“Hooked on a Feeling” Singer B.J. Thomas Passes Away
Grammy-award winning singer B.J. Thomas, whose chart-topper “Hooked on a Feeling” headlined the soundtrack of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” passed away today at home after a bout with lung cancer. Thomas was 78 years old.
Billy Joe (B.J.) Thomas grew up in Houston after being born in Hugo, Oklahoma. His most famous track actually featured in another film long before “Guardians.”
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Composed by legendary Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Thomas recorded the whimsical “Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” for the classic 1969 20th Century Fox film, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
Famously covering “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams, Thomas found himself topping the charts for pop, country and even gospel albums throughout the late 60s.
Plagued by an addiction to alcohol and pills in the 70s, Thomas faught his addicition with the help of his wife, Gloria Richardson, later in life and found a sort of spiritual awakening, according to interviews.
Despite his addiction, Thomas went on to record hits well into the 70s and 80s, including the theme song to the 1980s sitcom, “The Facts of Life.” Thomas even planned to record new work last year. Those plans changed, however, due to the pandemic.
Richardson and Thomas married in 1968 and raised three daughters, Paige, Nora and Erin. They co-wrote a memoir in 1982 titled, “In Tune: Finding How Good Life Can Be.”
As a child raised on the country, soul and blues music of the South, Thomas often found inspiration in those genres for his own work. As a kid, he sang in church and joined a rock band, but it was the soul of the blues that inspired his life and work.
“What a road block and heartbreak and times of failure these addictions have caused me. But I had that little piece of lightning from [To be Loved by Jackie Wilson]. That’s the essence of the whole thing. To love and be loved. And that takes a lifetime to accomplish. It’s always been an important part of my emotions,” Thomas told the Huffington Post in 2014.
Likewise, Thomas’ song “Hooked on a Feeling” added much emotion to the original “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The song sets the stage after Nova Corps arrests the rouge group who later become the incredibly unique gang of superheroes.
Adding to a throwback soundtrack fit for an 80s Walkman, Thomas’ catchy tune perfectly juxtaposes the pain and agony Quill goes through as the song cranks up, and he tries to retrieve his vintage Sony device.
Written by Mark James, James’ “Hooked on a Feeling” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. The cover by Swedish rockband Blue Swede popped up in “Reservoir Dogs” as well as an episode of “Muppets Tonight.”
As the pinnacle song on Star-Lord’s Walkman, the song also helped propel the 2014 “Guardians” soundtrack to the top of the Billboard 200 and appeared again in the trailer for the 2017 sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.”
Hopefully, Thomas’ song will also feature as part of the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which is due to open at Epcot next year. We know his songs will certainly live on for generations to come.
Feature Image Credit: George Walker IV/The Tennessean