Singer that enjoyed vast success with Raindrops save Fallin’ on mine Head, composed for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


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BJ thomas in the beforehand 1970s. He to be blessed with a voice that brought a note of soulfulness come its easy-listening smoothness. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
BJ cutting board in the at an early stage 1970s. He was blessed with a voice that brought a hint of soulfulness to its easy-listening smoothness. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1969, BJ Thomas, who has passed away of symptom from lung cancer age 78, spent four weeks in ~ the height of the united state chart with Raindrops store Fallin’ on my Head, from the soundtrack that the famous film Butch Cassidy and also the Sundance Kid. It is the tune he will always be identified with, yet he almost didn’t get to song it.

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As cutting board recalled, the composer Burt Bacharach initially wanted Bob Dylan to document it, however Dylan could not or would certainly not oblige. Then ray Stevens was available it, however he also declined. Once Thomas was at last offered the job, he was warned no to song by his doctor since he was suffering from laryngitis. “I had come off a two-week tour and had laryngitis and also was right able come eke out the point for the soundtrack,” he remembered. In which method he regulated to battle his means through five takes in the studio and also produce a result that the exacting Bacharach to be happy through for the film. A recovered Thomas videotaped a brand-new vocal because that the song’s relax as a single.

Raindrops winner an Oscar for finest original song and Thomas carry out it in ~ the 1970 Academy Awards ceremony. Although it only gained to No 38 in the UK singles chart, the popularity to be enduring through consistent radio play over the decades. It was his an initial US No 1 hit, adhering to other chart successes including his top 10 variation of Hank Williams’s i’m So Lonesome I can Cry (1966), The eye of a brand-new York mrs (which reached No 28, 1968) and also Hooked top top a feeling (No 5, 1968). The critical of these earned cutting board a season of performances at the Copacabana nightclub in brand-new York.

Blessed with a voice that carried a note of soulfulness come its easy-listening smoothness, he would certainly enjoy further pop hits right into the 1970s including I just Can’t aid Believing (later a hit single and in-concert favourite because that Elvis Presley) and also No Love at all (1970), the exuberant gospel-styled Mighty Clouds of pleasure (1971) and Rock and Roll Lullaby (1972), and would optimal the us pop chart again with (Hey won’t You Play) another Somebody Done someone Wrong song (1975).


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BJ cutting board performing in 2015. That struggled through drug addiction, getting to rock bottom, but managed come quit in 1976. He additionally found religion. Photograph: Mike Windle/Getty ImagesThe last of these additionally topped the US nation chart, whereby he would make many appearances, including the No 1 hits whatever Happened come Old-Fashioned Love and brand-new Looks indigenous An Old Lover (both 1983). In 1981 the was invite to sign up with the grand Ole Opry in Nashville. In the so late 70s and 80s, he score a string of hits together a gospel and also inspirational singer.

Billy Joe cutting board was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, the second of three kids of Vernon and Geneva Thomas. He flourished up in Houston and also then Rosenberg, Texas, graduating native Rosenberg’s Lamar consolidated high school.

He was dubbed “BJ” as soon as he played little League baseball at school, to identify him from several other players dubbed Billy Joe. Thomas explained how, later on on, “I went through years of extreme alcoholism and drug addiction” and also it to be music that offered as his lifeline.

He had sung in church as a child, and also later drew inspiration indigenous singers including Williams, Mahalia Jackson and also Jackie Wilson. He especially took to love the uplifting article from Wilson’s track To it is in Loved. Through his older brothers Jerry, he joined a neighborhood pop band, the Triumphs, when he remained in high school. They taped I’m for this reason Lonesome I could Cry because that the Pacemaker record label, which ended up being a million-selling struggle after it was picked increase by brand-new York’s Scepter Records, house to together artists as the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick and also Tammi Terrell.

Thomas’s success meant that he was in need internationally and was typically on tour, but his troubles with drugs reached life-threatening proportions in the early 70s. That told the connected Press: “I had begun to overdose a few times. They had actually to hook me approximately a machine to save me alive. When I was pronounced dead. My marital relationship was a failure. Ultimately I was completely at the bottom in mine life.”

He reconciled v his wife, Gloria Richardson, whom he had married in 1968, and with her aid gave up drugs in 1976. He discovered religion too, and made his first gospel-styled album residence Where i Belong. It winner him the an initial of his five Grammy awards in 1977, and also that year the sang at the memorial business for Elvis Presley. Thomas defined his an individual struggles in his autobiography, residence Where i Belong (1978).

He make a couple of forays into acting. He play the gunslinger Jocko in a western dubbed Jory (1973) and appeared in the comedy-drama Jake’s corner (2008). A more rewarding screen-related undertaking was his performance of As long As We obtained Each Other, the theme song to the 80s TV sitcom cultivation Pains.

This take it on a life that its own, being an initial recorded by thomas solo, climate in a duet through Jennifer Warnes for the show’s 2nd season, climate in prolonged version sung through Thomas and also Dusty Springfield. This critical incarnation showed up on Thomas’s album Midnight Minute (1989) and also was a hit on the adult modern-day chart.

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He retained touring and recording, and also The life Room Sessions (2013) consisted of acoustic execution of a dozen the his hits, with guest appearances by Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill, Richard Marx and others.