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 Maintain 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 house in Arlington, Texas, his publicist Jeremy Westby stated in a press release.
A Hugo, Oklahoma-native who grew up in Houston, Billy Joe Thomas broke via 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 Received’t You Play) One other Any person Achieved Any person Mistaken Music.” The identical yr, his “House The place I Belong” grew to become one of many first gospel albums to be licensed platinum for promoting greater than 1 million copies.
His signature recording was “Raindrops Maintain Fallin’ On My Head,” a No. 1 pop hit and an Oscar winner for finest authentic tune as a part of the soundtrack to one of many greatest motion pictures 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) exhibits 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 monitor 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 important — how did the tune match with the movie? There was no rain,” Redford instructed USA Right now 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 dependancy to drugs and alcohol which dated again to his teenagers, when a report producer in Houston advised he take amphetamines to maintain his vitality up. He was touring and recording consistently and taking dozens of drugs a day. By 1976, whereas ″(Hey Received’t You Play) One other Any person Achieved Any person Mistaken Music” was hitting No. 1, he felt like he was “#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-Seventies, however he continued to attain on the nation charts with such No. 1 songs as “No matter Occurred to Previous-Common Love” and “New Appears to be like from an Previous Lover.” Within the late Seventies and early ’80s, he was additionally a high gospel and inspirational singer, profitable two Dove awards and 5 Grammys, together with a Grammy in 1979 for finest gospel efficiency for “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Followers of the Eighties sitcom “Rising Pains” 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 typically. Latest recordings included “Residing Room Music,” that includes cameos from Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and Richard Marx. He had deliberate to report in 2020 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, however the classes 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” non secular 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 a neighborhood rock band, the Triumphs, whom he would stick with into his 20s. He loved Ernest Tubbs, Hank Williams and different nation performers his mother and father appreciated, 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 Cherished” Thomas later lined and adopted as a form of information to his life.
“I used to be raised in a reasonably dysfunctional state of affairs and I went via years of intense alcoholism and drug dependancy so the tune was all the time a touchstone for me. If you open your self as much as medicine and alcohol at such a younger age it turns into one thing you need to take care of the remainder of your life,” he instructed the Huffington Publish in 2014.
“What a street block and heartbreak and instances of failure these addictions have brought on 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 all the time been an vital a part of my feelings.”
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