Michael Bolton needs no introduction. The American singer-songwriter is one of the greatest musicians in history. He is also one of the most successful, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Given the magnitude of all these accomplishments, it is quite easy to overlook Bolton’s humble beginnings. The truth, however, remains that he endured several tough times on his road to stardom. Want to know more about his inspirational story? You are in the right place.
The Beginning of Michael Bolton’s Career
The phenomenon known as Michael Bolton came into the world on the 26th day of February 1953. His given name at birth was Michael Bolotin and he hailed from a family of five. It comprised of his parents, Helen and George, as well as two older siblings named Orrin and Sandra.
Bolton commenced his musical career in his 20s (1975) using his birth name, Michael Bolotin. He initially specialized in the hard rock/heavy metal genre and released two albums as a solo artist. He subsequently went on to form a hard rock band known as Blackjack in 1978. The four-man ensemble recorded some decent success; they released two studio albums but folded after two years.
Solo Career and Rise to Global Fame
Following the disbandment of Blackjack, Bolton forged on with his solo career. He encountered several disappointments and heartbreaks along the way but refused to give up. His perseverance eventually paid off when he landed a solo recording contract with Columbia Records in 1983.
Under Columbia, Bolton recorded some albums and also collaborated with other artists. He eventually attained superstardom with the release of his 1988 album, Soul Provider. The album contained several hit songs including Bolton’s cover version of “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”. The single did not only reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 but also earned the singer his first Grammy award.
Following this breakthrough, Michael Bolton did not rest on his laurels but went on to release another bestselling album, Love & Tenderness, in 1991. Just like its predecessor, Love & Tenderness spurned another evergreen hit in the mold of “When a Man Loves a Woman”. Bolton’s cover version of the track also topped the Billboard Hot 100 and earned him a second Grammy award as well.
Since this back-to-back success, Michael Bolton has remained one of the bestselling artists in the world. He presently has 17 studio albums, several compilation albums, 3 Christmas albums, and 35 singles to his credit. He has also sold out numerous concerts across the world.
Other Artistic Pursuits and Awards of Michael Bolton
Just like many other musicians, Bolton has also tried his hands at the movie business. The crooner has featured in several movies and TV series including Two and a Half Men, Fresh off the Boat, Little Big Awesome, and The Onion Movie, etc. His appearances are usually of a cameo nature, meaning that he appears as himself rather than portraying another character. Asides acting, Bolton is also a filmmaker. He has directed/produced several documentaries and films including Good Advice, The Other Side of the Tracks, and American Dream: Detroit, etc.
Bolton has received numerous accolades in the course of his accomplished career. Some of these awards are in recognition of his musical prowess while others are for his impactful work on society. On the musical side, the crooner has won two Grammy awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. He has also won six American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Album, Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. In addition to that, Bolton bagged the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award given by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in recognition of his songwriting skills.
For his impactful work, Michael Bolton has received honors such as the Lewis Hine Award, the Martin Luther King Award, as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor is awarded to individuals who have made it their mission to share their talents, knowledge, and wealth with other less-privileged members of the society.
Why He Faced a Copyright Lawsuit
Bolton has achieved many admirable feats in his life and career. Unfortunately, he also holds the record for the largest copyright infringement settlement in American history. This arose from a lawsuit that an R&B group, The Isley Brothers, filed against him in February 1992.
The group claimed that his 1991 hit single, “Love is a Wonderful Thing”, ripped off their 1966 song of the same name. Bolton and his team contested the suit for nearly a decade. They insisted that he had never heard the brothers’ song.
The courts, however, rejected their argument and awarded a compensation of $5.4 million to the Isley Brothers. Bolton later described the decision as an atrocity. He, however, had no choice but to cough up the cash.
Michael Bolton’s Philanthropic Work
Asides music, Bolton is also renowned for his philanthropic work through his Michael Bolton Charities. The singer was motivated to start the organization as a result of his poor upbringing, as well as his realization that he could utilize his star appeal to help the less fortunate ones.
The Michael Bolton Charities supports women and children who have been affected by issues such as domestic violence, poverty, abuse, neglect, homelessness, and human trafficking.
Since its inception in 1993, the charity has assisted about 100 organizations across America. They have also initiated several innovative programs including a family justice center as well as a therapeutic music program for young victims of domestic violence.
Facts About His Wife and Children
The importance of family in our lives can never be overemphasized. They are not only our biggest cheerleaders but also stick by us when the chips are down. Michael Bolton’s case isn’t different. He has relied on the love and support of family to get to where he is today.
The crooner tied the knot with renowned journalist, Maureen McGuire, on the 4th of May 1975. Their 15-year union produced three daughters (Isa, Holly, and Taryn) and ended in divorce in 1990.
Two years after his divorce, Bolton commenced a relationship with British-American actress Nicollette Sheridan. Their romance lasted for about five years after which they split. Bolton and Sheridan, however, rekindled their old flame in 2005. They also took their relationship a notch higher by getting engaged in 2006. The couple, however, did not make it to the altar as they called off their engagement in August 2008. Since this latest breakup, Bolton has maintained a low profile and is content to shower his love on his daughters.