B.J. Thomas

Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head/Everybody's Out of Town

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B.J. Thomas had hits before “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” -- big ones, too, like “Hooked on a Feeling,” -- but that 1969 single made his career, establishing him as a first-class adult contemporary singer. Naturally, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”’s prominent position in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid was instrumental in this breakthrough -- its blockbuster status guaranteeing Thomas a bump -- but the LP Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head followed through on the single, abandoning any lingering Texas soul influences remaining in Thomas and focusing firmly on pop. Bacharach & David are heard on the title track and “This Guy’s In Love with You,” Jimmy Webb has two songs (“If You Must Leave My Life,” “Do What You Gotta Do”), Mark James, author of “Hooked on a Feeling,” has two cuts, including “Suspicious Minds,” and Bobby Russell’s ‘60s standard “Little Green Apples” gets an airing. What’s most revealing is Thomas' choice of "The Greatest Love” from Joe South -- it’s one of South’s poppiest numbers, and B.J. gives it an appropriately soft and symphonic treatment. This orchestrated, yet not dramatic, arrangement is the sound of Raindrops, and it’s the sound of mainstream crossover pop at the late ‘60s, the sound that Thomas made his own starting with this very record. Song for song, it’s not quite as interesting as Young and in Love, but it holds together as well as that album, and offered a better indication of B.J.’s career path.

Following up the success of “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” may have been the easiest thing B.J. Thomas ever had to do professionally. He now had the sound, the style, and the songwriters, all he had to do was offer some more of the same, and that’s precisely what 1970’s Everybody’s Out of Town offered. The LP had the same mix of new tunes from major pop songwriters -- Bacharach & David, authors of “Raindrops,” being the most prominent, naturally -- covers of current popular tunes (“Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Oh Me, Oh My,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Jr. Walker’s “What Does It Take”) and a host of pleasant MOR material. There are some subtle differences -- there’s a little bit of a heavier soul vibe here and Bacharach/David’s shuffling neo-vaudeville tunes somewhat oddly build upon the old-timey vibe of Butch Cassidy -- but the chief allure of the album is its softness, how it can still seem smooth when Thomas is pouring whatever remnants of his soulful past into his phrasing. This may not have much grit, but it’s not meant to: it’s lush MOR, and in that regard, it does its job well, if not without a whole lot of distinction.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:51
2 3:05
3 3:41
4 2:35
5 3:38
6 2:55
7 3:04
8 3:28
9 2:21
10 5:53
11 2:40
12 2:43
13 2:41
14 2:57
15 2:43
16 3:07
17 2:33
18 2:23
19 3:16
20 4:25
21 3:57
22 2:05
23 2:16
24 3:58
25 4:17
blue highlight denotes track pick