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Stagecoach 2010: B.J. Thomas, hooked on Brian Wilson

Getprev-3 B.J. Thomas played a mini-game of Six Degrees of Pop Music Separation during his Vegas-friendly Stagecoach set Saturday at the Palomino Stage.

Along with several of his signature hits, including "Hooked on a Feeling," "I Just Can't Stop Believing" and "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," Thomas dropped in a cover of the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby."

The connection?

"Hooked on a Feeling," as you may recall, became a hit again a few years after Thomas' version made the charts, in the wacky "Hookah-chukka" version by Blue Swede. The story goes that the geniuses behing Blue Swede's take got their inspiration from one of the much bootlegged snippets of the Beach Boys' "Smile" album, which had been shelved amid much internal and external resistance to Brian Wilson's grand sonic experiment.

Blue Swede latched onto one piece of tribal-like vocalizing and ran with it in reimagining Thomas' recording.

That made his nod to Wilson an especially savvy tip of that hat.

Then again, maybe he just liked the song.

Click here for photos from Stagecoach.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: B.J. Thomas performs at Stagecoach. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (4)

Mr. Thomas is one of the great pop singers. Thankfully after all these years his Scepter albums are available on CD.

Don't Worry Baby was a Top 20 Pop Hit for B.J. in 1977, reaching #17. In fact, it was his last top 20 on the pop charts.

By 1982 B.J. reappeared on the country charts with the #1 "Whatever Happened To Old-Fashioned Love," & he remained on the country charts throughout the '80s, not to mention the Adult Contemporary one.

So, that's why he performed "Don't Worry Baby."

"Don't Worry Baby" was B.J. Thomas' final Top 20 on the Pop charts back in 1977, reaching #17 Pop, so that's why he chose to perform it at Stagecoach. B.J.'s version was the only other hit version of the song.

By 1982, B.J. reappeared in fine form on the Country Charts with the #1 hits "Whatever Happened To Old-Fashioned Love" & "New Looks From An Old Lover." This is not to say that he didn't always do well on the Adult Contemporary Charts, like 1978's "Everybody Loves A Rain Song."

Heard him say on "Country's Family Reunion" on RFD-TV this month that he's 605 years old in road years, showing he hasn't lost his humor or talent.

He's still got whatever "it" is, & I'm glad Stagecoach invited him to perform there. Who knows how many young folks got turned onto his music after seeing him there.

The chant from the Beach Boys SMiLE album was taken from a version of a song called "Bicycle Rider." Brian Wilson recorded many versions of every track on the album, so not all bootlegs of this track have the chanting. It does sound pretty similar to the Hooked on a Feeling chant.
Bicycle Rider became part of another song when Brian finished and released SMiLE in 2004.


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