Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman meets a singer who found a silver lining behind the rain clouds.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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B.J. Thomas was born Aug. 7, 1942, in Hugo, Okla., but was raised near Houston. By his early twenties, Thomas began working with famed Texas producer Huey Meaux. In 1968, Thomas had his first major hit with “Hooked on a Feeling.” However, it was the theme song for the 1969 Academy-Award winning film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that brought B.J Thomas international fame. Despite his early success, BJ Thomas struggled for years with substance abuse and other problems. However, like the resilient character in his best-known song, he survived that stormy period in his life and went on to win six Grammys and release a string of million-selling hits, including “I Just Can’t Help Believing” and “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love?”
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll celebrate a pioneer of soul music who also enjoyed singing country songs.