Before achieving success in the late 60’s and 70’s on the pop/rock and country charts, B.J. Thomas started out singing in church during his youth. In the early 1960’s, Thomas joined the musical group The Triumphs in Houston, Texas, who released a number of songs under small labels.
After a brief period with The Triumphs, Thomas began a solo career with a hit cover version of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in 1966. The song soon jumped to No. 8 on the national singles chart in the USA. Despite some follow up chart singles, Thomas was unable to achieve massive mainstream success right away. It was not until 1969, with the release of “Hooked on a Feeling” (which featured the sound of the electric sitar) and his most famous hit “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) that he attained national commercial success.
On January 25th 1970, 24 year old B.J. Thomas appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. “The new recording sensation from our country, B.J. Thomas!” said Ed Sullivan while introducing the singer. That night he opened his act singing “Old Black Magic.” Then he moved on to perform “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” in front of a set that replicated a rural landscape. Accompanying his act were a few dancers who incorporated umbrellas into their routines. At the end of his performance, a fake cloud was brought on top of B.J. and water started pouring on top of him as if it was really raining.
B.J. Thomas came back to The Ed Sullivan Show almost exactly a year later on January 24th 1971. This time, Thomas performed “No Love At All” and a duet of “Your Song” with Nancy Ames.
In the 1970’s, Thomas’ string of hits on the charts continued with “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” his second #1 hit and “Just Can’t Help Believing” a Billboard #9. In the mid-80’s, he reached the top of the charts once more with “Two Car Garage,” “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love” and “New Looks from an Old Lover.” In 1985, he scored another hit by recording “As Long As We Got Each Other,” the theme song to Growing Pains with Jennifer Warnes.
However, his most successful hit continues to be “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” The song has been featured in films such as “Forrest Gump,” “The In-Laws,” “Charlie’s Angles: Full Throttle” and most recently in “Spider-Man 2.”
Since the 1990’s, Thomas has kept a rather low profile for the most part and even though his music is not as mainstream as it used to be, he has continued to tour and record for a small but loyal fan base. Thomas has also found new fans in contemporary Christian music. In addition to his music, B.J. Thomas has also authored two books and starred in the movie “Jory.”
B.J. Thomas’ performances on The Ed Sullivan Show are available on Ed Sullivan Rock ‘n Roll Classics DVD Sets as well as iTunes.