BJ Thomas has stage 4 lung cancer, the Grammy-winning singer said today through his representatives. The man who topped the Hot 100 with “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head” from the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and had four other top 10 singles receiving treatment at a Texas health facility and hoping for a full recovery.
Saying that he plans to continue interacting with his colleagues and industry fans and remains optimistic about his availability to make public appearances, Thomas released this statement via his publicists at 2911 Media:
“I just wanted to take this unique opportunity to share my gratitude to Gloria, my wonderful wife and rocker for over 53 years, my family, friends and fans. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to record and perform beautiful songs in pop, country and gospel music, and to share these wonderful songs and memories around the world with millions of you. I ask all your prayers during this time and may my music live with you.
The Oklahoma native who grew up in Texas broke through in 1966 with his version of Hank Williams’ 1949 song “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. He has scored a second national hit with “Hooked on a Feeling” at the end of 1968 – a song that reached number 1 in its version “Ooga-Chucka” by Blue Swede six years later.
The following year, Thomas recorded “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head,” which Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote for 20th Century Fox. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The film went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1969 and won the Oscar for Best Song, while the single became Thomas’ No.1 debut, spending four weeks at the top in early 1970.
The song also earned Thomas his first Grammy nomination; was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014; and is heard in later movies and TV shows ranging from Forrest Gump and Spider-Man 2 at Registrars II, Family Guy and last year “Mrs. America.”
While listening to the classic song, it is easy to notice what appears to be difficulty on the part of the singer. Thomas was actually recovering from laryngitis when he recorded it, which gave “Raindrops” its singular vocal sound.
Thomas returned to the top 10 that year with “I Just Can’t Help Believing” before a streak spanning nearly five years as only two of his singles – “No Love at All” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby” , with Duane Eddy on guitar – reached the national top 20.
He returned to the pop spotlight in 1975 with “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song,” which became his second pop No. 1 and won the Grammy for Best Country Song for. his writers Chips Moman & Larry Butler. It’s also the song with the longest title topping the Hot 100.
Thomas has had an irregular pop career since then, but has continued to record gospel and inspirational music. He won Grammy Awards annually from 1976 to 1981 for his recordings of titles such as “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Amazing Grace” and the 1976 album. Home where I belong.
He continued to record and perform.