BJ Thomas, ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ Singer Dies At 78
BJ Thomas has died at the age of 78 at his home in Arlington, Texas, following complications from lung cancer. The five-time Grammy award winner and Grammy Hall Of Fame inductee – best known for hits like Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head and Hooked On A Feeling – sold more than 70 millions albums worldwide, had eight US No 1 hits and 14 US Top 40 singles since his 1966 debut single, a US Top 10 cover of Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.
Born on 7 August 1942 in Hugo, Oklahoma, as Billy Joe Thomas, he moved to Houston, Texas with his family and began singing in church choirs as a child. As a teenager, he joined the local band The Triumphs, before going solo in 1966 and recording I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry with producer Huey P Meaux. Released by Scepter Records, it became his first million-selling single.
The follow-up single, Mama, and his debut album, Tomorrow Never Comes, came that same year. In 1968, he released the million-selling Hooked On A Feeling from his second album, On My Way.
Thomas met Dionne Warwick when he visited the Scepter offices in New York and she introduced him to songwriter-producer Burt Bacharach. That led to the evergreen single, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, written by Bacharach and Hal David and sung by Thomas.
The song was featured in the Paul Newman and Robert Redford film Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, earning the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1969.
The hits kept coming for Thomas in the early 70s – Everybody’s Out of Town, I Just Can’t Help Believing, No Love at All and “Rock and Roll Lullaby – from a string of well-regarded albums on Scepter. Then he singed to Paramount Records, releasing two albums — 1973’s Songs and 1974’s Longhorns & Londonbridges. In 1975, Thomas released the album Reunion on ABC Records, featuring the Grammy winning single, (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.
After struggling with substance abuse issues, Thomas returned as a gospel artist, releasing a series of hit singles and albums, including (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, which hit No 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Country Songs charts. It won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1976 and was nominated for CMA Single of the Year. On his 39th birthday in 1981, he was inducted into Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry.
On 3 December 2013, the National Academy Of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.