How Am I Supposed to Live Without You

Album: Soul Provider (1989)
Charted: 3 1

Songfacts®:

  • Co-written by Bolton with Doug James, this is in the style of the soul songs of the '60s and '70s that often lamented the loss of a lover (like "Since I Lost My Baby" by The Temptations). Bolton did very well covering various soul ballads from this era.
  • When Laura Branigan took this song to #12 in 1983, it marked Michael Bolton's first big hit as a songwriter. He was in the midst of a career transformation, having fronted the rock band Blackjack in 1979-1980 while still using his real name: Michael Bolotin. With Blackjack, he wrote the song "Love Me Tonight," which made #62 in 1979, but didn't crack the Hot 100 again until Branigan did "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You."

    Bolton would soon take matters into his own hands and become a soft rock superstar performing his own songs, but in the mid-'80s he was just trying to write some hits. He told Bruce Pollock around this time: "Right now I've got songs on about 12 or 13 albums. I have no idea whether they're gonna be sung well, whether they'll be produced well, whether any of them will even be singles. But I'm hoping for hits."

    Bolton released a self-titled solo album in 1983, the same year this song was a hit for Branigan, but it wasn't until his 1989 album Soul Provider, where he released his own version of this song, that his singing career took off.

    Bolton also co-wrote "I Found Someone," which topped out at #90 in 1986 for Branigan, but made #10 when Cher recorded it in 1988.
  • This was the second single from Soul Provider (the title song was the first, peaking at #17). I was also Bolton's first #1 hit. He had another with "When a Man Loves a Woman" in 1991.
  • This song was originally offered to Air Supply to record. The group wanted to do it, but Clive Davis (executive producer and then-owner of Arista Records) wanted the chorus modified and Bolton didn't want any part of the song changed. As a result, Air Supply put the song on "indefinite hold." While Bolton was waiting for Air Supply to record it, he received word that Laura Branigan taped it - not from sheet music (the usual method) but from his demo tape. Branigan's version hit #12 on the Hot 100 and #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary music chart.
  • This won the 1989 Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

Comments: 11

  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxAmen, Karen. Branigan sounds angry and heartbroken, which is appropriate for the lyrics. Bolton conveys little emotion.
  • Karen from Manchester, NhLaura Brannigan's version is at least 100x better than Bolton's! Not all songwriters should sing.
  • Jane from Austin, Tx"I dont want to sound like such a loser.... but it was played when Zack and Kelly broke up in "Saved By The Bell""

    don't worry. you're in good company. that is how i associate this song too.
  • Jeff from Austin, Txbolton = receding hairline mullett
  • Sara from Traverse City, MiThis song makes me depressed.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlThis song is about drug addiction. MB was trippin when he whined the lyrics.
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaMy favorite song of his is "That's What Love Is All About". The lyrics speak volumes.
  • Allan from Calgary, CanadaIndeed this was the song played when Zack and Kelly broke up, although it was another group performing it, while the "Zack Attack" (minus Zack) lip-sync'd along.
  • Paul from Galway, IrelandI dont want to sound like such a loser.... but it was played when Zack and Kelly broke up in "Saved By The Bell"
  • Steve from St. Louis, MoMB used to be a rocker. He had an album out, "Fools Game" in late '82, early '83 that had a couple of pretty good tunes. The title track and "She did the same thing". He also used to open up for some heavy metal acts too. I don't know why he went a different direction.
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesBecame Michael's first UK hit in 1990, following several earlier successes in America. Michael had two other Top 10 hits in Britain - "How Can We Be Lovers?" - also in 1990 - and "Can I Touch You... There?" in 1995.
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