Friday, August 7, 2009

Somebody done somebody wrong

Happy birthday, Billy Joe Thomas.

Some of us remember you before you were cool, before "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head'' propelled you to stardom and you could seemingly do no wrong.

We knew, without even knowing what you looked like -- and that surely sealed the deal -- that you weren't going to be producing little-known singles for Hickory Records your whole career. So we played the grooves off "Billy and Sue'' and waited for it to happen.

Next we snagged "The Eyes of a New York Woman'' and thought, yep, this guy has a chance. Then came "Hooked on a Feeling'' and there was no doubt whatsoever -- that single climbed the charts to No. 5 and now everyone knew your voice (and the face that went with it).

The movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'' was your magic carpet ride, helping "Raindrops'' become one of the most popular songs of 1969. There you were, the pride of Hugo, Okla., hottest new singer on the planet.

Then we went off to college and started listening to music that wasn't so, well, mainstream. Music that had been around awhile but we hadn't been exposed to. And it was all albums -- nobody brought 45s to the dorm. Albums like "Traffic'' and "Disraeli Gears'' and "Electric Ladyland'' and "Trout Mask Replica.''

And we dropped you like a bad habit. Not that it mattered one bit. Then, or now. Tomorrow night when you take the stage at the Palace Theatre in Corsicana, Texas, you'll have a packed house of people hootin' and hollerin' and making a big fuss over you. Still slaying 'em at 67.

Way to go, man.

1 comment:

  1. I once visited the LBJ ranch near Austin. ON a tram ride around the spread, there was a loudspeaker playing "Raindrops" over and over. I guess LBJ dug it.