Singer B.J. Thomas Dies @ 78

B.J. Thomas, who sang the evergreen hits "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," died Saturday, May 29, at his Arlington, Texas. He was 89.

Thomas in his heyday, and in recent times

The versatile singer had previously announced he had terminal lung cancer in March. His Facebook page broke the sad news of his death.

The artist, who sold over 70 million albums across his 50 years in entertainment, was one of radio's most-played of the last century.

Born Billy Joe Thomas on August 7, 1942, in Hugo, Oklahoma, Thomas was first a member of B.J. Thomas & the Triumphs, which released a debut album in 1966 featuring its hit cover of the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry."

That song went gold, and a second single, "Mama," was also a Top 40 success.

Thomas's solo album on the Scepter Records label, 1968's "On My Way," marked the beginning of a career with 14 more Top 40 hits, including "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), the latter two of which hit #1 on the "Billboard" Hot 100.

Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as the theme for the Paul Newman/Robert Redford buddy western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" took home the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Previously Grammy-nominated, Thomas won his five statuettes during his later career as a gospel crossover star, and in 2014 was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "Raindrops."

Thomas was also known to TV fans as the singer of the theme song to Growing Pains (1985-1992).

Upon announcing his terminal illness two months ago, Thomas wrote, "I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and my rock for over 53 years, my family, friends, and fans."

He is survived by his wife Gloria (pictured with Thomas on the homepage teaser of this post), three daughters, and four grandchildren.

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