Billy Joe Thomas famed as B. J. Thomas was an Award-Winning American Singer as well as an Author. He was widely known for his pop, country, and Christian hits of the 1960s and 1970s. As a teenager, he sang with his church choir and later formed his first band, The Traits and the Triumphs, with his high school friends and released their album “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” via Pacemaker Records. He earned his first #1 single in 1969 with “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.” He ranked in Billboard’s top 50 most played artists of the last 50 years. He had won five Grammy Awards, two Dove Awards for his gospel albums, and has sold more than 70 million albums during his lifetime. His other recordings of “Hooked on a Feeling” (1968), “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (1969), and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (1975).
Cause of Death
On 23rd March 2021, B. J. Thomas announced on his official Facebook page that he had stage IV lung cancer and was being treated in Texas. Sadly, he died approximately nine weeks later on 29th May 2021 at his home in Arlington, Texas. He dies at 78 and his death cause was lung cancer. “I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country, and gospel music, and to share those wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you,” he said in a statement at the time.
- Being an American singer who is widely recognized for his pop, country, and Christian hits of the 1960s and 1970s.
- For his Academy Award, Winning Song “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” written by Burt Bacharach.
What was the Nationality of B. J. Thomas?
Born on 7th August 1942, B. J. Thomas’s place of birth was Hugo, Oklahoma, the USA. Whereas his hometown was Houston, Texas where he grew up and experienced his childhood. His real name was Billy Joe Thomas. Leo was his Zodiac sign and he followed the Christianity religion. He was American by nationality and he belonged to American-White ethnic background. He was born to his parents; father, Vernon Thomas, and his mother, Geneva Thomas. His father was an alcoholic who was happiest around music, especially the country songs of Williams and Ernest Tubb. He also had two siblings; a brother and a sister named Jerry Thomas and Judy Thomas. B. J. Thomas lastly celebrated his 78th birthday with his close ones. In the year 1981, on his 39th birthday, he became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Concerning his educational qualification, Thomas graduated from Lamar Consolidated High School in Rosenberg. He broadened his own musical horizons while listening to gospel, soul, and early rock music by Mahalia Jackson, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. He sang with his church choir as a teenager. He formed his first band, The Traits and the Triumphs, with his high school friends.
How was the Singing Career of B. J. Thomas?
- B. J. Thomas initially sang in a church choir as a teenager. After then, he joined the musical group, The Traits and the Triumphs with Tim Griffith (lead guitar), Tom Griffith (bass), Denver “Zeke” Zatyka (keyboards), Don Drachenberg (vocal and sax), and Ted Mensik (drums).
- The group held several Battle of the Bands events in the early 1960s.
- It was in the year 1966, Thomas and the group, The Triumphs released their debut album “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” via Pacemaker Records.
- The album featured a hit cover of the Hank Williams song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” which sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.
- Their next single “Mama”, peaked at number 22.
- Then, Thomas released a solo album of the same title on the Scepter Records label.
- He rose to fame with the release of the 1968 album “The Eyes of a New York Woman”.
- He then released a pop son “Hooked on a Feeling” which featured the sound of Reggie Young’s electric sitar and was first released on the album “On My Way”.
- The song “Hooked on a Feeling” became Thomas’s second million-selling record.
- He was then seen performing the Bacharach/David song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” for the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” winning the Academy Award for best original song that year and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970 which sales also exceeded one million copies. He was even awarded his third gold record.
- Thomas’s other hits of the 1970s were “Everybody’s Out of Town”, “I Just Can’t Help Believing” (number 9 in 1970, covered by Elvis Presley), “No Love at All”, “Mighty Clouds of Joy”, and “Rock and Roll Lullaby”.
- In the year 1972, he left Scepter Records and signed with Paramount Records in 1973 and 1974.
- With Paramount Records, he released two albums, “Songs” (1973) and “Longhorns & Londonbridges” (1974).
- He released the album “Reunion” on ABC Records in 1975 which became his first big hit since 1972 and secured him his fourth gold record.
- Next, he released “Home Where I Belong” in the year 1976 which went for platinum. He successfully became the biggest contemporary Christian music artist of the period.
- He recorded “As Long as We Got Each Other” for the TV series “Growing Pains”. He first released this track on his 1985 album Throwing Rocks at the Moon (Columbia Records).
- After that, he starred in the movies “Jory and Jake’s Corner”.
- He released his next album “The Living Room Sessions” on 2nd April 2013.
- On 3rd December 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that his 1969 single “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” would be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
- The New York Times Magazine listed him among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire on 25th June 2019.
- B. J. Thomas was also an author who released two books; the autobiography “Home Where I Belong”.
Awards and Achievements
- Won GMA Dove Awards for his album “Home Where I Belong” in 1976
- Won 5 Grammy Awards for his work “Home Where I Belong” in 1977, “Happy Man” in 1978, “You Gave Me Love” (When Nobody Gave Me a Prayer) in 1979, “The Lord’s Prayer” in 1980, “Amazing Grace” in 1981
- Won GMA Dove Awards for his work in “Amazing Grace” in 1981
- Won NARAS for his work in “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” under Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2014
Who was B. J. Thomas married to?
B. J. Thomas was a married man. He tied the knot to his beautiful wife, Gloria Richardson. His spouse, Gloria is a singer and songwriter by profession. The duo was also blessed with three kids; daughters named Paige (born in 1970), Nora (Adopted in 1978 from Korea), & Erin (born in 1979). Due to his habit of drugs and alcohol, their marriage nearly came to end. On 28th January 1976, he became a Christian, less than a month after Gloria did. Most press sources indicated that he had been sober since he and Gloria reconciled in 1976. Sadly, he died due to lung cancer. He is survived by his wife, Gloria, and their three children.
How much was B. J. Thomas Net Worth?
Talented singer, B. J. Thomas had made a quite good amount of money from his achievements. At the time of his death, the net worth of B. J. Thomas was $6 Million whereas his salary details and career earnings are still to unfold yet. His major source of wealth was from the music industry. He serves as a role model to many upcoming aspiring musicians. Several commercial jingles, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Bell Telephone, have featured his singing voice and music. On 31st December 2011, he was the featured halftime performer at the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Prior to his death, he was enjoying a luxurious lifestyle.
How tall was B. J. Thomas?
B. J. Thomas was a very handsome man with curly hair. He had a perfect height of 5 ft 9 in or 1.75 m. Details about his weight and other body size have not been revealed yet. His body type was slim.