BJ Thomas

B.J. Thomas has one of the most distinctive voices in American pop music — a reassuringly masculine timbre conveyed with a smattering of unique embellishments that represent a distillation of the most influential genres in pop culture. Nothing about the identifiable sound of B.J.’s voice has changed, but there’s a re-energized commitment behind it.

Indeed, many of B.J.’s signature hits—the Oscar-winning “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” the million-selling “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” and his career-igniting cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” — invariably find the plots’ protagonists employing some level of positivity to overcome the universal battle with loneliness.

Continuing his supportive inclinations, a series of positive-themed discs were embraced by the gospel community, giving him the first four platinum albums in gospel history. A brief-but-successful foray into country music — dotted by “Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love,” and “New Looks From An Old Lover,” written by his wife, Gloria, Red Lane and Latham Hudson — emphasized classic family ideals and commitment, as did the still-familiar theme to “Growing Pains, As Long As We Got Each Other,” sung on the tube with Jennifer Warnes.

His lyrics aren’t just words to B.J. THOMAS. He’s lived out his musical ideals, turning down career opportunities for years when he thought they might interfere with the home life he established in the Dallas area with Gloria and their three daughters: Paige, Nora and Erin.

“We weren’t really silent,” he observes, “but we weren’t really chasing the prize, so to speak.”

But an interesting confluence of events helped to recharge B.J.’s career commitment. The girls grew up and left home. The surprise emergence of Raindrops in a key scene in Spider-Man 2 underscored his continued place as an identifiable cultural touchstone. And he discovered through technology just how deep and loyal his fans’ commitment runs.

“One of the real catalysts behind this is I did an interview with an online disc jockey,” B.J. explains. “He interviewed me and then put some music together for a one-hour package that could be accessed on the Internet, and he had 3.5 million downloads in three days. So we said, ‘Hey, our people are sitting right there. We just gotta figure out a way to reach them.’”

The Best Of, a release that synthesizes the wide-ranging styles that have influenced his career, digs into Allen Toussaint’s New Orleans-flavored “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues),” and features a Dobie Gray-penned ballad, “Stranger in the Mirror,” which finds B.J. in movingly sensitive form.

In a sign of real synchronicity, B.J. was also approached to do his first acting role since the 1973 movie Jory, which introduced Robby Benson. JAKE’S CORNER writer-director Jeff Santo had developed the script with B.J.’s Rock And Roll Lullaby as sonic inspiration. B.J. re-cut the song for the picture, and ended up on screen, a marked change after resisting that line of work.

“Gloria and I actually sat down after I finished Jory, and she wanted to know if I wanted to pursue being an actor,” he notes. “At that time, I was on the road almost 300 days a year. The music was very successful, and both of us kind of agreed that movies would take too much time—that I would just pay attention to my music.”

The JAKE’S CORNER soundtrack represented a bit of a reunion for B.J., given that the music was written by Steve Dorff, who also composed the Growing Pains theme.

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Learn More About BJ Thomas

More About BJ Thomas

BJ Thomas was an American country music singer and songwriter who rose to fame in the 1960s and 1970s. Born on August 7, 1942, in Hugo, Oklahoma, he grew up in Texas and began singing in church as a child. He later formed a band and began performing in clubs and honky-tonks in the Houston area.

In 1966, Thomas signed with Scepter Records and released his first hit single, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” a cover of the Hank Williams classic. The song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and launched Thomas’s career as a country music artist.

Over the next several years, Thomas had a string of hits, including “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby.” He also won several Grammy Awards for his music, including Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male, in 1970 for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.”

Thomas was known for his smooth voice and his ability to blend country, pop, and rock music styles. He had a talent for choosing songs that resonated with audiences and had a gift for interpreting lyrics in a way that made them come alive.

In addition to his successful music career, Thomas was also a committed Christian and recorded several gospel albums over the years. He was open about his faith and often spoke about the role it played in his life and his music.

Sadly, BJ Thomas passed away on May 29, 2021, at the age of 78 after a battle with lung cancer. He will be remembered as a talented musician and songwriter who made a lasting impact on the country music genre.

How many number 1 hits did BJ Thomas have?

BJ Thomas had a total of 3 number 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1970), “Hooked on a Feeling” (1969), and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (1975).

When did BJ Thomas pass away?

BJ Thomas passed away on May 29, 2021, at his home in Arlington, Texas, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 78 years old at the time of his death. Thomas had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in March 2021, and his health had been declining in the months leading up to his death.

Thomas’s death was met with an outpouring of grief and tributes from fans, fellow musicians, and industry insiders. Many remembered him as a gifted artist who brought joy to millions of people with his music. Thomas’s impact on the country music genre was profound, and his songs continue to be loved and remembered by fans around the world.

Despite his passing, BJ Thomas’s legacy lives on through his music, which continues to inspire and touch the hearts of people of all ages. He will always be remembered as a talented musician, a devoted Christian, and a beloved figure in the world of country music.

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