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His achievements include selling many albums, eight top ten albums, two number one singles on the Billboard charts, and awards from both the American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.
Bolton at the 1990 Grammy Awards
Bolton's hard rock band, Blackjack, once toured with heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne. He began recording as Michael Bolotin in 1975. He 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 disco-pop classic "Gloria". Narrowly missing the Top 10 on the U.S. 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 eighties and early nineties as a singer in the adult contemporary/easy listening genre. 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 of "When a Man Loves a Woman".
Most of Bolton's recordings are original material; however, he has also written songs for such artists as Conway Twitty, Barbra Streisand, Kiss, Kenny Rogers, Kenny G, Peabo Bryson and Patti LaBelle. Bolton's early songwriting collaborators included Doug James and Mark Mangold, and as his fame grew he began to cowrite with higher-profile writers such as BabyFace, Diane Warren, and Bob Dylan.
As a singer, he has performed with Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Tony Cetinski, Lucia Aliberti, Renée Fleming, Zucchero, Patti LaBelle, Céline Dion, Ray Charles, Percy Sledge, Wynonna Judd, and BB King.
Bolton's last Top 40 single in the US was the 1997 hit "Go the Distance" (featured in the Walt Disney motion picture Hercules), which peaked at #1 on the U.S. 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 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.
Bolton recorded the song "New York, New York" (also on his Bolton Swings Sinatra album), for an album which was recorded in five days, Over the Rainbow. This was for an episode of the TV series, Challenge Anneka. The proceeds from the album went to children's hospices across the U.K.
Bolton performed a duet entitled "Il Mio Amico" with the Italian singer Anna Tatangelo at the Sanremo Music Festival 2008. The song was originally sung by Tatangelo alone, but the duet version contained English lyrics as well. It is a song about the difficulties of being gay in Italy, written by Tatangelo's partner, Gigi D'Alessio.
Bolton's album Only A Woman Like You was released in 2002. The title song was co-written by Shania Twain and with background vocals by Skyler Jett. Bolton released an album in the UK on September 21, 2009 entitled One World One Love. The first single entitled 'Just One Love', was released on September 14, 2009.
Appearances in other media
Bolton appeared as an extra in the theatrical release of Frank Herbert's Dune featuring Sting and Kyle MacLachlan. In their final fight scene, he plays a "spice-eyed" drummer.
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On May 9, 2000, a U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a jury's 1994 decision that Bolton's 1991 pop hit, "Love Is a Wonderful Thing", infringed on the copyright of the 1964 Isley Brothers song of the same name, and let stand the jury's award of $5.4 million against the singer, his co-author, Andrew Goldmark, and their record company, Sony Music Entertainment. See Three Boys Music Corp. v. Bolton, 212 F.3d 477 (9th Cir. 2000). This was the biggest payout in musical copyright infringement to date.
Michael Bolton was born to a Jewish family in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the father of three children.
Bolton became engaged to actress Nicollette Sheridan in March 2006; however, it was confirmed in August 2008 that they had broken off their engagement.
In 1993, he established the Michael Bolton Foundation (now the Michael Bolton Charities) to assist women and children at risk from the effects of poverty, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The foundation has provided over $3.7 million in funding to local and national charities.
Bolton also serves as the honorary chairman of Prevent Child Abuse America, the national chairman for This Close for Cancer Research, and a board member for the National Mentoring Partnership and the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
In March 2003, Bolton joined with Lifetime Television, Verizon Wireless, and many others to lobby on behalf of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, urging legislation to provide more assistance for victims of domestic violence, such as affordable housing options.
Bolton has received the Lewis Hine Award from the National Child Labor Committee, the Martin Luther King Award from the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce also recognized Bolton with a star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" for his musical and charitable contributions.
Michael Bolton discography
Dune (1984) (uncredited)
Meet Wally Sparks (1997)
The Onion Movie (2008)
As executive producer
Offside (short) (2001)
Good Advice (feature) (2001)
Terror at Home: Domestic Violence in America (TV) (2005)
The Other Side of the Tracks (feature) (2008)