2013 - Individual Artist
Billy Joe Thomas was born August 7th, 1942 at his Grandmother’s home in Hugo, Oklahoma. His parents, Vernon and Geneva Thomas, had three children, Jerry, Billy Joe and Judy. The family moved around often, but they stayed in proximity to Houston, Texas during most of the children’s growing years. The two Thomas boys both loved playing baseball and singing in their church choir. Young Billy Joe adopted the nickname, B.J. when there were too many young men with the name of Billy Joe on his Little League Baseball team. The name followed him through life since that time.
After being convinced by his older brother Jerry to audition for a local band, The Triumphs, Lamar Consolidated High School junior B.J. Thomas became the group's lead singer. The band was a local success with songs such as The Lazy Man and I Got A Feeling. Then their version of the Hank Williams tune, I’m So Lonesome, I Could Cry, caught the ear of young promoter, Steve Tyrell, who talked Scepter Records into releasing the song nationally. B.J. Thomas became one of Scepter Records most successful solo artists.
Soon after becoming a solo artist, B.J. met his wife Gloria at Van’s Ballroom in Houston. She caught his eye because he had at first thought she was his sister, Judy. After seeing each other for some months, they became engaged and were married on December 9th, 1968 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their first child, Paige was born early in 1970. Just after traveling with a Christian crusade of singers, ministers and counselors in Taiwan, B.J. and Gloria adopted their second daughter, Nora from a Korean orphanage in 1978. Soon after returning from Korea with Paige and Nora, Gloria discovered they were again to be blessed with another child, their third daughter, Erin, was born in 1979. B.J. and Gloria are now the proud grandparents to Nora’s 2 daughters Nadia & Keira and Erin’s daughter Ruby.
After overcoming an admitted long struggle with drug and alcohol dependence, B.J. has with love, prayer and support from his family and friends, found a more spiritual base in his life. The Thomas family still resides in their beloved state of Texas. B.J. and Gloria, whom he affectionately calls “the redhead”, celebrated 41 years of marriage this past December. Their beautiful daughter Paige can be seen in B.J.’s video done for his 1993 song “A Southern Girl On A Summer Night”. The entire Thomas family can be seen in the Christmas video for B.J.’s version of “The Christmas Song” shown on GAC during the holidays.
During the 4 decades B.J. has performed, he has:
Sold more than 70 million records.
Earned 2 Platinum records.
Had 11 Gold records.
Won 5 Grammy Awards.
Won 2 Dove Awards for Gospel Recordings including: Home Where I Belong.
Had 15 Top 40 Pop/Rock Hits including: Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Eyes Of A New York Woman, Hooked On A Feeling, Rock and Roll Lullaby, and I Just Can’t Help Believing.
Had 10 Top 40 Country Chart Hits including: (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love, and Two Car Garage.
Become the 60th Member of The Grand Ole Opry in 1981. Though no longer an active member of the Opry, B.J. still performs there as often as his schedule permits.
Been the only artist ever to have the “Song Of The Year” on the Pop, Country and Gospel charts.
B.J. Thomas still maintains a busy touring and appearance schedule during each year. He travels across the United States, as well as internationally to countries such as Canada, Brazil, Australia and more. In his off time, one of B.J.’s favorite pastimes is playing golf.
The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association is honored to welcome you to the 2013 Hall of Fame.