Friday, October 30, 2015

"Fools Game" by Michael Bolton

Song#:  1447
Date:  05/14/1983
Debut:  95
Peak:  82
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Yup. You read that genre correctly. The now famous AC crooner began life in music as a hard rocker. Under his given name of Bolotin, he issued two dud albums for RCA in '75 and '76. Then he became the lead singer of a band called Blackjack (which also included future Kiss member Bruce Kulick). Their 1979 self-titled debut garnered a lot of buzz, but with its first single "Love Me Tonight" only reaching #62, the album tanked, as did their 1980 follow-up "Worlds Apart." Back on his own, Bolotin became Bolton and he got another shot at a solo career with Columbia Records. His new self-titled album moved him more towards pop/arena rock and this lead single became his first Pop chart entry. Bolton's next LP failed to do any business, but his solo career would finally take off with his 1987 album "The Hunger."

ReduxReview:  I will state right now that I am not a Bolton fan. At all. I just dislike his voice. The biggest thing that irritates me is when he goes into higher notes, it sounds like someone is grabbing and pulling on his nuts. "Baby that's what" <tug on nuts> "luuuvvvvvvv" <stop tug> "is all about!" He just overdoes it, especially on the ballads. Listen to most any of his hits and you can tell when his balls are yanked. It's like nails on chalkboard to me. He's a talented guy who has penned some really good songs, but I just don't want him singing them. But now I know why he comes off like that. He's really a rock singer. Take a listen to songs from his Blackjack days or even this tune and it makes sense. He was meant to sing rock, not AC ballads or blue-eyed soul. I find his voice far more tolerable when he is singing rock. It's just a better fit. He sounds more open, freer, and less strained. I actually kind of like this Foreigner-ish track. It's not an awesome song, but it certainly should have done a bit better. I guess I should enjoy this version of Bolton while I can because it is all downhill from here.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) A story has been around for years that Bolton actually auditioned to become the lead singer of Black Sabbath. One version is that the band brought Bolton in as a possible replacement for Ozzy Osbourne after he left Black Sabbath in 1978. Another version is that Bolton tried out in 1983 after the departure of Ronnie James Dio. In an interview, Bolton denies he ever auditioned for the band. However, in Tommy Iommi's 2012 autobiography, he states that they did bring Bolton in to audition for the band after Dio had left.  2) After Bolton broke through, folks sought out his earlier recordings and found this self-titled album. It became a popular entry in his catalog and it was eventually certified gold in 1992.


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