Thomas, a Grammy winner, sold over 70 million albums across his 50 years in entertainment.
Born Billy Joe Thomas on August 7, 1942, in rural Hugo, Oklahoma, he was first a member of the Triumphs in high school. The group, B.J. Thomas & the Triumphs, released a debut album in 1966 that featured its hit cover of the Hank Williams song "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," which went on to become a gold record.
The band also tasted success with the follow-up single, "Mama."
Thomas's solo album on the Scepter Records label was released in 1968. Entitled "On My Way," it marked the beginning of a career with 14 Top 40 hits that included such evergreen numbers as "Hooked on a Feeling" (1968) and the #1 smashes "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (1969) and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" (1975).
"Raindrops," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as the theme for the Paul Newman/Robert Redford buddy western "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), proved especially potent, winning the Oscar for Best Original Song and becoming one of the most-played songs of the 20th century on American radio.
Though Grammy-nominated in his pop/country career, it was when he segued into gospel music that Thomas won his five statuettes.
His last major award was a 2014 NARAS Grammy Hall of Fame induction for "Raindrops."
Thomas was also known to TV fans as the singer of the theme song to "Growing Pains" (1985-1992).
He is survived by his wife Gloria, three daughters, and four grandchildren.