Michael Bolton is a pop superstar, there’s no denying that. His songs have cemented themselves as permanent fixtures on adult contemporary music scene. What you may not know is that Bolton once fronted rock bands. In fact, one of those bands was metal enough to have opened for Ozzy Osbourne. And Bolton was metal enough to have auditioned for Black Sabbath in the early ’80’s.
Of course, it wasn’t until a stylistic change in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s that Bolton would become a household name. Multiple Grammy Awards and 65 million records sold later, Bolton has secured himself a spot on the all-time greats in pop music history. Here are some of his best songs:
How Am I Supposed to Live Without You
Let’s start with the one that broke the door wide open. This song was written by Bolton for then emerging superstar Laura Branigan. Interestingly enough, the song was supposed to go to another ’80s pop superstars, Air Supply. But the group’s label wanted the lyrics of the chorus changed. Bolton refused.
Branigan was able to crack the charts with this song, but Bolton took it to number one on the charts when he sung and recorded it in 1988.
I Found Someone
Bolton’s successful collaboration with Laura Branigan earned him another songwriting gig for the latter’s subsequent efforts. Bolton wrote “I Found Someone” for Branigan in 1985, but it was received minor success compared to “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”.
In 1987, Cher was making a comeback effort in the music scene after having acted in movies for a while. Bolton produced Cher’s recording of this song, and it went straight up the charts, and along with it, Cher’s musical resurgence.
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay
Although he started his career as a rock singer, Bolton has always been a fan of Motown and R&B music. His version of Otis Redding’s classic remain one of the best ones out there, even moving Redding’s widow, Zelma, to tears.
How Can We Be Lovers
Bolton’s husky voice is an easy fit for contemporary rock songs, and luckily for him there was a big crossover acceptance of Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) in the 90’s music scene. Bolton would let his rock persona out once in a while, and “How Can We Be Lovers” is one of the great ones to come out of that.
Go The Distance
The theme song to Disney’s 1997 film Hercules, “Go The Distance” was given depth and ample weight through Bolton’s soulful performance. It is regarded as one of the best Disney anthems of all time.
Said I Loved You But I Lied
Another song that has been on heavy rotation since its release, “Said I Loved You But I Lied” spent 12 weeks at number one on the charts.
That’s What Love is All About
Released in 1987, the song features members of Journey and Kiss; underscoring Bolton’s rock roots. This song was a hit among ’90s radio-listening public.
When A Man Loves A Woman
Originally sung and popularized by Percy Sledge, Bolton’s take on another contemporary ballad has the distinction of being the last number one song to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100’s old system (relying on album sales and airplay). It would not matter much, as Bolton’s version remains one of the most popular and most played ballads in pop radio, even to this day.
Catch Michael Bolton on Fox Network Group’s Bolt of Talent, an original series documenting award-winning American songwriter and pop culture icon Michael Bolton’s search for undiscovered gifted singers across Asia–a relentless seven-week journey featuring exciting challenges that will culminate in four musically gifted finalists being hand-picked by Bolton.
Exclusively on Star World, the seven-part series takes the audience to four major cities: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Taipei in this original production airing on August 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm.