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Singer BJ Thomas Dead at 78

Singer's success spanned pop, country, and gospel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 30, 2021 5:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – B.J. Thomas, the Grammy-winning singer who enjoyed success on the pop, country and gospel charts with such hits as “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and “Hooked on a Feeling,” has died. Per the AP, he was 78. Thomas, who announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, died from complications of the disease Saturday at his home in Arlington, Texas, his publicist Jeremy Westby said in a statement. Billy Joe Thomas broke through in 1966 with a gospel-styled cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and went on to sell millions of records and have dozens of hits across genres. He reached No. 1 with pop, adult contemporary and country listeners in 1976 with (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”

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The same year, his “Home Where I Belong” became one of the first gospel albums to be certified platinum for selling more than 1 million copies. His signature recording was “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” a No. 1 pop hit and an Oscar winner for best original song as part of the soundtrack to one of the biggest movies of 1969, the irreverent Western “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Thomas had few pop hits after the mid-1970s, but he continued to score on the country charts. Fans of the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains” heard him as the singer of the show’s theme song. He also acted in a handful of movies and toured often. Thomas married Gloria Richardson in 1968, and had three daughters: Paige, Nora and Erin.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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