In the late ’80s and much of the ’90s, Michael Bolton showed that being a diva wasn’t just a woman’s game. The tenor, famous as much for his way around a ballad as he was for his flowing blond-streaked locks, turned soul classics into pop hits, having chart-topping success with takes on Otis Redding's ''(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay'' and Percy Sledge's ''When a Man Loves a Woman.'' Starting in the late ‘80s, Bolton unleashed a string of albums, many dominated by covers, that would sell well into the millions. In 1991, his take on “When a Man Loves a Woman” earned the singer a Grammy for best male pop vocal performance, and the same year his “Time, Love & Tenderness” topped the pop charts.
Bolton began his career as Michael Bolotin, having performed in hard rock bands in Connecticut before signing with Columbia Records and releasing a self-titled album in 1983. Tackling songs such as the Supremes’ “Back in My Arms Again,” Bolton initially presented himself as a rocker with a penchant for R&B. Bolton was made over into a master of the ballad on 1987’s “The Hunger,” but even tried his hand at opera with the release of 1998’s “My Secret Passion.”
Bolton soon returned to a more comfortable adult-pop sound, releasing a tribute album to Frank Sinatra in 2006, and singing ballads with the likes of Ne-Yo and Lady Gaga on his 2009 effort, “One World One Love.”
Though Bolton’s comfortably light pop songs are far from controversial, in 2001 he was involved in a major copyright infringement suit. R&B group the Isley Brothers were awarded a $7-million judgment against Bolton, when the Supreme Court upheld a federal appeals court ruling that Bolton's 1991 pop hit "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" infringed the Isleys' 1966 recording of the same name.