B. J. Thomas

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B. J. Thomas
B.J. Thomas 1972.JPG
Thomas in 1972
Background information
Birth nameBilly Joe Thomas
Born(1942-08-07) August 7, 1942 (age 71)
Hugo, Oklahoma U.S.
OriginHouston, Texas
GenresCountry, pop, contemporary Christian, rock, soft rock
OccupationsMusician
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1966–present
LabelsScepter, Myrrh, Columbia, ABC, Paramount
Websitewww.bjthomas.com
 
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B. J. Thomas
B.J. Thomas 1972.JPG
Thomas in 1972
Background information
Birth nameBilly Joe Thomas
Born(1942-08-07) August 7, 1942 (age 71)
Hugo, Oklahoma U.S.
OriginHouston, Texas
GenresCountry, pop, contemporary Christian, rock, soft rock
OccupationsMusician
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1966–present
LabelsScepter, Myrrh, Columbia, ABC, Paramount
Websitewww.bjthomas.com

Billy Joe "B.J." Thomas (born August 7, 1942, Hugo, Oklahoma) is an American popular singer. He is particularly known for his hit songs of the 1960s and 1970s, which appeared on the pop, country, and Christian music charts. His most well-known recording was the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head".

Career[edit]

Thomas was raised in and around Houston, Texas, graduating from Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg. Before his solo career, he sang in a church choir as a teenager, then joined the musical group The Triumphs.[1] During his senior year he made friends with Roy Head of Roy Head and The Traits. The Traits and the Triumphs held several Battle of the Bands events in the early 1960s.

In 1966, B.J. Thomas and The Triumphs released the album, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Pacemaker Records). It featured a hit cover of the Hank Williams song, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". The single sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.[2] The follow-up single, "Mama", peaked at No. 22. In the same year, Thomas released a solo album of the same name on the Scepter Records label.

Thomas came back to achieve mainstream success again in 1968, first with "The Eyes of a New York Woman", then five months later with the much bigger "Hooked on a Feeling", which featured the sound of an electric sitar and was first released on the album On My Way (Scepter Records). "Hooked on a Feeling" became Thomas's second million-selling record.[2] A year later Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid featured Thomas performing the Bacharach/David song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", which won the Academy Award for best original song that year and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970. Sales of also exceeded one million copies, with Thomas being awarded his third gold record.[2] The song was also released on an album of the same name. Other hits of the 1970s were "Everybody's Out of Town", "I Just Can't Help Believing" (No. 9 in 1970, covered by Elvis Presley), "No Love At All", "Mighty Clouds of Joy", and "Rock and Roll Lullaby".

Thomas's earlier hits were with Scepter Records, his label for six years. He left Scepter Records in 1972 and spent a short period, in 1973 and 1974, with Paramount Records, during which time he released two albums, Songs (1973) and Longhorns & London Bridges (1974).

Thomas, performing at the Showcase Live, in Foxboro, Massachusetts, December 2012

In 1975, Thomas released the album Reunion on ABC Records, which had absorbed the Paramount label; it contained "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" (the longest titled No. 1 hit ever on the Hot 100). It was Thomas's first big hit since 1972 and secured him his fourth gold record.[2]

In 1976, Thomas released Home Where I Belong, produced by Chris Christian on Myrrh Records, the first of several gospel albums. It was the first Christian album to go platinum, and Thomas became the biggest contemporary Christian artist of the period.[3]

On MCA Records, Thomas and Chris Christian recorded what would be his last Top 40 hit single, "Don’t Worry Baby", on his last pop album, which also included the A/C hit "Still the Lovin' Is Fun".

During the 1980s, his success on the pop charts began to wane, but many of his singles reached the upper regions on the country singles chart, including two 1983 chart toppers, "Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love" and "New Looks from an Old Lover" (see 1984 in music), as well as "Two Car Garage", which reached No. 3. In 1981, on his 39th birthday, Thomas became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry.[4]

Thomas scored another hit, recording "As Long As We Got Each Other", the theme to Growing Pains, with Jennifer Warnes. A later version, used for the show's fourth season, was recorded with British singer Dusty Springfield. Thomas first released this track on his 1985 album Throwing Rocks at the Moon (Columbia Records).

Thomas has also authored two books including the autobiography Home Where I Belong, and starred in the movies Jory and "Jake's Corner". Several commercial jingles including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Bell, have featured his singing voice and music. On December 31, 2011, Thomas was the featured halftime performer at the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

On April 2, 2013, Thomas released The Living Room Sessions, an album with acoustic arrangements of well known hits. It features guest appearances with established and emerging vocalists accompanying Thomas on seven of twelve tracks.[5]

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that his 1969 single "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[6]

Personal Life[edit]

In December 1968, Thomas married Gloria Richardson.[7] They have three daughters, Paige (born 1970), Nora (adopted from Korea in 1978), and Erin (born in 1979). They also have three granddaughters.[8]

Shortly after Thomas' career began, he became dependent on drugs and alcohol, which led to their marriage nearly ending in divorce—and Thomas even coming close to death. Then, at the end of 1975, Gloria became a Christian, and less than a month later, so did B.J.[7][9]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

YearTitlePeak chart positionsLabel
USUS CountryCAN
1966I'm So Lonesome I Could CryScepter Records
Tomorrow Never Comes
1967Sings For Lovers and Losers
1968On My Way133
1969Young and in Love
Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head1210
1970Greatest Hits, Vol. 190
Everybody's Out of Town7271
Most of All6744
1971Greatest Hits, Vol. 292
1972B. J. Thomas Country209
Billy Joe Thomas145
1973Songs221Paramount
1974Longhorns & Londonbridges
1975Reunion59240ABC
Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)26
1976Home Where I BelongMyrrh
1977B. J. Thomas11439MCA
1978Everybody Loves A Rain Song
1979Happy ManMyrrh
You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)Word
1980The Best Of B.J. ThomasMyrrh
For The BestMCA/Songbird
In Concert
1981Amazing GraceWord
Some Love Songs Never DieMCA
1982As We Know Him
MiracleMyrrh
Peace in the Valley
1983Love ShinesPriority
New Looks19313Columbia
The Great American Dream27
1984ShiningA40
1985Throwin' Rocks at the Moon
You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me A Prayer)Myrrh
1986Night LifeColumbia
All Is Calm, All Is Bright
1987Hey Won't You Play Another
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
MCA
1989Midnight MinuteReprise
1991As We Knew HimMCA
Jesus Hearted People
1992Back Against the WallReprise
Rock & Roll LullabyTrace
1994Still Standing HereLaurie
1995Precious MemoriesWarner Bros.
Scenes of ChristmasCross Three
1996B. J. Thomas Sings Hank Williams and Other FavoritesBuckboard
1997I BelieveWarner Bros.
Christmas Is Coming HomeWarner Resound
1998Sounds of ChristmasKardina
2000You Call That a Mountain
2005That Christmas FeelingMadacy
2006We Praise: Glorify Thy NameBraun Media
We Praise: Just as I Am
2007Home for ChristmasLifestyles
2009Once I LovedHoneyman Music
2012The Complete Scepter SinglesReal Gone Music
2013The Living Room Sessions39Wrinkled

Singles[edit]

YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
US ACUSUS CountryUS Christian (CHR)[10]CAN ACCANCAN Country
1966"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"82I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
"Mama"2212
"Billy and Sue"3423Greatest Hits, Volume 1
"Bring Back the Time"7553I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
"Tomorrow Never Comes"8089Tomorrow Never Comes
"Plain Jane"129
1967"I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)"94Sings For Lovers and Losers
1968"The Eyes of a New York Woman"2829On My Way
"Hooked on a Feeling"53
1969"It's Only Love"374524Young and in Love
"Pass the Apple Eve"9778
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"1111Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head
1970"Everybody's Out of Town"32618Everybody's Out of Town
"I Just Can't Help Believing"1918
"Most of All"2381320Most of All
1971"No Love at All"4161216
"Mighty Clouds of Joy"8342526Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
"Long Ago Tomorrow"136157
1972"Rock and Roll Lullaby"11587Billy Joe Thomas
"That's What Friends Are For"3874
"Happier Than the Morning Sun"31100
1973"Songs"41Songs
1975"(Hey Won't You Play) Another
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
"
111132Reunion
"Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)"56437967Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)
1977"Home Where I Belong"9821Home Where I Belong
"Don't Worry Baby"217112B. J. Thomas
"Still the Lovin' Is Fun"8771386
1978"Everybody Loves a Rain Song"24325114334Everybody Loves A Rain Song
1979"We Could Have Been the Closest of Friends"86Released as single only
"God Bless the Children"38On This Christmas Night (various artists)
"Happy Man"5Happy Man
"What a Difference You've Made"6
"He's Got It All in Control"18
"From the Start"20
1980"Jesus on My Mind"1You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)
"The Faith of a Little Child"7
"Walkin' On a Cloud"30For The Best
"Nothin' Could Be Better"19
"Everything Always Works Out For the Best"10
1981"Some Love Songs Never Die"3427Some Love Songs Never Die
"I Recall a Gypsy Woman"2247
1982"Satan, You're a Liar"6Miracle
"But Love Me"27As We Know Him
1983"Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love"139311New Looks
"New Looks from an Old Lover"16
"Pray for Me"4Love Shines
"Two Car Garage"4431The Great American Dream
1984"The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely"1015Shining
"The Girl Most Likely To"175
1985"The Part of Me That Needs You Most"6157Throwin' Rocks at the Moon
1986"America Is"62
"Night Life"59Night Life
1988"As Long As We Got Each Other" (with Dusty Springfield)7Midnight Minute
1989"Don't Leave Love (Out There All Alone)"39
2000"You Call That a Mountain"66You Call That a Mountain
2013"I Just Can't Help Believing" (with Vince Gill)The Living Room Sessions

Guest singles[edit]

YearArtistSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
US CountryCAN Country
1984"Rock and Roll Shoes"Ray Charles1415Friendship

Awards[edit]

YearTitleAward
1976Home Where I BelongGMA Dove Award for Album by a Secular Artist
1977Home Where I BelongGrammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance
1978Happy ManGrammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance
1979You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance
1980The Lord's PrayerGrammy Award for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary
With Andrae Crouch, The Archers (Janice, Steve, Tim), Cynthia Clawson, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo, Tramaine Hawkins & Walter Hawkins
1981Amazing GraceGrammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance
1981Amazing GraceGMA Dove Award for Album by a Secular Artist
2014"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"Grammy Hall of Fame Award

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wirt, John (2007-02-09). "The music never gets old for Thomas". The Advocate (Online). p. 2. Retrieved 2007-02-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 213, 250, 268 & 365. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ Uncredited, Profile of B.J. Thomas; www.xentel.com.
  4. ^ Gary James, Interview with B.J. Thomas, 2005; www.classicbands.com.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2013). "B.J. Thomas The Living Room Sessions". The Living Room Sessions. AllMusic. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "2014 Grammy Hall of Fame". Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head. THE RECORDING ACADEMY. 3 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Jenkins, B.J. Thomas as told to Jerry B. (1982). Home where I belong ([Repr.] ed.). Waco, Texas: Word Books. ISBN 0849929059. 
  8. ^ "Billy Joe Thomas: From Then to Now". 
  9. ^ Kennedy, John W. "Conversation: B.J. Thomas". 
  10. ^ "Christian CHR National Airplay". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

External links[edit]