Best known for his chart-topping power-pop ballads of the 1990s, including “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You,” “Said I Loved You…But I Lied,” and his soulful take on the 1966 Percy Sledge classic “When A Man Loves a Woman,” Michael Bolton has crisscrossed genres throughout his nearly 50-year career, from his earlier days in metal band Blackjack in the late ’70s to joining Luciano Pavarotti for a rendition of “Vesti La Giubba,” then co-writing Kanye West’s The College Dropout single “Never Let Me Down.”
Before he became a pop ballad superstar, Bolton shifted into writing for other artists through the 1980s and ‘90s, penning songs for Kenny Rogers, Gregg Allman, Barbara Streisand, Cher, and Kiss and has collaborated with artists, songwriters, and producers, including Diane Warren, Desmond Child, Lady Gaga, Ne Yo, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, John “Mutt” Lange.
A diverse songwriter, Bolton was one of very few artists to co-write a song with Bob Dylan, resulting in the pop-rocker “Steel Bars” off Bolton’s seventh album Time, Love and Tenderness in 1991, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200.
As a songwriter, Bolton has earned more than 24 BMI and ASCAP Awards, including Songwriter of the Year, and was also honored with the Hitmakers Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Bolton won two Grammy Awards and has sold more than 53 million albums and singles throughout his career. Most recently, Bolton appeared on the new singing competition American Song Contest to premiere his latest original song “Beautiful World.”
American Songwriter took a look at eight key songs Bolton had a hand in writing for other artists over the past 40 years.
“By the Time This Night is Over” / Kenny G & Peabo Bryson (1992)
Written by Michael Bolton, Diane Warren, Andy Goldmark
“Never Let Me Down” / Kanye West, featuring Jay-Z and J. Ivy (2004)
Written by Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), Kanye West, Michael Bolton, Bruce Kulick, James Richardson
“We’re Not Makin’ Love Anymore” / Barbara Streisand (1989)
Written by Michael Bolton and Diane Warren
“Just the Thought of Losing You” / Kenny Rogers (1986)
Written by Michael Bolton and Jonathan Cain
“Can’t Keep Running” / The Gregg Allman Band (1987)
Written by Michael Bolton and Martin Steven Briley
“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” / Laura Branigan (1983)
Written by Michael Bolton and James Doug
“Forever” / KISS (1993)
Written by Michael Bolton and Paul Stanley
“I Found Someone” / Cher (1987)
Written Michael Bolton and Mark Mangold
Photo: Trae Patton/NBC