Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma in 1942. As a child he sang in the local Baptist church, eventually joining a pop group called the Triumphs alongside his older brother Jerry. The band (led by Thomas) landed a Top 10 pop single with their cover of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams. The single effectively launched Thomas’ solo career; in 1965, Scepter Records released an album featuring Thomas’ version of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (the LP art was simply a picture of Thomas, alone and in tears).
Thomas released four albums between his solo debut and the record that would carry his biggest hit: “Raindrops Keep Fallin ‘on My Head” from 1969. The song was written and produced by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the classic western buddy (and the Paul Newman / Robert Redford vehicle) Butch Cassidy et le Sundance Kid. “Raindrops” plays at a famous scene where Cassidy (Newman) takes Etta Place (Katherine Ross) for a bike ride. Thomas performed the song at the 42nd Academy Awards in 1970, which featured dancers and cycling choreography inspired by the film.
Aside from “Raindrops”, Thomas’ best-known single is his first version of “Hooked on a Feeling”, which he recorded in 1968 for his album. On my way. Thomas’ style oscillated between pop and country, and his songs often resonated with audiences of both genres. In 1975, his single “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” reached No. 1 on the country and pop charts.
In the mid-1970s, Thomas converted to Christianity and set out on the road to recovery from years of drug and alcohol abuse. In 1977, he sang at the memorial service of Elvis Presley, who had a palpable influence on Thomas’ work, alongside artists like Hank Williams and Jackie Wilson. Thomas recorded dozens of records during his decades of career. His last studio album to receive an official release was from 2013. Show sessions.