BJ Thomas: The Gospel Music Legend
BJ Thomas is a gospel music legend. His soulful voice and moving lyrics have inspired generations of fans. In this blog, we celebrate his life and music.
BJ Thomas is an American singer and songwriter, who is best known for his hit songs “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”. He has been active in the music industry since the late 1950s, and has recorded 18 studio albums. In addition to his pop and country hits, Thomas has also had success with gospel music. He has won five Grammy Awards, and has been inducted into both the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Early Life and Career
BJ Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, in 1942. His father was a mechanic and his mother was a homemaker. When he was young, his family moved to Houston, Texas. It was there that he began singing in his church choir. He later joined a band called The Triumphs.
In 1966, BJ Thomas released his first album, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. The album featured the title track, which became a hit single. He followed this up with two more successful albums, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head and Hooked on a Feeling.
In the 1970s, BJ Thomas continued to have success with such hits as (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song and (Turn Out the Lights) The Party’s Over. He also found success with several duets, including Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head with Barbara Mandrell and (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song with long-time collaborator Jerry Butler.
In the 1980s and 1990s, BJ Thomas continued to record and tour extensively. In 2000, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He continues to perform and record today.
Rise to Fame
BJ Thomas’ first big hit came in 1966 with the song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”. The song propelled him to national fame and he soon found himself in demand as a performer. He appeared on numerous television shows and his records began to sell in large numbers. In 1967, he had his second big hit with the song “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”. The song was used in the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
BJ Thomas continued to have success in the 1970s with songs like “Hooked On A Feeling” and “Everybody’s Out Of Town”. He also found success as a country artist, dueting with Loretta Lynn on the song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”. In 1980, he scored a major hit with a cover of the Hank Williams classic “I Saw The Light”. The song helped to bring BJ Thomas’ music to a wider audience and cemented his place as a legend in gospel music.
Later Career and Retirement
BJ Thomas continued to record and tour throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He had less success on the country charts, but his gospel music recordings were well-received. He retired from touring in 1988, but continued to make occasional appearances and record new music. In 2006, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. BJ Thomas passed away in 2019 at the age of 78.
BJ Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, the son of a truck driver. When he was six, his family moved to Houston, Texas. As a young teenager, he sang in local clubs with his band The Triumphs. In 1964, at the age of eighteen, he married Marlo Jones. The couple had two sons: Bradley and Joshua.
In 1968, Thomas made his first appearance on the national stage when he appeared on The Johnny Cash Show. He soon after released his first album, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. The album included his cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, which became a Number One country hit.
After the success of his first album, Thomas released a number of other successful albums including Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (1970), Hooked on a Feeling (1972), and Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song (1975). He also appeared in a number of films including Jory (1972) and W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975).
In the 1980s, Thomas’ career began to slow down. He released fewer albums and his singles were less successful. In 1989, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent treatment for the disease. In 1996, he was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
In 2006, BJ Thomas released A Tribute to Hank Williams Jr., an album of covers of Hank Williams Jr.’s songs. The album was acclaimed by critics and Thomas received a Grammy Award for Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album for it in 2007.
BJ Thomas continues to tour and perform today. In 2014, he released The Collection: 24 Greatest Hits which featured two new songs: “Amazing Grace” and ” Working on a Building”.
BJ Thomas started his musical journey in the 1960s with a string of pop hits, including “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” and “Hooked on a Feeling.” But it was his 1970 recording of “Eyewitness News” that marked his transition to country music.
In the 1980s, Thomas found himself drawn to gospel music. He recorded several gospel albums, including “Home Where I Belong” and “Amazing Grace.” His gospel music legacy continues today with his latest album, “Blessed Assurance.”
As a Gospel music legend, BJ Thomas has inspired other artists and continued to produce new music that speaks to the hearts of fans around the world.