Love Is a Wonderful Thing (Michael Bolton song)

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"Love Is a Wonderful Thing"
Michael Bolton - Love Is a Wonderful Thing single cover.jpg
Single by Michael Bolton
from the album Time, Love & Tenderness
Released 1991
Length 4:42
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Michael Bolton
Andrew Goldmark
Producer(s) Walter Afanasieff

"Love Is a Wonderful Thing" is a song recorded by American pop music singer Michael Bolton. The writing credit went to Bolton and Andrew Goldmark, and it was produced by Walter Afanasieff. The song, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was included on Bolton's 1991 album Time, Love & Tenderness, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart and sold 16 million copies worldwide.[1]

The American R&B group The Isley Brothers wrote a song titled "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" and recorded it for United Artists Records in January 1964. The song was released as a single on a 45 rpm vinyl record on United Artists' Veep label in June 1966, and it reached #110 on Billboard's Bubbling Under The Hot 100 Singles chart. The song wasn't included on an album until it appeared on The Isley Brothers - The Complete UA Sessions, which was released in 1991.

On February 24, 1992, The Isley Brothers filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Bolton, Goldmark and Sony Music Publishing. "When I first heard his version of the song on the radio, I was really pleased," said Ronald Isley. "Then I went out to pick up the record and looked for my credit. I was upset because the credits weren't on there. So we got in touch with his people and then he went into the 'Oh, I didn't know you all had a song like this.' That type of thing."[2]

Bolton claimed he had never heard the Isley Brothers' version. "The song is an original song," said Louis Levin, Bolton's manager. "We view the claim to be without merit and are vigorously defending the matter."[3]

On April 25, 1994, a Los Angeles jury ruled in favor of the Isley Brothers.[4] The jury determined there were five instances in which the Bolton/Goldmark song plagiarized the Isleys' tune. They ruled that 66 percent of the song's profits came from copyright-infringed material and 28 percent of the profits from the album Time, Love & Tenderness were derived from the track. Bolton, Goldmark and Sony Publishing were ordered to turn over more than $5 million in profits from the sales of Bolton's version of the song to the Isley Brothers. It was the largest award in history for plagiarism in the music industry.[5]

Opinions on the verdict were divided. Some, such as Rolling Stone contributor Havelock Nelson, agreed with the jury. "Bolton’s song does bear a slight similarity to the Isleys’—enough to call it a knockoff," Nelson said. "Both titles have a bright, gospelly feel and a similar, repeated hook line." Others, like Michael Walsh of Time, disagreed with the ruling. "The verdict’s an utter travesty rendered by unmusical jurors," Walsh stated. "Aside from the fact that they have the same title, and the melody begins on the third note of the scale, the two songs bear no resemblance in any significant musical way."[6]

Bolton, Goldmark and Sony appealed the verdict, and the court fight continued for nearly seven more years. The case came to a close on January 22, 2001, when the Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear the appeal of a May 2000 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals in San Francisco.

Bolton's attorneys, including Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz, had asked the Supreme Court to reject the findings, arguing a national standard should be created to help guide artists and the courts as to what classifies as copyright infringement. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) agreed, and filed a brief with the Supreme Court supporting Bolton in his appeal.[7]

Under the Ninth Circuit ruling, the Isleys were to be paid $4.2 million from Sony Music; $932,924 from Bolton; $220,785 from Goldmark; and the balance from Bolton and Goldmark's music publishing company.[8]

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Dominic Sena and shot in Phoenix, Arizona.[9]


The song was used in the credits of the 2010 film MacGruber.[10]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1991 Australian Singles Chart 25
1991 Canadian Singles Chart 2
1991 German Singles Chart 40
1991 Irish Singles Chart 23
1991 Dutch Singles Chart 44
1991 New Zealand Singles Chart 12
1991 Swedish Singles Chart 16
1991 UK Singles Chart 23
1991 US Singles Chart 4
1991 US AC Singles Chart 1
Top 100 Hits for 1991 Position
US Singles Chart[11] 49


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Baby Baby" by Amy Grant
"I Don't Wanna Cry" by Mariah Carey
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single
May 25, 1991 – June 1, 1991
June 15, 1991 – June 22, 1991
Succeeded by
"I Don't Wanna Cry" by Mariah Carey
"Rush Rush" by Paula Abdul