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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Bolton, Michael - 1983 Michael Bolton
Bolton, Michael - 1983 Michael Bolton

ARTIST: Bolton, Michael
ALBUM: Michael Bolton
SERIAL: BFC 38537-1
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1988, Columbia, CK 38537 * 1990, Columbia, 466742 2


LINEUP: Michael Bolton - vocals, guitars

Guitars: Bob Kulick, Craig Brooks, Bruce Kulick, Scott Zito * Keyboards, pianos, synthesizers - Mark Mangold, Scott Zito, Jan Mullaney, Aldo Nova, George Clinton, Doug Katsaros * Bass - Mark Clarke, Scott Zito * Drums - Chuck Burgi, Michael Braun

TRACK LISTING: 01 Fools Game * 02 She Did The Same Thing * 03 Hometown Hero * 04 Can't Hold On, Can't Let Go * 05 Fighting For My Life * 06 Paradise * 07 Back In My Arms Again * 08 Carrie * 09 I Almost Believed You


Following the failure of Blackjack's two albums ('Blackjack' - 1979 and 'World's Apart' - 1980), Michael Bolton decided to resurrect his career by recording his first solo album since 1976's 'Everyday Of My Life'. Since Blackjack had taken a melodic turn unlike his earlier albums, Bolton continued on in this direction and enlisted a crack assortment of AOR veterans. Among them were members of Balance (Bob Kulick, Burgi and Katsaros), as well as heavyweights Aldo Nova and Mark Mangold (Touch). Easily, Bolton has created an AOR masterpiece, though with the talent on board that should have been expected. I recall the first time I heard this album. Derek Oliver had praised it in his Encyclopedia, so I gave it a spin before I bought it. Once I heard the intro to 'She Did The Same Thing' I broke all speed limits to get home and hear it all. I didn't emerge from my room for weeks. This is the album which sold me on AOR. Ignoring the cover of 'Back In My Arms Again', every song is perfectly crafted. Bolton had a hand in writing all of the songs, four of them just on his own.

The Songs
'Fools Game' is a tremendous opener, very breezy with great synths from Mangold who co-wrote the song. Bolton displays his skill on guitar with a catchy solo, proof there is no end to the mans talent. Mullaney's synth work on 'She Did The Same Thing' gives that extra bit of atmosphere to the track. The lyrics on 'Hometown Hero'' are similar to that of the HSAS track 'My Hometown' from the same year, but musically this one shades it, even if Schon's solo goes for broke. Aldo Nova adds synths to 'Can't Hold On, Can't Let Go'. There are some great riffs and synth tradeoffs here with Bruce Kulick adding the solo. 'Fighting For My Life' is as tough as it sounds. The main riff is brutish in delivery, the track being hard rock more than AOR. Bolton's detractors may want to catch a piece of this the next time they slag him off. The guy really sounds as if he is doing what the title says! Tough vocal style indeed. 'Paradise' and 'Carrie' continue the class, vintage 80's harmonies in both. This particular 'Carrie' upstaging Franke And The Knockouts 'Carrie Why' by a longshot! The album ends on a dramatic note with the ballad 'I Almost Believed You', Bolton's amazing voice hitting all the notes at the climax. As soon as the album ends you will be pushing the play button again.

In Summary
The importance of 'Michael Bolton' cannot be understated, if only for myself. I've heard a thousand AOR albums since, but for definitive AOR, this debut plus 1985's 'Everybody's Crazy', are the benchmarks for the genre. Simply my opinion. The man got it right. He knew a good chorus and built great songs around them, using the best session musicians. Sure Bolton veered off course around 1989, but what did he have left to prove? 'Michael Bolton' itself would have been enough to cement his legend. That's how good it is.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 04 2005 09:00:00
YouTube Video:
#2 | sabace on March 03 2008 14:43:07
great lp, I prefer the production on this to everybodys crazy also its cool that both Kulick brothers play on it .
#3 | rostoned on April 23 2008 09:02:02
'Fools Game' charted low on the US Billboard HOT 100: it only went to #82. This was his only chart entry till 1987. It did fairly well in the Mainstream Rock chart instead peaking at #27 during a 8 week run.
#4 | Jez on June 13 2008 08:41:26
This one for me is virtually on par with 'Everybody's Crazy'& was my first introduction to Sir Michael all those years ago. Some brill tunes on here 'Fools Game' 'She Did The Same Thing' 'Hometown Hero' 'Can't Hold On' the list goes on with only the ballad 'I Almost Believed' being the average track. A Monster Line up of musos aswell -Aldo Nova, some of the Touch boys, half of Balance, Mark Clarke, Scott Zito. In one word heaven.
#5 | rostoned on August 10 2008 21:48:46
Believe it or not this album has actually been certified GOLD in the States for more than 500.000 copies sold! Talk about an obscure release...
I am pretty sure that while it didn't reach that status at the time of release (it peaked just at #89 during a 13 week run), this happened later during Bolton's mega stardom in the late 80s/early 90s.
#6 | richardb on November 29 2008 20:53:40
Great song shame about the dodgy looking women in the video though!

Richard B
#7 | sir lord baltimore on April 23 2009 11:42:52
Pure AOR. Fools Game guitarkeyboards
#8 | guitarheroandy on April 23 2009 21:37:26
Genre-defining and utterly brilliant! Fool's game is one of the best AOR tracks ever! Gotta love that keyboard hook and the killer chorus...
#9 | jeffrey343 on September 14 2010 18:05:51
I got my hands on this back in '83 once I saw the video for "Fool's Game" on MTV. I played it a bunch in my car for several years. Definitely a great album that still holds up well, and clearly my favorite of all his releases. "She Did The Same Thing" is one of the all-time great AOR tunes, even if it not one of the well-known ones. I do think his voice is better suited to the direction he started heading on the third album, but it still works quite well on this material.
#10 | super80boy on March 26 2017 20:43:39
Bolton's big emotive vocal work added lots of strength to this first-rate effort. Tailor made arena rock with FM radio friendliness. 'Fighting For My Life' is a supreme rocker.
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