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Michael Bolotin (born February 26, 1953), known professionally as Michael Bolton, is an American singer and songwriter. Bolton originally performed in the hard rock and heavy metal genres from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, both on his early solo albums and those he recorded as the frontman of the band Blackjack. He is best known, however, for his series of soft rock ballads, recorded after a stylistic change in the late 1980s. He is noted for his distinctive tenor/countertenor voice and "strained" vocal style.
Bolton's achievements include selling eight top 10 albums, achieving two number one singles on the Billboard charts, and receiving awards from both the American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.Bolton was born Michael Bolotin in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Helen (ne'e Gubin) and George Bolotin. He has a brother, Orrin, and a sister, Sandra, both older. His family was Jewish, and all of his grandparents had been immigrants from Russia. His parents were divorced when he was very young and his father died when Bolton was 13 years old.Bolton began recording in 1975. This first album was self-titled using his original surname, Bolotin. Early in his musical career, he focused on hard rock. His band, Blackjack, once toured with heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne.
Michael gained his first major hit as a songwriter, co-writing "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" for Laura Branigan, previously best known for singing the pop hit "Gloria". Narrowly missing the Top 10 on the US pop chart, Branigan took the song to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for three weeks in 1983. The two sought to work with each other again, and their next collaboration was when Bolton co-wrote "I Found Someone" for Branigan in 1985. Her version was only a minor hit, but two years later, Cher resurrected the song, and with it her own singing career. Bolton co-wrote several other songs for both singers.
Bolton would achieve his greatest success in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a singer on the adult contemporary/easy listening charts. One of his first major hits was his 1987 interpretation of the Otis Redding classic, "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay." Always interested in soul and Motown classics, Bolton's success with that song encouraged him to tackle the standard "Georgia On My Mind," with which he had another hit. In 1991, Bolton released the album Time, Love & Tenderness which featured his Grammy Award winning cover version of "When a Man Loves a Woman".
As a singer, he has performed with other artists such as: Lucia Aliberti, Patti LaBelle, Jose' Carreras, Tony Cetinski, Ray Charles, Ce'line Dion, Pla'cido Domingo, Rene'e Fleming, Wynonna Judd, BB King, The Lonely Island, Luciano Pavarotti, Percy Sledge, and Zucchero.
As a songwriter, he has written and collaborated on several songs for other artists as well.
Bolton's last Top 40 single in the US in his own right was the 1997 hit "Go the Distance" (featured in the Walt Disney motion picture Hercules), which peaked at No. 1 on the US adult contemporary chart. He hired conductor Larry Baird (orchestral musical director/conductor/arranger for The Moody Blues, Three Dog Night, Al Jarreau, etc.) for his 2001 tour.
In 2006, Bolton and his then fiancee Nicollette Sheridan sang a duet, "The Second Time Around," for the album Bolton Swings Sinatra. In March 2007, Bolton toured South Africa for the first time. He was the headline act at Jacaranda 94.2 FM's two-day concert.
For Over the Rainbow, an album which was recorded in five days, Bolton recorded the song "New York, New York" (also on his Bolton Swings Sinatra album). This was for an episode of the TV series, Challenge Anneka.