What: B.J. Thomas (presented by Firefighters Burn Fund of Victoria)
Where: Royal Theatre
When: Two shows Sunday: 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25.50 (tel. 250-382-6121)
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Singer B.J. Thomas says there's no contest when it comes to his two most recognizable hits.
"Personally, I could have lived without Raindrops [Keep Fallin' on My Head]. But I couldn't have lived without Hooked on a Feeling," Thomas, 66, said from his home in Dallas-Fort Worth yesterday.
Despite his personal preference, the Texas singer promises to serve up both on Sunday when he and his four-piece band play back-to-back shows at the Royal Theatre.
The concerts are fundraisers for the Firefighters Burn Fund of Victoria, which is endeavouring to collect $750,000 over the next four years to expand the burn unit at Royal Jubilee Hospital.
Although also a successful country and gospel singer, Thomas is mostly known for his pop songs of the 1960s and '70s. Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head (1969) is the Academy-Award-winning theme song for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
That year Thomas had another hit with Hooked on a Feeling (also a chart-topper for Blue Swede in 1974).
Thomas's diverse career includes a string of country smashes, starting in 1975 with (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.
The curse of having a No. 1 hit (Raindrops topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970) is that, over the decades, people want to hear it at every concert. Many performers resent this -- some even refuse to play old favourites. Not Thomas, who says his best-known songs are tied to happy memories.
"I don't have that feeling about them. They're kind of a part of me now, I've done them so many times," he said.
These days, Thomas admits "the releases are a little quieter than they used to be." His latest release is Best of B.J. Thomas, released by Curb Records in August.
Thomas has also contributed six songs to the soundtrack of an independent film, Jake's Corner, and just cut a Brazilian album.
For some reason, the singer is big in Brazil.
"I still tour there every three or four or five years," Thomas said. "They like those mellow, romantic songs."
The singer, who grew up in Hugo, Okla., was initially attracted to the music of country singers such as Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams.
In 1966 he had a hit with Williams's I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, which he recorded with his band the Triumphs.
In 1976, Thomas declared himself a born-again Christian and released a commercially successful Christian album, Home Where I Belong.
Today he says: "I'm not a religious person. I'm a spiritual guy, but I'm not big on religion."