B. J. Thomas
B. J. Thomas
Thomas in 1972
|Birth name||Billy Joe Thomas|
|Born||August 7, 1942|
Hugo, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Genres||Country, pop, contemporary Christian, rock|
|Labels||Scepter, Myrrh, Columbia, ABC, Paramount, MCA|
Billy Joe Thomas (born August 7, 1942) 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 best-known recordings are the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and the original version of the Mark James song "Hooked on a Feeling".
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 with Tim Griffith (guitar and keyboards), Denver "Zeke" Zatyka (bass), Don Drachenberg (sax) and Ted Mensik (drums). 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 title 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 Reggie Young's 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 it also exceeded one million copies, with Thomas being awarded his third gold record. The song was also released on an album of the same title. 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 & Londonbridges (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 Adult Contemporary 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 on the country charts. In 1981, on his 39th birthday, Thomas became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry. (Thomas's Opry membership has since lapsed, with the Opry now classifying him as a non-regular "guest artist.")
Thomas scored another hit, recording "As Long As We Got Each Other", the theme to the television series Growing Pains. The first season theme was a solo for Thomas, but was re-recorded as a duet with Jennifer Warnes for the second and third seasons. It was re-recorded again for the show's fourth season with British singer Dusty Springfield, but the Thomas/Warnes version was reinstated for season five and some of season seven. Thomas first released this track on his 1985 album Throwing Rocks at the Moon (Columbia Records).
Thomas has also written 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-songwriter Gloria Richardson since December 1968. They have three daughters: Paige (born 1970), Nora (adopted from North Korea in 1978), and Erin (born in 1979). Shortly after Thomas's career began, he became dependent on drugs and alcohol, which led to his marriage nearly ending and his life nearly ending too. In 1975, he became a Christian less than a month after Gloria did. Most press sources indicate that Thomas has been sober since he and Gloria 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 Volume 1||90|
|Everybody's Out of Town||72||71|
|Most of All||67||44|
|1971||Greatest Hits Volume 2||92|
|Billy Joe Thomas||145|
|1974||Longhorns & Londonbridges|
|Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)||26|
|1976||Home Where I Belong||Myrrh|
|1978||Everybody Loves a Rain Song|
|You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)|
|1980||The Best of B.J. Thomas|
|For the Best||MCA/Songbird|
|Some Love Songs Never Die||MCA|
|1982||As We Know Him|
|Peace in the Valley|
|1983||The Best of B.J. Thomas Volume 2|
|The Great American Dream||27|
|1985||Throwin' Rocks at the Moon|
|All Is Calm, All Is Bright|
|1989||Midnight Minute||Reprise Records|
|1992||Back Against the Wall|
|1993||Wind Beneath My Wings||Sony Music Special Products|
|Still Standing Here||Silver City Records|
|1994||Now and Then||J & B Records|
|1995||Precious Memories||Warner Bros.|
|Scenes of Christmas||Cross Three Records|
|1997||I Believe||Warner Bros.|
|Christmas Is Coming Home||Warner Resound|
|2000||You Call That a Mountain||Kardina Records|
|2002||Greatest & Latest||Purple Pyramid Records|
|2005||That Christmas Feeling||Madacy|
|2006||We Praise: Glorify Thy Name||Braun Media|
|We Praise: Just as I Am|
|2007||Home for Christmas||Lifestyles|
|Love to Burn||BJ Thomas Music|
|2010||Once I Loved||Universal Music|
|2012||The Complete Scepter Singles||Real Gone Music|
|2013||The Living Room Sessions||39||Wrinkled Records|
|2014||O Holy Night||Wrinkled Records|
|2017||New Looks from an Old Lover: The Complete Columbia Singles||Real Gone Music|
- AShining also peaked at No. 17 on the RPM Country Albums chart in Canada.
Note: Singles without indicated B-sides may have been only released as promotional copies with stereo and mono versions of the same song.
|Year||Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
|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"
b/w "Candy Baby" (from Tomorrow Never Comes)
|—||8||—||—||—||2||—||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry|
|"Billy and Sue"
b/w "Never Tell"
|—||34||—||—||—||23||—||The Very Best of B.J. Thomas|
|"Bring Back the Time"
b/w "I Don't Have a Mind of My Own" (from Tomorrow Never Comes)
|—||75||—||—||—||53||—||I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry|
|"You'll Never Walk Alone"
b/w "Chains of Love"
|—||—||—||—||—||—||—||The Very Best of B.J. Thomas|
|"Tomorrow Never Comes"
b/w "Your Tears Leave Me Cold" (non-album track)
|—||80||—||—||—||89||—||Tomorrow Never Comes|
b/w "My Home Town"
|1967||"I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love with You)"
b/w "Baby Cried" (from Tomorrow Never Comes)
|—||94||—||—||—||—||—||B.J. Thomas Sings for Lovers and Losers|
|"Treasure of Love"
b/w "Just the Wisdom of a Fool"
b/w "Just the Wisdom of a Fool" (from B.J. Thomas Sings for Lovers and Losers)
|"The Girl Can't Help It"
b/w "Walkin' Back" (from Tomorrow Never Comes)
|1968||"The Eyes of a New York Woman"
b/w "I May Never Get To Heaven" (non-album track)
|—||28||—||—||—||29||—||On My Way|
|"Hooked on a Feeling"
b/w "I've Been Down This Road Before"
|1969||"It's Only Love"
b/w "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (non-album track)
|37||45||—||—||—||24||—||Young and in Love|
|"Pass the Apple Eve"
b/w "Fairy Tale of Time" (non-album track)
|"Skip a Rope"
b/w "You Don't Love Me Anymore" (non-album track)(
|"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"
b/w "Never Had It So Good" (from Young and in Love)
|1||1||—||—||1||1||—||Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head|
|1970||"Everybody's Out of Town"
b/w "Living Again" (from Young and in Love)
|3||26||—||—||—||18||—||Everybody's Out of Town|
|"I Just Can't Help Believing"
b/w "Send My Picture To Scranton, PA"
|"Most of All"
b/w "The Mask" (from Everybody's Out of Town)
|2||38||—||—||13||20||—||Most of All|
|1971||"No Love at All"
b/w "Have a Heart" (non-album track)
|"Mighty Clouds of Joy"
|8||34||—||—||25||26||—||Greatest Hits Volume Two|
|"Long Ago Tomorrow"
b/w "Burnin' a Hole in My Mind" (non-album track)
|1972||"Rock and Roll Lullaby"
b/w "Are We Losing Touch"
|1||15||—||—||8||7||—||Billy Joe Thomas|
|"That's What Friends Are For"
b/w "I Get Enthused"
|"Happier Than the Morning Sun"
b/w "We Have Got to Get Our Ship Together"
|1973||"Sweet Cherry Wine"
b/w "Goodbye's a Long, Long, Time"
|"Early Morning Hush"
b/w "Sunday Sunrise"
|1974||"Play Something Sweet"
b/w "Talkin' Confidentially" (from Songs)
|—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Longhorns & Londonbridges|
|1975||"(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song"
b/w "City Boys"
|"Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)"
b/w "We Are Happy Together"
|5||64||37||—||9||67||—||Help Me Make It (To My Rockin' Chair)|
|1977||"Home Where I Belong"
|—||—||98||21||—||—||—||Home Where I Belong|
|"Without a Doubt"
|"Don't Worry Baby"
b/w "My Love"
|"Still The Lovin' Is Fun"
b/w "Play Me a Little Traveling Music"
|1978||"I Want To Be More Like Jesus"
|"Everybody Loves a Rain Song"
b/w "Dusty Roads"
|2||43||25||—||11||43||34||Everybody Loves A Rain Song|
|"Sweet Young America"
|1979||"We Could Have Been the Closest of Friends"
b/w "In My Heart"
|"God Bless the Children"
b/w "On This Christmas Night"
|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"
B-side of the above four tracks unknown
|1980||"Jesus on My Mind"
b/w "Using Things and Loving People"
|—||—||—||1||—||—||—||You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)|
|"The Faith of a Little Child"
|"Walkin' on a Cloud" /||30||—||—||—||—||—||—||For the Best|
|"Nothin' Could Be Better"||—||—||—||19||—||—||—|
|"Everything Always Works Out for the Best"
b/w "No Limit"
b/w "Amazing Grace"
|"Some Love Songs Never Die"
b/w "There Ain't No Love"
|34||—||27||—||—||—||—||Some Love Songs Never Die|
|"I Recall a Gypsy Woman"
b/w "The Lovin' Kind"
|1982||"Satan, You're a Liar"
|"But Love Me"
b/w "I Really Got the Feeling"
|27||—||—||—||—||—||—||As We Know Him|
|"I'm in Tune (Finding How Good Life Can Be)"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Miracle|
|1983||"Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love"
b/w "I Just Sing"
|"New Looks from an Old Lover"
b/w "You Keep the Man in Me Happy"
|"Pray For Me"
|"Two Car Garage"
b/w "Beautiful World"
|44||—||3||—||—||—||1||The Great American Dream|
|1984||"Odessa Beggarman"||—||—||—||35||—||—||—||The Best of B. J. Thomas Volume II|
|"The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely"
b/w "We're Here to Love"
|"The Girl Most Likely To"
b/w "From This Moment On"
|1985||"The Part of Me That Needs You Most"
b/w "Northern Lights"
|—||—||61||—||—||—||57||Throwin' Rocks at the Moon|
b/w "Broken Toys"
b/w "Make the World Go Away"
|1988||"As Long As We Got Each Other" (with Dusty Springfield)||7||—||—||—||—||—||—||Midnight Minute|
|1989||"Don't Leave Love (Out There All Alone)"
b/w "One Woman"
|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|
|2017||"We Are Houston" (with The Music Row Choir)|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1984||"Rock And Roll Shoes"||Ray Charles||14||15||Friendship|
Other album appearances
- 1980: "Hallowed Be Thy Name"; The Lord's Prayer
- 1999: "Suspicious Minds"; Remembering Elvis: Louisiana Hayrides & Tribute
- 2003: "Let There Be Peace on Earth"; Inspirations, George Foreman
- 2004: "Tomorrow Never Comes"; Ernest Tubb's Special Guests
- 2007: "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"; Good Times Again, Glen Campbell
- 2008: "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head"; Even More One Hit Wonders, Lynn Anderson
- 2012: "100% Chance of Pain"; Partners, Vol. 2, T.G. Sheppard
- 2014: "Sunny"; Duets with My American Idols, Oleg Frish
Awards and nominations
|1970||Grammy Awards||Best Male Pop Vocal Performance||"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"||Nominated|||
|1975||Country Music Association||Single of the Year||"(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song"||Nominated|||
|1976||GMA Dove Awards||Album by a Secular Artist||Home Where I Belong||Won|||
|1977||Grammy Awards||Best Inspirational Performance||Home Where I Belong||Won|||
|1978||Best Inspirational Performance||Happy Man||Won|||
|1979||Best Inspirational Performance||You Gave Me Love (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer)||Won|||
|1980||Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary
With Reba Rambo, Dony McGuire, The Archers, Cynthia Clawson, Andrae Crouch, Tramaine Hawkins & Walter Hawkins
|The Lord's Prayer||Won|||
|1981||Best Inspirational Performance||Amazing Grace||Won|||
|1981||GMA Dove Awards||Album by a Secular Artist||Amazing Grace||Won|||
|2014||NARAS||Grammy Hall of Fame Award||"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"||Won|||
- Wirt, John (February 9, 2007). "The music never gets old for Thomas". The Advocate (Online). p. 2. Retrieved February 20, 2007.
- 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.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
- Uncredited, Profile of B.J. Thomas Archived March 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine; www.xentel.com.
- Gary James, Interview with B.J. Thomas Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, 2005; www.classicbands.com.
- "B.J. Thomas". Grand Ole Opry. June 30, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2013). "B.J. Thomas The Living Room Sessions". The Living Room Sessions. AllMusic. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "2014 Grammy Hall of Fame". Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head. The Recording Academy. December 3, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
- "Gloria Thomas". AllMusic. Retrieved August 7, 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". Archived from the original on March 13, 2014.
- Rick, Coates (August 22, 2011). "BJ Thomas". Northern Express. Retrieved August 7, 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 Christian music didn't sit well with some in the audience.
- Howard, Kerbel (August 6, 2014). "A Conversation With BJ Thomas: Love, Near Tragedy And A Song That Saved". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- "Awards: B.J. Thomas". Allmusic. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- "Christian CHR National Airplay". The Nielsen Company. Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- [Powell, Mark Allan (2002). "B. J. Thomas". Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 949.]
- "The top 20 pop singles, based on Billboard's survey..." UPI. October 12, 1984. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- "Top CMA Award Nominees" (PDF). Academy of Country Music. p. 99. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 27, 2013.
Nominated 1975 Single of the Year
- "Artist"s Bio: BJ Thomas". Grand Ole Opry. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
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