B.J. Thomas, the Grammy-winning singer who loved success on the pop, nation and gospel charts with such hits as “I Simply Can’t Assist Believing,” “Raindrops Hold Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” has died. He was 78.
Thomas, who introduced in March that he had been identified with lung most cancers, died from issues of the illness Saturday at his dwelling in Arlington, Texas, an announcement launched by his representatives stated.
A Hugo, Oklahoma-native who grew up in Houston, Billy Joe Thomas broke by means of in 1966 with a gospel-styled cowl of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I May Cry” and went on to promote tens of millions of information and have dozens of hits throughout genres. He reached No. 1 with pop, grownup modern and nation listeners in 1976 with ″(Hey Gained’t You Play) One other Any person Carried out Any person Mistaken Tune.” The identical 12 months, his “House The place I Belong” turned one of many first gospel albums to be licensed platinum for promoting greater than 1 million copies.
His signature recording was “Raindrops Hold Fallin’ On My Head,” a No. 1 pop hit and an Oscar winner for greatest authentic tune as a part of the soundtrack to one of many greatest films of 1969, the irreverent Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Child.” Thomas wasn’t the primary option to carry out the whimsical ballad composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Ray Stevens turned the songwriters down. However his heat, soulful tenor match the tune’s easygoing temper, immortalized on movie throughout the scene when Butch (Paul Newman) reveals off his new bicycle to Etta Place (Katharine Ross), the girlfriend of the Sundance Child (Robert Redford).
“Raindrops” has since been heard all over the place from “The Simpsons” to “Forrest Gump” and was voted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame in 2013. However, at first, not everybody was glad. Thomas was recovering from laryngitis whereas recording the soundtrack model and his vocals are raspier than for the observe launched by itself. Redford, in the meantime, doubted the tune even belonged in “Butch Cassidy.”
“When the movie was launched, I used to be extremely crucial — how did the tune match with the movie? There was no rain,” Redford advised USA Right this moment in 2019. “On the time, it appeared like a dumb thought. How unsuitable I used to be.”
Thomas would later say the phenomenon of “Raindrops” exacerbated an habit to capsules and alcohol which dated again to his teenagers, when a document producer in Houston urged he take amphetamines to maintain his vitality up. He was touring and recording continuously and taking dozens of capsules a day. By 1976, whereas ″(Hey Gained’t You Play) One other Any person Carried out Any person Mistaken Tune” was hitting No. 1, he felt like he was “no 1,000.”
“I used to be on the backside with my addictions and my issues,” he stated in 2020 on “The Debby Campbell Goodtime Present.” He cited a “religious awakening,” shared together with his spouse, Gloria Richardson, with serving to him to get clear.
Thomas had few pop hits after the mid-Nineteen Seventies, however he continued to attain on the nation charts with such No. 1 songs as “No matter Occurred to Outdated-Common Love” and “New Appears to be like from an Outdated Lover.” Within the late Nineteen Seventies and early ’80s, he was additionally a prime gospel and inspirational singer, successful two Dove awards and 5 Grammys, together with a Grammy in 1979 for greatest gospel efficiency for “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Followers of the Eighties sitcom “The Information of Life” heard him because the singer of the present’s theme tune. He additionally acted in a handful of flicks, together with “Jory” and “Jake’s Nook” and toured usually. Latest recordings included “Dwelling Room Music,” that includes cameos from Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and Richard Marx. He had deliberate to document in 2020 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, however the periods have been delayed due to the pandemic.
Thomas married Richardson in 1968, and had three daughters: Paige, Nora and Erin. He and his spouse labored on the 1982 memoir “In Tune: Discovering How Good Life Can Be.” His e-book “House The place I Belong” got here out in 1978 and was co-authored by Jerry B. Jenkins, later well-known for the million-selling “Left Behind” spiritual novels written with Tim LaHaye.
Apart from music, Thomas cherished baseball as a child and began calling himself B.J. as a result of so many Little League teammates additionally have been named Billy Joe. By his teenagers, he was singing in church and had joined an area rock band, the Triumphs, whom he would stick with into his 20s. He loved Ernest Tubbs, Hank Williams and different nation performers his dad and mom favored, however on his personal he was impressed by the soul and rhythm and blues singers he heard on the radio or noticed on stage, notably Jackie Wilson, whose hit ballad “To Be Liked” Thomas later coated and adopted as a sort of information to his life.
“I used to be raised in a reasonably dysfunctional state of affairs and I went by means of years of intense alcoholism and drug habit so the tune was at all times a touchstone for me. If you open your self as much as medication and alcohol at such a younger age it turns into one thing you need to take care of the remainder of your life,” he advised the Huffington Put up in 2014.
“What a highway block and heartbreak and occasions of failure these addictions have induced me. However I had that little piece of lightning from that tune. That’s the essence of the entire thing. To like and be cherished. And that takes a lifetime to perform. It’s at all times been an essential a part of my feelings.”
Hillel Italie, The Related Press