Grammy Award-winning singer BJ Thomas who hit pop, country and gospel charts with songs like Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head and Hooked on a Feeling, has passed away at the age of 78.
A statement issued by his actors Jeremy Westby and Scott Sexton confirmed that the famous singer died after complications from lung cancer at his home in Arlington, Texas on May 29. His official Twitter account also confirmed the news.
Thomas was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in March and was receiving treatment in Texas at the time of his death.
Tragic Death: Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head, singer BJ Thomas has passed away at the age of 78 after complications from lung cancer. Pictured 2014
Thomas’ official Twitter account confirmed his death. “It is with deep sadness that we confirm the death of PJ Thomas,” the post reads.
Before revealing any news of his cancer diagnosis, he was asked in a radio interview in Washington, DC WTOP Radio last September how he would like people to remember him.
‘I hope they think of me as someone who truly believed in what he was singing. It’s all about spirit and passion for me, so I tried to put that in. I just tried to record the things that I really believe in and that I really feel. I just hope that a good father, a good husband remember me, and that music will take care of him [itself]”.
BJ – born Billy Joe – was a native of Hugo, Oklahoma who grew up in Houston, Texas. As a child he loved baseball, and he started calling himself “BJ” because many of his Little League teammates were also called Billy Joe.
His love for music started at an early age. In his teens, he used to sing in church and joined the local rock band called The Triumphs with which he played in his twenties.
His official Twitter account released a statement on May 29 stating: “ It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of BJ Thomas. ”
“My father loved country music,” Thomas told WTOP. I grew up with the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, but when I was about 12 or 13, I fell in love with Jackie Wilson and Bobby Bland. I was a huge R&B enthusiast … I always loved music. They tell me that I sang even as a child. I’ve always loved music, sung around, sang at church.
He rose to fame with his 1966 evangelistic cover entitled “I’m So Lonely I Can Cry” by Hank Williams, he went on to sell millions of recordings and has dozens of hit songs across genres.
In the interview, he said that although it never set out to spread across species, it was a product of its environment. I have never tried to make any kind of music in every genre. I was naturally a product of the top 40 broadcasters, as they all ran everything on the same station. This is how I approached the music.
Thomas reached number one in 1976 with “(Hey Wn’t You Play) Other Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song”, and in the same year his song “Home Where I Belong” became one of the first gospel albums to be certified post-sale platinum. More than 1 million copies.
His most famous song, Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head’, reached number one on the pop charts and won an Oscar for Best Original Song, having appeared on the soundtrack to the beloved classic film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Awards: After the breakout with the 1966 cover of the song Hank Williams, he went on to sell millions of recordings and has dozens of hit songs across genres including ‘Hooked On A Feeling’
Although synonymous with the song, Thomas was not the first choice for a performance Burt Bacharach and Hal David composed the song. After Ray Stevens turns down the songwriters, BJ finds himself in a very lucky situation.
The beloved track celebrated its 50th anniversary in September 2020, and speaking of the song he said, “ It’s a milestone for me, ” adding later that it was about freedom.
‘he is [Hal] Thomas wrote something on the surface that wasn’t saying much, but in the long run… he was saying something very meaningful that rain is falling on you, but if you’re a full-timer, you have nothing to worry about,” Thomas shared in the interview.
Thomas was recovering from laryngitis while recording the voice version and his vocals were rougher than the track released on its own, but the film’s star Robert Redford doubted that the song even belonged to Butch Cassidy.
Oscar win: His most popular song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head”, reached number one on the pop charts and won an Oscar for Best Original Song, having appeared on the soundtrack to the beloved classics, Butch Cassidy and Sundance. Child; In the photo 1970
When the movie came out, I was very critical – how does the song fit into the movie? There was no rain, Redford told USA Today in 2019. How wrong I was.
Although the track earned him the 2014 Grammy Hall of Fame, Thomas would later say the song’s phenomenon Addiction to pills (amphetamines) and alcohol has worsened dating back to adolescence.
He said on the 2020s on The Debby Campbell Goodtime Show: “ I was at rock bottom with my addictions and my problems.
Referring to a “ spiritual awakening ” that his wife Gloria Richardson shared in helping him clean, the couple married in 1968, and they shared three daughters: Paige, Nora, and Irene.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he was also one of the best gospel and inspirational singers, winning two Dove Awards and five Grammy Awards, including the Grammy in 1979 for Best Gospel Performance for “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Career Highlight: It’s a special spot for me, ” Thomas told WTOP on the 50th anniversary of Raindrops Keep Fallin on My Head.
Eternal love: Thomas married Richardson in 1968, and the couple shares three daughters: Paige, Nora, and Irene
Thomas’ recent recordings include “Living Room Music,” which has featured films by Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and Richard Marx. He had planned to enroll in 2020 at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, but sessions were delayed due to the pandemic.
Perhaps his personal song was the cover he did for Jackie Wilson “To Be Loved,” which Thomas said he adopted as a kind of guidance for his early life.
“ I grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional situation, and had years of severe alcohol and drug addiction, so the song was always a litmus for me, ” he said of the song in a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post.
“… what a hurdle, a heartbreak and times of failure this addiction caused me. But I had that little bit of lightning from that song. That’s the essence of it all. To love and to love you. This takes a long life to accomplish.”
On Memory: When asked how he would like to be remembered, Thomas said, “I hope they think of me as someone who truly believed in what he was singing … I just hope he remembers me as a good father, a good husband and the music will take care of him. [itself]Pictured 2015
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