Michael Bolton takes Saga Magazine's Grown-up Test

Paula Kerr / 29 April 2014

One time heavy-metal performer turned phenomenally successful power-ballad singer Michael Bolton, 61, talks trademark hairstyles, grandparenthood and those big birthdays. But how old does he really feel in his head?

Last time you danced?

On stage, just days ago. And I can never resist tapping my feet to music. It’s automatic.

First kiss?
When I was 10, with a girl called Dorian. I lost my virginity three years later.

Remember the lyrics of the first record you bought?
Runaway by Del Shannon . . . ‘I’m a walking in the rain, tears are falling’. I could sing you the whole song.

Favourite song in the charts now?
Anything by Rihanna.  She has something great going on with her voice.

What have you kept from childhood?
My psychological disposition.

What did your parents teach you?
Hmmm. How much fun marriage is? They divorced when I was very young.   

Hot women or hot meals?
Is that even a question?  Always hot women.

Biggest regret?
That my career happened while my three daughters were still very young but it wasn’t that straightforward.  I had to tour.  

Ever diet?
I’m 5ft 11in and stay around 12st. I diet when there’s a photo shoot for an album or before a tour.

Advice you’ve passed on?
I’ve always told my girls to follow their dreams. I want them to have it all.

What makes a house a home?
Memories. I’ve lived in my house for 23 years. It’s where I raised my family, but now I have an empty nest.  

What did turning 60 mean last year?
I’m in denial. My band threw a party and all was fine until they brought out the cake with 60 iced on it.  I didn’t like that number at all.  

Plastic surgery?
I haven’t so far. I won’t say never, but my relatives all look younger than they are.

What kind of grandpa are you?
I crawl on the carpet with my grandkids and make scary faces, while they pretend to scream and run away, then come back and scream again.

Most reckless act?
I wouldn’t share the top ten with you. I haven’t been reckless for a while, though there were whole reckless years. I’m from the Woodstock generation.

Fit or fit to flop?
I’ve always loved sports. I try to work out four days a week when I’m on the road and I play tennis.

Cup half full or half empty?
Half full, at the very least.

Greatest influence?
Ray Charles when I was a kid. Then Marvin Gaye.  Luciano Pavarotti woke me up about what I could do with my voice if I took care of it.

Miss the mullet?
I had no idea cutting off my long hair in 1997 would be such a big deal. I remember I was in London watching some serious news story when they interrupted with, ‘News just in – Michael Bolton cuts his hair’. It was hysterical. I was definitely insecure about it, I felt kind of naked.

Plan B?
I quite liked law. But I was so bitten by music. I signed my first deal at 16, so there wasn’t really a chance for anything else to vie for my attention.

A charitable soul?
I sold my hair for charity, but now I have hair growing out of my ears. I don’t know if it’s revenge or something.

Temptation you can't resist?
I have a very sweet tooth and I love pasta, pizza and icecream, but too much sweet dairy induces catarrh and affects my voice.

What makes you grumpy?
I don’t often get grumpy, but I used to. You can chip away and sculpt who you are and I’ve tried to do that.

Found inner peace?
I have, but I keep misplacing it.

Car of your dreams?
A Bentley Continental GT.  It’s a rocket on a cloud.

How old do you feel?
Most days 23.

Youth back or now?
I wouldn’t ever trade my life, though if I could go back in time and tweak my life a bit, I would.  

When were you happiest?
I hope that time is yet to come. I was happy when I was young, before success, before responsibility.

Aches and pains?

No, because I want to get rid of anything that restricts my sense of youth and movement. I see a chiropractor to avoid stiffness or pain anywhere.

Worst telling-off?
Probably during the break-up of one of my relationships.

Life’s two main lessons?
It’s a work in progress, but it’s to love. The second is that you can keep improving yourself, so don’t become complacent.  

Could you run a mile?
Yes. How fast depends on who’s chasing me.

Last time you laughed till you cried?
Not too long ago. My eyes were watering from laughing hard with friends.  I can’t even remember why.  It’s good to do that as much as possible.


Chopping off that mullet nearly two decades ago took years off you and you’ve remained in pretty good nick ever since. For that we put you at a sprightly 48.

Michael Bolton is touring the UK May 6 - 24, 2014. His new album, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, is released on May 5 (Sony). Visit www.michaelbolton.com for more info.

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