B.J. Thomas Dies at 78

The Grammy-winning vocalist's celebrated hits include "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and "Hooked on a Feeling"

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished May 31, 2021

Grammy-winning vocalist B.J. Thomas — best known for his recordings of "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" — has died. Thomas' publicist confirmed the artist died Saturday (May 29) of complications from lung cancer. He was 78.

Sharing news of his diagnosis in March, Thomas wrote, "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."

Born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, Thomas first found mainstream success with a cover of Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," recorded with band the Triumphs. Two years later, his performance of "Hooked on a Feeling" — written by childhood friend Mark James — would land him the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would shoot Thomas to superstardom with his performance of the Bacharach/David song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." The memorable tune won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year and earned Thomas his first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 in January 1970.

Thomas' chart success would continue alongside a spiral into substance abuse. He became a born-again Christian in 1976, which also led to a move into recording and releasing gospel music. His 1976 album Home Where I Belong stands as the first Christian album to achieve platinum certification.

Over his career, Thomas won five Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Grammys Hall of Fame in 2014. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and four grandchildren.

Latest Coverage