“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” plays as Paul Newman peddles a bicycle in a bucolic scene with Katherine Ross atop his handlebars in the 1969 movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
The song won the 1970 Academy Award for Best Music – Original Song: “Raindrops keep falling on my head, but that doesn’t mean my eyes will soon be turning red. Crying’s not for me. ‘Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complaining. Because I’m free. Nothing’s worrying me.”
B.J. Thomas, 77, the singer who made the song famous, will perform at the annual Concert for Classrooms 7-9 p.m. Saturday at the Cuero ISD Performing Arts Center in Cuero. The proceeds will support the Cuero ISD Education Foundation.
“I’m looking forward to the performance there in my home state,” Thomas said.
Thomas is a native of Houston. He moved to the Richmond/Rosenberg area where he started a band at age 15.
Thomas’ 1970 hit also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold more than 1 million records. He also sold more than 1 million records with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Hooked on a Feeling” and “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song.”
“I have a lot of memories tied to my music like everyone has favorite songs that remind them of something,” Thomas said. “I don’t have a lasting favorite. It might be one this week and another one next week.”
In 1976, Thomas released his first gospel album, “Home Where I Belong,” which also was the first Christian album to go platinum. His singles, “Whatever Happened to Old-fashioned Love,” “New Looks from an Old Lover” and “Two Car Garage” climbed the country music charts in the 1980s.
Several years ago, Thomas released “The Living Room Sessions,” an album of acoustic versions of his songs. Seven of the 12 tracks feature duets with the likes of Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett, among others.
“Way back when, the main radio programming was Top 40 and all the genres were played on one station,” Thomas said. “So I grew up doing all the genres. If I liked it, I did it – gospel, country, rock ’n’ roll, pop.”
Thomas has enjoyed all the incarnations of his career and all the relationships he has made through the music business along the way.
“I enjoyed my years in gospel music,” Thomas said. “I grew up with gospel music, and I was very fortunate to win a few Grammys for my gospel music.”
Emily Weatherly, a member of the board of directors for the foundation, expects all of the center’s 775 seats to be filled Saturday. The foundation sold more than 400 concert tickets the first week they were available.
“For a small town, Cuero has a lot going on,” Weatherly said. “When people say there’s nothing to do, I ask them if they read the newspaper. There’s a lot going on with this very vibrant arts and music community.”
Those still interested in sponsoring the event can take advantage of VIP parking and a party where they can meet BJ Thomas. All of the seating near the stage already is reserved for sponsors, but there is not a bad seat in the house, Weatherly said.
“We have had a terrific response because B.J. Thomas carries a lot of weight. He’s from Rosenberg, Texas, and it’s been a few years since he’s been in our area,” Weatherly said. “When Eagle Ford Shale was booming, we had huge sponsorships tied to oil and gas, and since that has ebbed and flowed in the area, it’s fantastic to see new sponsors come forward – to see the grants and scholarships we have been able to fund.”
The proceeds from the concert are used to fund projects and programs in the school district that are not covered by traditional school funding, she said.
“It’s always interesting to see the grants that otherwise would not be available come to life and to see the impact they have on the students,” Weatherly said.
In the past, the money has been used for Shattered Dreams, a program that promotes responsible decision-making among high school students confronted with choices about distracted or impaired driving. A sensory garden for students with special needs, robots used to teach computer coding to high school students and 24 personal STEAM kits that challenge gifted and talented students, among numerous other initiatives, also have been funded.
As of Wednesday, fewer than 20 tickets remained at the cost of $35 or $45. They can be purchased at cueroedfoundation.org.
“Thomas is one of those timeless artists who appeals to lots of different people,” Weatherly said.