August 6, 2021

a tribute to BJ Thomas (+ Audio and Video)

Behind the music: a tribute to BJ Thomas (+ Audio and Video)

2021-06-15 11:30:10 / web.radiorebelde@icrt.cu / Pedro Rafael Cruz Gonzalez


Photo taken from the Internet

Many years ago, when the Radio Liberación station was located in this same building, one of its stellar programs used a theme to identify itself: “Raindrops keep fallin on my head”.

It is Billy Joe “BJ” Thomas, born in Oklahoma on August 7, 1942, known for his hits of the sixties and seventies, mainly the one you listen to, which appeared on the charts of popularity of music around the world.

Thomas grew up in Houston where he graduated from high school. Before launching into his career, he sang in a church choir as a teenager and later joined a group. In 1966, they released an album with the cover of Hank Williams’ hit “I’m so lonesome I could cry” and it sold more than a million copies and was awarded a gold record.

In 1968, Thomas again achieved success and five months later with the much more successful “Hooked on a feeling” which featured the sound of an electric sitar and became Thomas’ second record with million dollar sales. A year later, the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid featured Thomas performing “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head,” a song by the hugely successful duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which won the Oscar for Best Original Song of that year. and it became the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970. Sales of this album also surpassed one million copies, and Thomas earned his third gold record.

In 1975, Thomas released the Reunion album containing “Someone Ended up with the Wrong Song,” considered the longest-titled song to win No. 1 on the Billboard chart. It was Thomas’s first big hit since 1972 and secured him his fourth gold record.

In 1976, Thomas released the first of several albums of religious music that he would record in those years. The album went platinum, making him the most important platinum artist of the day. Shortly after, he would get his swan song with No Worry Baby, a Beach Boys theme, on their latest hit album.

During the eighties, BJ Thomas’s success on the pop charts began to wane and he then wrote two books and starred in two films, Jory and Jake’s Corner, using his voice in various commercial jingles, such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

A relevant detail for me is that he assigned himself the stage name BJ because many of his teammates on the baseball team where he played in his childhood were also called Billy Joe.

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Addictions got him out of the game during the 1970s, but ten years later he was already active again on the country music charts.

On April 2, 2013 Thomas released an album with acoustic arrangements of well-known hits and for this he had the collaboration of several established and emerging singers, who accompanied him on seven of the twelve songs.

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Arts and Sciences announced that his song Raindrops keep fallin ‘on my head has been included in the 2014 Grammy Hall of Fame.

In March of this year the press unfortunately announced that BJ Thomas had been diagnosed with lung cancer. On May 29, he died at his home in Arlington, Texas.

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