Origin: Hugo, Oklahoma (USA)
- Billy Joe "B.J." 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 recording is 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 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 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 & 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. 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.
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. -
- B.J. Thomas has performed during four decades, sold more than 70 million records, won 5 Grammy Awards and scored 15 Top40 Pop/Rock Hits. But all this success was achieved in the country/pop genre. At the middle of the eighties, AOR rule the charts, and he was seduced by TV soundtracks guru STEVE DORFF to record the main theme for the soap opera 'Growing Pains'. The single (a duet with Jennifer Warnes) was a hit, and B.J. understood that was the direction to take.
"Midnight Minute" is the only Adult Contemporary / WestCoast / AOR album recorded by Thomas. And what a good one. Glorious mid-tempo tunes, heartful ballads and a couple uptempo songs like 'If It Takes All Night' (written by STAN MEISSNER), the absolute winner here, TOP AOR.
Thomas' voice is deep and distinctive, remembering BENNY MARDONES at some point. Needless to say that production is top notch, and the guitars of masters HUFF / LANDAU a pure pleasure.
Also included here is the re-recorded version of 'As Long As We Got Each Other' with Dusty Springfield, used for "Growing Pains" fourth season. -
- B.J. Thomas (born Billy Joe Thomas) straddled the line between pop/rock and country, achieving success in both genres in the late '60s and '70s. At the beginning of his career, he leaned more heavily on rock & roll, but by the mid-'70s, he had turned to country music, becoming one of the most successful country-pop stars of the decade.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [Original Score]Thomas began singing while he was a child, performing in church. In his teens, he joined the Houston-based band the Triumphs, who released a number of independent singles that failed to gain any attention. For the group's last single, Thomas and fellow Triumph member Mark Charron wrote "Billy and Sue," which was another flop. After "Billy and Sue," Thomas began a solo career, recording a version of Hank Williams' standard "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with producer Huey P. Meaux. Released by Scepter Records in early 1966, the single became an immediate hit, catapulting to number eight on the pop charts. Although he had a series of moderate follow-up hits, including a re-release of "Billy and Sue," Thomas failed to reenter the Top Ten until 1968, when "Hooked on a Feeling" became a number five, gold single. The following year, he scored his biggest hit with Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," taken from the hit film Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. It was followed by a string of soft rock hits in the next two years, including "Everybody's Out of Town," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "No Love at All," and "Rock and Roll Lullaby," which featured guitarist Duane Eddy and the vocal group the Blossoms.
After "Rock and Roll Lullaby," Scepter Records went out of business and B.J. Thomas headed to Paramount Records. At Paramount, Thomas had no hits, prompting the singer to pursue a new country-pop direction at ABC Records. "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," his first single for ABC, became his second number one record on the pop charts, as well as establishing a country career for the vocalist. For the next decade, he continued to have hits on the country charts, with a couple of songs -- most notably "Don't Worry Baby" -- crossing over into the pop charts. During this period, he switched record companies at a rapid pace, but it did nothing to slow the pace of his hits. Thomas hit his country peak in 1983 and 1984, when he had the number one hits "Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love" and "New Looks from an Old Lover," as well as the Top Ten hits "The Whole World's in Love When You're Lonely" and "Two Car Garage." Throughout the '80s, B.J. Thomas recorded a number of hit gospel records for Myrrh concurrently with his country hits, but his most prominent song was "As Long as We Got Each Other," a tune that served as the theme song to the sitcom Growing Pains.
The Living Room Sessions At the end of the '80s, the hits began to dry up for Thomas, but he continued to tour, and put out the occasional country and gospel record in the '90s. In the new millennium, he concentrated primarily on Christmas and Christian recordings, but in 2013 he returned with The Living Room Sessions, his first secular album in years. This was a stripped-down collection of covers of his old hits, sometimes performed as duets with such stars as Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, and Keb' Mo'; it debuted at 39 on the Billboard country charts. -
(Stephen Thomas Erlewine http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bj-thomas-mn0000057840/biography)