Five-time Grammy award winner and Grammy Hall of Fame inductee, B.J. Thomas, has died today at his home in Arlington, Texas. He was 78 years old. On March 23, 2021, Thomas announced on his official Facebook page that he had stage IV lung cancer and he was being treated in Texas. He died from complications due to stage four lung cancer.
Over his lengthy career that began in the mid-60s, Thomas had made his mark across various genres, including pop, country, and Christian music. In terms of Christian music, Thomas recorded Home Where I Belong, on Myrrh Records in 1976. Produced by Chris Christian, the project won Thomas a Grammy and became the first of two Dove Award wins. The album became the first gospel record to sell a million copies.The album is the first of several gospel albums. It was the first Christian album to go platinum, and Thomas became the biggest contemporary Christian artist of the period.
The warmth and emotional timbre of Thomas's voice was well suited to the genre and he became one of gospel music's most successful artists. His rendition of "Amazing Grace" is considered one of the most poignant of the classic hymn's many covers. Altogether, between 1976 to 1982, Thomas recorded 8 Christian albums for Myrhh Records.
Throughout his career, Thomas scored 6 Billboard Christian Top 10 hits, including the #1 hit "Jesus on My Mind." Other standout Christian songs during this era include the Christmas single "God Bless the Children," "Happy Man," "What a Difference You Have Made," and "I Want to be More Like Jesus." Here's a walk back memory lane, as we take a listen to a couple of Thomas' biggest CCM hits:
In the 90s when Thomas' country and pop hits have dried up, he continued to record three more Christian-themed albums for Warner Brothers. However, this time around, he spent more time re-visiting the older hymns of the church.
A quote from his website exemplifies Thomas' humble attitude and appreciation for life. "All I am is just another guy. I've been very lucky," he shared. "I've had a wonderful life, I've been a husband and a father who cherishes his children and now I'm a grandfather, and I'm motivated like all these teachers and preachers and mothers and fathers to help my kids grow up with character and self-respect. I hope that doesn't sound too grandiose, but that's what it comes down to. It's what I've tried to do with my music and with the majority of my life."
Funeral arrangements are forthcoming and will remain private. In lieu of flowers, in-memoriam donations will be accepted by Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the SPCA of Texas.