You know the songs he sang: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Hooked on a Feeling,” and “Don’t Worry Baby.” When B.J. Thomas comes to The Lyric Theatre, he brings 50 years of gold records, five Grammy Awards, two Dove Awards and many No. 1 hits. Thomas has sold more than 70 million records and is ranked in Billboard’s top 50 Most Played Artists of the last 50 years, because so many of us remember the songs as part of the soundtrack of our lives.
Thomas was raised in Houston and sang in the church choir. He joined the group The Triumphs, and in 1966, when Thomas was only 24, they released the album, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, with a cover of that hit Hank Williams song. The single sold over a million copies and earned a gold record. In 1968, he released “Hooked on a Feeling,” which became his second million-seller. A year later, the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kidfeatured the Hal David/Burt Bacharach song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” sung by Thomas. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song and hit No. 1 on the BillboardHot 100. It earned Thomas his third gold record in four years.
In the 1970s, Thomas had hits with “Everybody’s Out of Town,” “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “No Love at All,” “Mighty Clouds of Joy” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby.” In 1975, he received his fourth gold record for “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” which also had the distinction of being the longest titled No. 1 to hit the top 100.
In 1976, Thomas’ career took a turn in direction, with Home Where I Belong, the first of his gospel albums and the first Christian album to go platinum. He also recorded his last Top 40 hit, “Don’t Worry Baby.” In the 1980s, many of his singles began to chart in country music. They included “Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love,” and “New Looks from an Old Lover.” In 1981, on his 39thbirthday, he became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Thomas wasn’t finished. He recorded “As Long as We Have each Other,” the theme from the television show Growing Pains.
In 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that “Raindrops” would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. That year, Thomas released The Living Room Sessions, an album with acoustic arrangements of well-known hits. He used a “wish list” of guest artists from a variety of genres, including Richard Marx for “Hey Won’t You Play,” Vince Gill for “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” Keb’ Mo’ for “Most of All,” Lyle Lovett for “Raindrops,” and Isaac Slade of the Fray for “I’m So Lonesome I could Cry.” There are also several solo performances by Thomas including “Don’t Worry Baby,” a Beach Boys classic Thomas covered in 1977.
Thomas continues to tour and has discovered that he has a loyal fan base. Some years ago, he did an interview with an online DJ, who put together a one-hour package that could be accessed online. It had 3.5 million downloads in three days.
Come and listen. You’ll get hooked on the feeling and the music.