Thursday, June 19, 2008
It has been a few weeks since we journeyed down to Arlington, TX to interview B.J. Thomas, but better late than never, right?
Well, I am sure everyone, no matter how young or old, has heard the songs "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," "Hooked on a Feeling," and "I Just Can't Help Believing." I knew the songs, but didn't know that they were sung by an amazing artist who lived only a few hours away from the Oklahoma History Center. B.J. Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, raised in Houston and now lives in Arlington, Texas.
On June 3rd, Larry(the research guy), Jeff (the exhibit guy), Beau(the video guy), and me (general flunky) saddled up all the video equipment and headed down I-35 to Arlington. What would have been a simple journey--if the native Texans had been allowed to navigate--became a huge ordeal when the native Oklahomans (who had the directions in their car I might add) got us turned around a LOT. And only one time was because of construction....
We finally got to B.J.'s gorgeous house in Arlington once Jeff and I took over the lead. His house is fabulous--and not in the ostentatious, I am a music star way that he could have. The art, obviously chosen by the family because of it's heavy emphasis on portraits and the like, was fantastic (you will be able to see several pieces in the documentary because Beau filmed him in front of a really cool sculpture). B.J. has 5 Grammy's, but they are on the middle shelf of a display case on the side of the living room. It was awesome to walk around and just marvel at the fact that I was in the room with 5 Grammy's, much less the man who earned them!!
Once we finally got settled in and Beau got everything set up (well, as much as he could since several light cables decided to jump ship and stayed at the History Center all cozy in some dimly-lit corner) Larry jumped into the interview. B.J. talked about his brief, 2 week, stay in Oklahoma as a newborn and the many ways he is trying to rediscover his roots. We found out that B.J. has had as many, if not more hits, in Brazil as in the United States. That is pretty astounding since he has had 15 Top 40 Pop/Rock hits, 10 Top 40 Country hits and many gospel hits. In fact, B.J. is the only artist to have ever had the "Song of the Year" on the pop, country and gospel charts. There are numerous other awards and accomplishments---it is pretty easy to say that B.J. has had a fabulous career, and it is nowhere near being over.
He is still recording and putting out music. In fact, he tours all the time, both in the states and abroad. That is pretty impressive when you consider that he has been performing since he joined the Triumphs in 1966.
All in all, it was a great visit. Darrell, B.J.'s manager, took a few shots of us with B.J.--those are the pics that are up at the top.