Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton emerged in the mid-'80s as a major soft rock balladeer. 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. Bolton's achievements include selling more than 75 million records, recording eight top 10 albums and two number-one singles on the Billboard charts, as well as winning multiple American Music Awards and Grammy Awards.
In the mid- to late '70s, Michael Henderson had a reputation for being a quiet storm-oriented singer. R&B fans associated him primarily with romantic material, whether it was with Norman Connors ("Valentine Love," "You Are My Starship," "We Both Need Each Other") or on his own ("At the Concert," "Take Me, I'm Yours," "Be My Girl," "In the Night-Time"). But the success of the quirky "Wide Receiver" in 1980 reminded Henderson's admirers that he was also quite capable of delivering an aggressive funk jam. Nonetheless, romantic soul ballads and slow jams remained a high priority for him, and they dominate 1981's Slingshot (which was originally released on vinyl LP by Buddah before being reissued on CD by The Right Stuff in 1995 and Funky Town Grooves in 2011).
Although the cover art might suggest that this compiles, features, or in some way includes material from Michael Nesmith's four-year (1966-1970) tenure as a Monkee, this isn't the case at all. Additionally confusing matters is that the same 25 tracks on this collection are replicated – right down to the exact running order – on the unimaginatively titled Best Of: Original Hits. Regardless, the contents of both have been culled from Nesmith's first half-dozen post-Monkees long-players. The tune stack is well represented by the First National Band LPs Magnetic South (1970), Loose Salute (1970), and Nevada Fighter (1971) – plus, to a much lesser extent, Tantamount to Treason (1972), And the Hits Just Keep on Comin' (1972), as well as Pretty Much Your Standard Ranch Stash (1973). Nesmith's penchant for penning quirky country & western-flavored pop songs can be directly traced back to his Monkees material, such as "St. Matthew," "Good Clean Fun," and "Magnolia Simms." During this period he was also woodshedding material for future endeavors.
The U.K. collection The Very Best of Michael Bolton – initially released in 2005, repackaged as a slide pack in 2007 – is a good overview of the singer's peak years, containing all the big hits except "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" (only natural, considering the lawsuit surrounding the song) in a 17-track compilation that should give most listeners all the Bolton they need.