B.J Thomas would have celebrated his 80th birthday this week.
B.J, which stands for Billy Joe was born in Oklahoma and is a pop and country singer. He is virtually unknown in the UK, but millions will know his songs.
He recorded the original versions of songs that many other covered and had hits with including, Mama (Dave Berry), Always On My Mind (Elvis & Pet Shop Boys), I Just Can’t Help Believin’ (Elvis), It’s Only Love (Elvis), Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (Sacha Distel) and Whatever Happened to Old-Fashioned Love (Daniel O’Donnell).
In the USA, he had a number of pop and country hits including his first hit, a cover of Hank Williams’ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1966), Hooked On a Feeling (1968) and his 1975 chart-topper (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.
He has also appeared in the movies Jory (1973) and Jake’s Corner (2008) as well as recording various advert jingles, including ones for Coca-Cola, Pepsi and the Bell Telephone Company.
In March 2021, he made a statement on his Facebook page saying he was suffering from stage four lung cancer but died two months later.
Here he is on the Nashville Now in 1993 performing his original of an Elvis hit.