B. J. Thomas
|B. J. Thomas|
Thomas in 1972
|Birth name||Billy Joe Thomas|
August 7, 1942 |
Hugo, Oklahoma U.S.
|Genres||Country, pop, contemporary Christian, rock, soft rock|
|Labels||Scepter, Myrrh, Columbia, ABC, Paramount|
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".
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. 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. 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. 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. 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thomas has been married to singer and songwriter Gloria Richardson since December 1968. They have three daughters, Paige (born 1970), Nora (adopted from Korea in 1978), and Erin (born in 1979). They also have three granddaughters. Shortly after Thomas's career began, he became dependent on drugs and alcohol, which led to the marriage nearly ending and Thomas even coming close to death. Gloria became a Christian in 1975, and less than a month later, so did B.J.; most press sources indicate that Thomas has been sober since their separation was reconciled in 1976.
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Label|
|1966||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry||Scepter Records|
|Tomorrow Never Comes|
|1967||Sings For Lovers and Losers|
|1968||On My Way||133|
|1969||Young and in Love|
|Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head||12||10|
|1970||Greatest Hits, Vol. 1||90|
|Everybody's Out of Town||72||71|
|Most of All||67||44|
|1971||Greatest Hits, Vol. 2||92|
|1972||B. J. Thomas Country||209|
|Billy Joe Thomas||145|
|1974||Longhorns & Londonbridges|
|Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)||26|
|1976||Home Where I Belong||Myrrh|
|1977||B. J. Thomas||114||39||MCA|
|1978||Everybody Loves A Rain Song|
|You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)||Word|
|1980||The Best Of B.J. Thomas||Myrrh|
|For The Best||MCA/Songbird|
|Some Love Songs Never Die||MCA|
|1982||As We Know Him|
|Peace in the Valley|
|The Great American Dream||27|
|1985||Throwin' Rocks at the Moon|
|You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me A Prayer)||Myrrh|
|All Is Calm, All Is Bright|
|1987||Hey Won't You Play Another
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
|1991||As We Knew Him||MCA|
|Jesus Hearted People|
|1992||Back Against the Wall||Reprise|
|Rock & Roll Lullaby||Trace|
|1994||Still Standing Here||Laurie|
|1995||Precious Memories||Warner Bros.|
|Scenes of Christmas||Cross Three|
|1996||B. J. Thomas Sings Hank Williams and Other Favorites||Buckboard|
|1997||I Believe||Warner Bros.|
|Christmas Is Coming Home||Warner Resound|
|1998||Sounds of Christmas||Kardina|
|2000||You Call That a Mountain|
|2005||That Christmas Feeling||Madacy|
|2006||We Praise: Glorify Thy Name||Braun Media|
|We Praise: Just as I Am|
|2007||Home for Christmas||Lifestyles|
|2009||Once I Loved||Honeyman Music|
|2012||The Complete Scepter Singles||Real Gone Music|
|2013||The Living Room Sessions||39||Wrinkled|
- AShining also peaked at No. 17 on the RPM Country Albums chart in Canada.
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US AC||US||US Country||US Christian (CHR)||CAN AC||CAN||CAN Country|
|1966||"I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"||—||8||—||—||—||2||—||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry|
|"Billy and Sue"||—||34||—||—||—||23||—||Greatest Hits, Volume 1|
|"Bring Back the Time"||—||75||—||—||—||53||—||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry|
|"Tomorrow Never Comes"||—||80||—||—||—||89||—||Tomorrow Never Comes|
|1967||"I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)"||—||94||—||—||—||—||—||Sings For Lovers and Losers|
|1968||"The Eyes of a New York Woman"||—||28||—||—||—||29||—||On My Way|
|"Hooked on a Feeling"||—||5||—||—||—||3||—|
|1969||"It's Only Love"||37||45||—||—||—||24||—||Young and in Love|
|"Pass the Apple Eve"||—||97||—||—||—||78||—|
|"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"||1||1||—||—||1||1||—||Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head|
|1970||"Everybody's Out of Town"||3||26||—||—||—||18||—||Everybody's Out of Town|
|"I Just Can't Help Believing"||1||9||—||—||—||18||—|
|"Most of All"||2||38||—||—||13||20||—||Most of All|
|1971||"No Love at All"||4||16||—||—||12||16||—|
|"Mighty Clouds of Joy"||8||34||—||—||25||26||—||Greatest Hits, Vol. 2|
|"Long Ago Tomorrow"||13||61||—||—||—||57||—|
|1972||"Rock and Roll Lullaby"||1||15||—||—||8||7||—||Billy Joe Thomas|
|"That's What Friends Are For"||38||74||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Happier Than the Morning Sun"||31||100||—||—||—||—||—|
|1975||"(Hey Won't You Play) Another
Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song"
|"Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)"||5||64||37||—||9||67||—||Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)|
|1977||"Home Where I Belong"||—||—||98||21||—||—||—||Home Where I Belong|
|"Don't Worry Baby"||2||17||—||—||1||12||—||B. J. Thomas|
|"Still the Lovin' Is Fun"||8||77||—||—||13||86||—|
|1978||"Everybody Loves a Rain Song"||2||43||25||—||11||43||34||Everybody Loves A Rain Song|
|1979||"We Could Have Been the Closest of Friends"||—||—||86||—||—||—||—||Released as single only|
|"God Bless the Children"||38||—||—||—||—||—||—||On This Christmas Night (various artists)|
|"Happy Man"||—||—||—||5||—||—||—||Happy 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"||—||—||—||1||—||—||—||You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)|
|"The Faith of a Little Child"||—||—||—||7||—||—||—|
|"Walkin' On a Cloud"||30||—||—||—||—||—||—||For The Best|
|"Nothin' Could Be Better"||—||—||—||19||—||—||—|
|"Everything Always Works Out For the Best"||—||—||—||10||—||—||—|
|1981||"Some Love Songs Never Die"||34||—||27||—||—||—||—||Some Love Songs Never Die|
|"I Recall a Gypsy Woman"||—||—||22||—||—||—||47|
|1982||"Satan, You're a Liar"||—||—||—||6||—||—||—||Miracle|
|"But Love Me"||27||—||—||—||—||—||—||As We Know Him|
|1983||"Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love"||13||93||1||—||—||—||1||New Looks|
|"New Looks from an Old Lover"||—||—||1||—||—||—||6|
|"Pray for Me"||—||—||—||4||—||—||—||Love Shines|
|"Two Car Garage"||44||—||3||—||—||—||1||The Great American Dream|
|1984||"The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely"||—||—||10||—||—||—||15||Shining|
|"The Girl Most Likely To"||—||—||17||—||—||—||5|
|1985||"The Part of Me That Needs You Most"||—||—||61||—||—||—||57||Throwin' Rocks at the Moon|
|"Night Life"||—||—||59||—||—||—||—||Night Life|
|1988||"As Long As We Got Each Other" (with Dusty Springfield)||7||—||—||—||—||—||—||Midnight Minute|
|1989||"Don't Leave Love (Out There All Alone)"||39||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000||"You Call That a Mountain"||—||—||66||—||—||—||—||You Call That a Mountain|
|2013||"I Just Can't Help Believing" (with Vince Gill)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||The Living Room Sessions|
|Year||Artist||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1984||"Rock and Roll Shoes"||Ray Charles||14||15||Friendship|
|1976||Home Where I Belong||GMA Dove Award for Album by a Secular Artist|
|1977||Home Where I Belong||Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance|
|1978||Happy Man||Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance|
|1979||You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)||Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance|
|1980||The Lord's Prayer||Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary
With Andrae Crouch, The Archers (Janice, Steve, Tim), Cynthia Clawson, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo, Tramaine Hawkins & Walter Hawkins
|1981||Amazing Grace||Grammy Award for Best Inspirational Performance|
|1981||Amazing Grace||GMA Dove Award for Album by a Secular Artist|
|2014||"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"||Grammy Hall of Fame Award|
- Wirt, John (2007-02-09). "The music never gets old for Thomas". The Advocate (Online). p. 2. Retrieved 2007-02-20.
- 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.
- Uncredited, Profile of B.J. Thomas; www.xentel.com.
- Gary James, Interview with B.J. Thomas, 2005; www.classicbands.com.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2013). "B.J. Thomas The Living Room Sessions". The Living Room Sessions. AllMusic. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "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.
- "Gloria Thomas". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- Jenkins, B.J. Thomas as told to Jerry B. (1982). Home where I belong ([Repr.] ed.). Waco, Texas: Word Books. ISBN 0849929059.
- "Billy Joe Thomas: From Then to Now".
- Kennedy, John W. "Conversation: B.J. Thomas".
- Rick, Coates (22 August 2011). "BJ Thomas". Northern Express. Retrieved 7 August 2014. "Recommitting himself to his religious upbringing in 1976 Thomas pursued Christian music, finding success on the charts but challenges on the road. Often blending his concerts with his Christian and pop songs, his secular music didn’t sit well with some in the audience."
- Howard, Kerbel (6 August 2014). "A Conversation With BJ Thomas: Love, Near Tragedy And A Song That Saved". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
- "Christian CHR National Airplay". The Nielsen Company. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
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