BJ Thomas dies at 78 – Cleveland, Ohio

(AP) – “Can’t Help But Believe”, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’On My Head” and “Hooked on Feeling” are dead. He was 78 years old.

Thomas, who announced he was diagnosed with lung cancer in March, died at his Arlington home on Saturday from a complication of the disease. Texas, spokesperson Jeremy Westby said in a statement.

Born in Hugo, Oklahoma and raised in Houston, Billy Joe Thomas took a big hiatus in 1966 with a gospel-style cover of Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Kud Cry, then Hundreds. He sold 10,000 records and dozens of records. A hit song that transcends genres. He placed first among pop, contemporary adult and country listeners in 1976 with “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song”. That same year, his “Home Where I Belong” became one of the first gospel albums to sell over a million copies.

His masterpiece is Raindrops Keep Fallin, which is the number one soundtrack to one of 1969’s greatest films, the irreverent Western drama Butch Cassidy. Won the award for best original song for pop hits and the Oscars. Sundance Kid. Thomas was not the first contestant to play a fanciful ballad composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Ray Stevens turned down the composer. But her warm and moving tenor fits into the song’s laid-back vibe, Butch (Paul Newman) being the girlfriend of Sundance Kid (Robert Redford), Etta Place (Catherine Catherine). It has become a timeless masterpiece in the scene of showing Ross a new bike).

Since then, “Raindrops” has been heard everywhere from “The Simpsons” to “Forrest Gump” and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013. But not everyone was happy at first. Thomas is recovering from laryngitis while recording the soundtrack version, and his vocals are more shocking than the songs released on their own. Redford, meanwhile, even suspected that the song belonged to “Butch Cassidy”.

“I was very critical when the film came out. How does the song fit into the movie? It didn’t rain, ”Redford told USA Today in 2019. I was wrong. “

Thomas later said that when a Houston record producer offered to take amphetamines to maintain his energy, the “raindrop” phenomenon exacerbated his teenage pill and his alcohol addiction. I go. He was constantly spinning and recording, taking dozens of pills a day. In 1976, “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” won first place, when it felt like “1000th place”.

THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW – Air date: December 16, 1970. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archive / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) BJ THOMAS

At the Debbie Campbell Goodtime Show 2020, he said, “I was deep in my addiction and my problems.” He cited “spiritual awakening” which he shared with his wife Gloria Richardson. I helped him clean up.

There has been little pop success since the mid-1970s, but it has continued to feature in the country charts with hits such as “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love” and “New Look from an Old Lover.” From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, he was also a leading gospel and inspiration singer, winning two Dove Awards and five Grammy Awards.

Fans of the 1980s sitcom “Growth Pain” have heard that he was the lead singer for the show’s theme song. He has also appeared in several films such as “Jolly” and “Jakes Corner” and has toured often. Recent recordings include “Living Room Music” with cameos by Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and Richard Marx. He planned to record in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 2020, but the session was delayed due to a pandemic.

Thomas married Richardson in 1968 and had three daughters, Page, Nora and Erin. He and his wife worked on the 1982 memoir “In Tune: Finding How Good Life Can Be”. His book “Home Where I Belong” was published in 1978, co-authored with Jerry B. Jenkins, and is famous for becoming a million sellers in the religious novel “Left Behind” later written by Tim LaHaye.

Besides music, Thomas has loved baseball from a young age, and a lot of his Little League teammates were called Billie Joe, so he started calling himself BJ. As a teenager he sang in church and joined local rock band Triumphs. He loved Ernest Tabs, Hank Williams, and other country artists his parents loved, but he was a soul and rhythm and blues singer himself who listened to the radio and saw live on stage. Mostly inspired by Jackie Wilson on the hit ballad “To Be”. “Beloved” Thomas was later covered up and adopted as a kind of guide in his life.

“I grew up pretty dysfunctional and had years of severe alcoholism and drug addiction, so this song has always been a touchstone for me. Open my heart to drugs and alcohol when I was so young. Then you have to face the rest of your life, ”he told The Huffington Post in 2014.

“The obstacles, the broken hearts and the failures that these addictions have brought to me. But I got this little flash of this song. This is the essence of the whole. Loved and loved. And achieve it. It will take a lifetime. It has always been an important part of my emotions. “

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