Easy-listening icon Bolton recounts his hard-won rise to fame and the spoils of success.
The author may seem to many like just another assembly-line creation engineered in a Los Angeles hair salon for crass overnight success. Say what you will about his critically reviled repertoire of Motown covers and schmaltzy original love ballads, Bolton took a long, hard road to success. His long career in the music business officially began on the streets of New Haven, Conn., when he was barely a teenager. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, he was a scruffy nomad hippie, plying his white blues–rock in various generic bands and on street corners and dives in places like New Haven and Greenwich Village. With no formal education to fall back on, Bolton had no other choice but to press on in the face of one failed record deal after another. But in the late ’80s, Bolton found some success singing jingles and writing pop songs for other artists. As it turns out, he overestimated what it took to make it big in the music business. One day, at the behest of his boss at CBS, Bolton recorded a cover of “Dock of the Bay.” Suddenly, he became a multi-platinum–selling pop star and worldwide soccer-mom heartthrob. Unfortunately, once Bolton writes about the successful part of his career, after recounting 18 or so years of interesting futility, there’s not much drama left. The latter half of the book finds Bolton simply reeling off the predictable cavalcade of celebrities he counts among his friends. Even the most rabid Bolton fan probably isn’t aching to know what it's like to play golf with Clint Eastwood or about the talents of Bolton's charity softball team.
An intermittently compelling memoir of music-biz perseverance that eventually lapses into worthless celebrity worship.