard so many times re-told by Paula. It's hardly surprising that Paula only being 8 years old, couldnt remember the facts correctly.


I've heard Paula speak about this story and have read it so many times, its so gratifying to finally know the truth behind it all.


Many, many thanks to you.


Love Jennifer XX

I am still here, and I still get email notices when this thread gets replies. And let me clarify, Sylvie--I'm too busy *right now* to continue the job! It certainly doesn't mean I won't get to it eventually. Marc has given me a wealth of information that I *still* intend to compile chronologically. And I've spent quite a bit of time analyzing the Joy repertoire (which, might I add, has some very impressive musical moments and points to the compositional and instrumental talent of all its members), so all of this will come out eventually. It's the end of term, so after I grade a slew of final exams and submit another part of my dissertation, I'll have some free time. Again, this topic is never far from my mind, and trust me--it'll be worth the wait. There was an incredible amount of musical magic being made back then!


My best to you all, and heartfelt thanks for your undying patience with me!


WOW!! This is all so wonderful hearing all these stories!  thanks so much Marc for sharing them! It really means alot to know the whole back round of Michael from the beginning!


Love Eileen

Hey Marc, so good to see you post here again! Oh my goodness, lol thank you so much for that vivid description! Lol Oh boy, dare I ask the story behind the naming of your bus Oogy Ahgy? :D Sounds like it was loads of fun times! Listen, I don’t want to pester you too much Marc, but out of curiosity, are you helping Michael with his autobiography? You seem to have a fantastic memory… Well, in any case, thank you so much for dropping by and sharing your stories with us, it’s very much appreciated. I hope you’re doing well. Take care and don’t be a stranger! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada

Hello Jeremy,


Its great to hear from you and thanks for swinging by to update us.


I have already started typing this thread into some form of chronological order myself, but of course dont want to tread on any toes by doing so, but I purely, orginally started typing it up for my own interest.


I am looking forward to reading your accounts of the 'Joy' era very much, but of course understand fully that you are busy and of course your work and course work must come first.


We will all have to be patient little Bolton Buzzer Buddies until then and the wait will make it so much more exciting.


Good luck to you and again thank you for the update on your situation nad do let us know how your dissertation and final exams etc go for you.


Take care.


Love Jennifer XX

Jeremy, are you a sound for sore ears! So good to hear from you and I’m really glad you’re keeping an eye on “your baby”! :D Jeremy, I know that you will: you’ve put too much effort in this guy to just drop it. I have complete faith in you kid and I’ll personally wait until you’re ready to continue. You know I love your analysies and I know your novel will be worth waiting for… :D  Sweetie, break a leg on all your final exams etc and we’ll be here when you’re ready. Prends soin de toi! Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada :D

Hey the "Wee One" has arrived - I've just found this thread and what an AMAZING one it is - WOW !! :)    All I can say is thanks to everyone who has contributed to this - what a brilliant read and long may it continue !!! :)


Sylvia.  Your wee Scottish friend.


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