‘Hooked on a Feeling’ singer B.J. Thomas dies at 78

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B.J. Thomas, the Grammy-winning singer who loved success on the pop, nation and gospel charts with such hits as “I Simply Can’t Assist Believing,” “Raindrops Maintain Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” has died. He was 78.

Thomas, who introduced in March that he had been recognized with lung most cancers, died from problems of the illness Saturday at his house in Arlington, Texas, his publicist Jeremy Westby stated in a press release.

A Hugo, Oklahoma-native who grew up in Houston, Billy Joe Thomas broke by means of in 1966 with a gospel-styled cowl of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Might Cry” and went on to promote thousands and thousands of data and have dozens of hits throughout genres. He reached No. 1 with pop, grownup up to date and nation listeners in 1976 with ″(Hey Gained’t You Play) One other Someone Carried out Someone Mistaken Track.” The identical 12 months, his “Dwelling The place I Belong” grew to become one of many first gospel albums to be licensed platinum for promoting greater than 1 million copies.

Dionne Warwick, who duetted with Thomas, despatched out a tweet Saturday along with her condolences.

“My honest condolences to the household of one in every of my favourite duet companions, BJ Thomas. I’ll miss him as I do know so many others will as properly. Relaxation In Peace my buddy,” she stated.

Thomas’ signature recording was “Raindrops Maintain Fallin’ On My Head,” a No. 1 pop hit and an Oscar winner for finest authentic tune as a part of the soundtrack to one of many greatest films of 1969, the irreverent Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Child.” Thomas wasn’t the primary option to carry out the whimsical ballad composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; Ray Stevens turned the songwriters down. However his heat, soulful tenor match the tune’s easygoing temper, immortalized on movie through the scene when Butch (Paul Newman) exhibits off his new bicycle to Etta Place (Katharine Ross), the girlfriend of the Sundance Child (Robert Redford).

“Raindrops” has since been heard in every single place from “The Simpsons” to “Forrest Gump” and was voted into the Grammy Corridor of Fame in 2013. However, at first, not everybody was happy. Thomas was recovering from laryngitis whereas recording the soundtrack model and his vocals are raspier than for the monitor launched by itself. Redford, in the meantime, doubted the tune even belonged in “Butch Cassidy.”

“When the movie was launched, I used to be extremely essential — how did the tune match with the movie? There was no rain,” Redford informed USA At this time in 2019. “On the time, it appeared like a dumb concept. How incorrect I used to be.”

Thomas would later say the phenomenon of “Raindrops” exacerbated an dependancy to capsules and alcohol which dated again to his teenagers, when a report producer in Houston advised he take amphetamines to maintain his vitality up. He was touring and recording continually and taking dozens of capsules a day. By 1976, whereas ″(Hey Gained’t You Play) One other Someone Carried out Someone Mistaken Track” was hitting No. 1, he felt like he was “#1,000.”

“I used to be on the backside with my addictions and my issues,” he stated in 2020 on “The Debby Campbell Goodtime Present.” He cited a “non secular awakening,” shared along with his spouse, Gloria Richardson, with serving to him to get clear.

Thomas had few pop hits after the mid-Nineteen Seventies, however he continued to attain on the nation charts with such No. 1 songs as “No matter Occurred to Previous-Customary Love” and “New Appears from an Previous Lover.” Within the late Nineteen Seventies and early ’80s, he was additionally a high gospel and inspirational singer, successful two Dove awards and 5 Grammys, together with a Grammy in 1979 for finest gospel efficiency for “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Followers of the Eighties sitcom “Rising Pains” heard him because the singer of the present’s theme tune. He additionally acted in a handful of flicks, together with “Jory” and “Jake’s Nook” and toured typically. Current recordings included “Residing Room Music,” that includes cameos from Lyle Lovett, Vince Gill and Richard Marx. He had deliberate to report in 2020 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, however the classes had been delayed due to the pandemic.

Thomas married Richardson in 1968, and had three daughters: Paige, Nora and Erin. He and his spouse labored on the 1982 memoir “In Tune: Discovering How Good Life Can Be.” His e book “Dwelling The place I Belong” got here out in 1978 and was co-authored by Jerry B. Jenkins, later well-known for the million-selling “Left Behind” non secular novels written with Tim LaHaye.

In addition to music, Thomas cherished baseball as a child and began calling himself B.J. as a result of so many Little League teammates additionally had been named Billy Joe. By his teenagers, he was singing in church and had joined a neighborhood rock band, the Triumphs, whom he would stick with into his 20s. He loved Ernest Tubbs, Hank Williams and different nation performers his dad and mom favored, however on his personal he was impressed by the soul and rhythm and blues singers he heard on the radio or noticed on stage, notably Jackie Wilson, whose hit ballad “To Be Beloved” Thomas later coated and adopted as a type of information to his life.

“I used to be raised in a reasonably dysfunctional state of affairs and I went by means of years of intense alcoholism and drug dependancy so the tune was all the time a touchstone for me. Once you open your self as much as medicine and alcohol at such a younger age it turns into one thing you must take care of the remainder of your life,” he informed the Huffington Publish in 2014.

“What a street block and heartbreak and instances of failure these addictions have induced me. However I had that little piece of lightning from that tune. That’s the essence of the entire thing. To like and be cherished. And that takes a lifetime to perform. It’s all the time been an vital a part of my feelings.”

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This story has been corrected to point out that Thomas sang the theme tune to “Rising Pains,” not “The Details of Life.”

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