Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton [1983]

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The former Michael Bolotin changed his name but not his style on his initial effort for Columbia Records. Bolton had essayed hard-edged arena rock with his band Blackjack, and here he did much the same thing, shout-singing in his emotive whiskey bellow over slashing guitar power chords (frequently courtesy of Blackjack's Bruce Kulick and his brother Bob), icy keyboard fills, angelic backup choirs, and thundering rhythm sections, all intended to fill the hockey auditoriums of America alongside Journey and Foreigner. For all the clich├ęs, Bolton was an undeniably involving singer, and songs like "Fools Game," the lead-off track and chart single, were satisfying pop efforts that suggested he might offer some competition to emerging mainstream rockers like Bryan Adams. As things would turn out, of course, the true key track was the cover of the Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again."

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