SHIPSHEWANA — For B.J. Thomas, what comes next will be something new and entirely familiar.
During a recent phone interview with The Goshen News, Thomas — known for hits including “Hooked on a Feeling,” “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” — talked about a couple of upcoming album projects. One is planned as an R&B effort.
Thomas’ musical output thus far has included country, pop and gospel. A mix of genres has been part of his career from the start. Thomas recalled that as a teen, he and his bandmates would learn the Top 40 hits.
“In the Top 40 days, all the genres were on one station,” Thomas said. “So it really hasn’t been that much of a conscious thing, especially when I started in the music (business). R&B was my favorite — Bobby Bland, Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, all those guys were part of our repertoire. And it’s kind of been one genre I haven’t done very much with on record.”
Thomas is looking forward to making that record. Before he does, he’ll be making a trip to LaGrange County. Thomas is scheduled to perform at the Shipshewana Event Center Thursday. The show is part of the Blue Gate Theater concert series.
Music has been part of Thomas’ life for most of his life. He said he and his brother loved music from the time they were young, “and I’m sure we got that from dad.”
“The Grand Ole Opry was on every Saturday night,” Thomas continued. “My dad was a huge country music fan. That was kind of our first experience with music. We loved all those guys, especially Hank Williams.”
Thomas was also a fan early on of gospel performers including Mahalia Jackson, and Thomas’ later foray into gospel music proved successful. His first gospel album, released in the mid-’70s, was the first-ever platinum-selling album in gospel music history. Thomas would eventually notch four platinum gospel releases, as well as several Grammy awards in gospel/inspirational music categories.