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Michael Bolton

Michael Bolton dominated the adult contemporary airwaves during the late '80s and early '90s, racking up a series of number one AC hits that also peaked in the upper reaches of the Hot 100. A former hard rock singer, Bolton refashioned himself as a blue-eyed soul singer, reviving such '60s R&B standards as Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman," and having success with his covers. Despite his evident debt to the past, Bolton was thoroughly a man of his moment, relying on his barrel-chested vocals and airbrushed productions -- a combination that defined the soft rock of the George H.W. Bush era. During that time, Bolton was so omnipresent, he became a recurring punchline -- most memorably, an aggrieved employee in Mike Judge's 1999 comedy Office Space shared his name. While the singer eventually leaned into these jokes, happily duetting with millennial pranksters the Lonely Island on 2011's "Jack Sparrow," he never quite left his signature polished soft-soul behind. The hit singles slowed down in the late '90s, but he continued to successfully tour and record into the 2010s, scoring the occasional hit album, such as 2006's Bolton Swings Sinatra and 2013's Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A. Originally, he recorded under his real name, Michael Bolotin, turning up on RCA Records in the mid-'70s singing cover tunes and his own blue-eyed soul songs in a voice reminiscent of Joe Cocker. He then became the lead singer of Blackjack, a heavy metal band that made two albums for Polydor before splitting up in the early '80s. Looking to relaunch his career, he changed his name to Michael Bolton and signed to Columbia Records as a solo artist in 1983.