The Oklahoma State Senate honored the life, accomplishments and musical talent of Oklahoma native B.J. Thomas Wednesday.
"The one thing that struck me while looking on his website and through all the information about him is that he always lists Hugo, Oklahoma as his hometown. Wherever he’s gone and whatever he’s accomplished throughout this world it’s always been Oklahoma," said Senator Jeff Rabon, author of Senate Resolution 8. "And I thought we've got to show that we love our favorite sons and daughters, and we've got to get them back here to show them our appreciation."
Rabon presented Thomas and his wife of nearly 40 years, Gloria, with the senate resolution, which also designated February 21, 2007 as "B.J. Thomas Day" in Oklahoma.
"I'm very humbled and honored by everything that has happened today. Senator Rabon has been the mover and shaker on this thing and made sure it happened," said Thomas. "I guess all the stars have aligned over Hugo, Oklahoma and I'm proud of that. I'm very proud to be on this floor and in my home state. I love Oklahoma and I love Hugo."
Billy Joe Thomas was born in Hugo, Oklahoma to Vernon and Geneva Thomas. As a member of his high school and church choir, Thomas was encouraged by his older brother Jerry to audition for the Texas rock and roll band, "The Triumphs," and the rest is history.
To date, Thomas has sold over 70 million records, has had 15 top 40 pop/rock hits, ten top 40 country hits, five Grammys, two Dove awards for Gospel recordings, and 15 Gold and Platinum records. Some of his greatest hits include "Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head" and "Hooked on a Feeling." On his 30th birthday, he became the 60th member of the Grand Ole Opry. Thomas was also one of 43 Oklahoma artists selected to record the album "Oklahoma Rising" which was released by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission with proceeds going to Oklahoma's Habitat for Humanity.
"Amazing is the only way to describe this man. He is the only artist ever to have a 'Song of the Year' on the pop, country and gospel charts," Rabon said. "And not only is he a tremendous musician, he's an outstanding humanitarian."
Thomas has devoted himself to several worthy causes including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Pathways to Spirit, an organization helping to preserve the Native American traditions. He also performed for the President at the 2006 Pageant of Peace Celebration.
Before the resolution presentation, the Hugo Honors Choir, directed by Rabon's aunt, Carla Rabon, welcomed Thomas to the Chamber with a special rendition of "Hooked on a Feeling." The Mayor of Hugo, Stan Payne, along with City Manager Tom Pence, then presented Thomas with a proclamation from the city congratulating him for his accomplishments and making him honorary mayor on February 21. Following the presentation of SR 8, a reception was held in the Senate Lounge where Thomas signed autographs and posed for pictures.