How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 3 weeks) & Adult Contemporary (#1 for 2 weeks); 1990

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Young Michael Bolotin of New Haven, CT started blowing on the saxophone at age eight, and wrote his first song five years later. At 15 he waxed his first 45 for Epic Records, Bah Bah Bah, billed as Joy.

Under his real name, Michael released a couple of solo albums in the 1970’s and two as the lead singer of hard rockers Blackjack. Over the next decade, Bolton – as he was now known – established his song writing credentials, working on hits for Laura Branigan (How Am I Supposed To Live Without You: #12 Pop & #1 Adult Contemporary; 1983), Cher (I Found Someone: #8; 1988), and Kiss (Forever: #8; 1990).

His years of hard work finally paid off when he reached #11 with a revival of Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay in 1988. Two years later his own take on How Am I Supposed To Live Without You took Michael to #1 pop and adult contemporary, and earned him a Best Pop Male Vocalist Grammy.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Jack White

Lyrics Written by:

  • Michael Bolton
  • Doug James


  • “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” won the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy Award in 1990