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
ways."
[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?


1972:
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!
Enjoy!



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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.

Can't wait for the story!
Florin sweetie, glad to have you back here! Jeremy didn't give us a time-frame, but I'm glad that while we wait for the finished product, this thread has resurfaced and hopefully, more people will be able to enjoy Jeremy's work. Take care Florin and again, glad to have you back! Big hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada
You'll be glad to know that after April I'll have a lot less on my plate! I've been going over the notes I have and I can't wait to get going again. Once again, thanks for your patience, everyone!
Thanks a lot for keeping us posted Jeremy, take care sweetie. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada

Hi Jeremy!  Wow! thanks for all this!!! Ilove it!

Love Eileen  xx

Hi everyone, thanks to our friend Joy, I just found out that Michael’s old band Blackjack has a Wikipedia page. There’s really nothing on it that the long-time fans don’t know, but there are 3 archival articles listed on the page, so I thought it would be pertinent to bring the links over here. I was told these were PDF files and I’ll need my son to retrieve them, but thought at least I could share them here, enjoy!

Barbosa, Susan (14 August 1979).

"Blackjack thrills audience".

The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida, USA: Lakeland Ledger Publishing Company): p. 17

http://news.google.com/newspapers?

 

Gerber, Lisa (13 August 1979).

"Frampton came alive to knock 'em dead at Lakeland Saturday".

St. Petersburg Times (St. Petersburg, FL, United States: Times Publishing Company p. 37

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-

Hawes, Peter S. (6 August 1983).

"Michael Bolton struggles for recognition, success".

Schenectady Gazette (Schenectady, NY United States)

http://news.google.com/newspapers?

 

Happy reading, take care and hugs to all, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada :D

Wow! Cool. Haven't seen this thread in eons. Boltonnut from L. A. CA

Hey Robin, if you check dates, this thread hadn't been touched in a whole year. I'll send you the articles as soon as my son retrieves them, okay? Take care girl. Hugs, sincerely, Sylvie from Canada

Yeah, girl saw the dates. Send them when yyou can. :D

Hi everyone, I've just posted this interview/article in  the "older magazine articles" thread, but since it dates some and I feel it's relevant to this thread, I'm posting it here as well. Hope you enjoy! Take care and hugs to all, sincerely, Sylvie QC Canada :D

 

Michael Bolton songwriter interviews Songfacts

 

Go behind the music with some of the world's best songwriters

 

Michael Bolton

 

 By Bruce Pollock

 

Shortly before he became Michael Bolton and released six multi-platinum albums in a row between 1987 and 1995, but after he was Michael Bolotin, going nowhere as a generic heavy rocker, Michael Bolton was following the career path of the songwriter, collaborating with everyone and stalking his contacts at the labels if there was a chance he had a shot at a single. His crowning moment was scripting the #12 hit for Laura Branigan "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" in 1983. It was at this heady juncture that I caught up with him to glean his hard-won insights.

 

Writing Hits

 

 

Anybody who says they're not trying to write hits is either in the wrong business or lying, because once you realize what you're up against - the odds of even getting a song on a record - then you'd better write a hit, or it's not gonna be on the record. Hit songs are the life blood of the industry. Every company is screaming for songs; the hit song is what keeps the industry alive, because that's all that radio wants to play. I didn't realize that until all of a sudden I started writing for other people. I've got a list right here of about 70 artists and producers who are looking for songs. Right now I've got songs on about 12 or 13 albums. I have no idea whether they're gonna be sung well, whether they'll be produced well, whether any of them will even be singles. But I'm hoping for hits.

 

 

Letting the Songs Go

 

 

I didn't know anything about the publishing world until about three years ago. I was between record deals, between managements. A friend of mine, Patrick Henderson, had written "Real Love," with Michael McDonald, so I asked him if he had any more things like that hanging around. I flew out to California and we wrote three songs, with the attempt being to put together a record deal for me. The next thing I knew was that his publishing company said they could place those songs instantly. I needed the money, so I said, let the songs go, and all the songs were gone in a matter of weeks. One of those songs - the very first one I wrote, has been recorded seven times. It's called "Still Thinking of You." Larry Graham did it, Fran Jolie, Rachel Sweet. Through Larry, George Duke became a big fan of the song, and I suddenly realized how it's great to have producers really hot on a song. They're just gonna keep cutting it until they have a hit.

 

 

Words and Music

 

 

I write everything - music, lyrics, melody - and I don't like writing just one of those things. I have been offered assignments to sit down with a piano player and write lyrics, but I won't do that. I like to be there during the conception of the song. I like to sit down and start fumbling around with a melody, or some idea, until the song starts revealing itself, where the lyrics and music are creating each other at the same time. I don't go anywhere without a pen and paper and my tape deck. If I get an idea I write it down.

 

About 60% of the time somebody has an idea and they say, 'Michael will be real good with this one.' Once you've had a hit record, people start calling you up. I don't care if a guy's involved with a hit. What I'm interested in is knowing what he contributed to the song. Is he a melody person? Does he come up with a theme? There are a lot of writers who can come up with a song that sounds just like their last hit only sideways. The writers I enjoy working with want to write songs that will be around ten years from now. I just started writing with Randy Goodrum ("You Needed Me"). I felt a little intimidated by his success. But he's the kind of guy who writes forever songs.

 

 

Levels

 

 

First you hear they're gonna cut your song. Then you find out they never did cut it. The next level is that they cut it, but never put a vocal on it. Then they cut it, put a vocal on it, but it didn't make the record. Usually when I'm told the song is on hold it winds up on the record. But I don't believe it until I hear it. Then they tell you it might be a single. When they tell you it's going to be a single, that's the only time I feel really comfortable that the song is going to be on the record. I don't believe it's really going to be a single until I hear the version of it. Once I hear the version of it, I can start making noise myself and have whatever friends I have at that label go to see them every other day and say, did you hear that track yet? I don't hype my work actively, but if I think there's a single there, I don't want to lose it. If it's not good enough to be a single, then I hope it's bad enough to be the b-side of a single. If it looks like it may be a single, they'll never put it on the b-side.

 

Then, if it does get released as a single and it makes the charts, that's like going to the races. And they're off....

 

 

Bruce Pollock has written ten books on music, including By the Time We Got to Woodstock: The Great Rock Revolution of 1969. In his column "They're Playing My Song," Susanna Hoffs, Jules Shear and many other songwriters tell the stories behind the one song that most impacted their careers. Visit Bruce at brucepollockthewriter.com.

http://www.songfacts.com/blog/interviews/michael_bolton/

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