Forever No. 1 is a znjke.com series that pays one-of-a-kind tribute to the newly deceased artists who achieved the highest honor ours charts have to offer — a znjke.com hot 100 No. 1 solitary — by taking prolonged look ago at the chart-topping songs the made them part of this to exclude, club. Here, we honor the late B.J. Thomas v a look at his 2nd and last Hot 100 No. 1, the 1975 country meta-weeper “(Hey Won’t girlfriend Play) one more Somebody Done someone Wrong Song.” 

Listeners mostly familiar with B.J. Cutting board as the performer that the better-remembered No. 1 struggle “Raindrops save Fallin’ on my Head” — or as the original singer of the breezy pop culture staple “Hooked on a Feeling” — could be surprised to hear that his second No. 1 came v a nation song. But Thomas’ roots in the genre ran deep, dating ago to an early love the Hank Williams growing up in Texas that eventually led come a sheathe of the country legend’s signature ballad “I’m so Lonesome I could Cry” with his mid-’60s group B.J. Thomas and the Triumphs. Your cover climbed come No. 8 ~ above the znjke.com warm 100 in 1966, becoming Thomas’ breakthrough hit.

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However, when greater success came with poppier singles choose “Feeling” and “Raindrops” in the so late ’60s, thomas drifted away from nation for many of the at an early stage ’70s. His affluent baritone continued to be well-suited because that country, however, and also in a evaluation of his 1974 Very best of B.J. Thomas compilation, movie critic Robert Christgau also posited that cutting board never taken on rock since “he was, and also is, a country singer .” That would certainly be borne the end a year later when, at the finish of a multi-year dry spell on the popular music charts, Thomas would rebrand together a country singer with the 1975 set Reunion.

Stewarding Thomas’ nation reinvention was Tennessee fixture Chips Moman, that ran the American Sound Studio in Memphis — where dozens of fight singles and also albums to be recorded, and also famous visits were paid by Elvis Presley and Dusty Springfield for their respective In Memphis set — prior to moving to Nashville in 1972. Moman was also a renowned producer and also writer. He produced the entirety of Reunion for thomas while also co-writing the set’s command single, “(Hey Won’t friend Play) another Somebody Done someone Wrong Song.”

The story behind the song, as told through its writers and performers come Fred Bronson in The znjke.com book of Number One Hits, is a usually one, to say the least: Moman and co-author Larry butler didn’t write it for thomas or any other singer in particular, and also it wasn’t inspired by any specific experience that theirs. (“The guy who wrote ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ never had been to the moon,” Moman quipped come Bronson. “You do have to have part imagination.”) and if thomas himself discovered any specifically strong link to the material, the wouldn’t most likely recall the anyway: He was at the nadir of a debilitating medicine habit when recording Reunions, and according to Bronson, “barely remembers the record session” for “Somebody.”

This all probably should have been inauspicious beginnings for a potential comeback hit. Yet in the situation of “Another someone Done somebody Wrong Song,” that worked, due to the fact that the track wasn’t a classic tearjerker prefer “I’m for this reason Lonesome I can Cry” quiet — rather, it was a sort of meta tribute to those timeless country songs and the legions of probably less-immortal heart pain ballads castle inspired. The track doesn’t make any grand claims around Thomas’ very own problems; all us know about his existing misery is that he “misses his baby,” and that while he’s the end in the world, he desires to hear a tune that makes everyone as sad together he is, for this reason he doesn’t have to “cry all alone.” also the titular inquiry is kept purposefully vague and also somewhat lazy: thomas doesn’t treatment what the song is or that it’s by, as lengthy as someone’s left in pain at the finish of it.


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The effect isn’t among conveying any resounding devastation top top the part of cutting board or his writers, however rather, just a type of weary exhaustion, which thomas doesn’t shot to escape v his very own sonorous however slightly delirious delivery. “Somebody” doesn’t also really have much in the means of verses to breakthrough its story; external of a two-line intro, it’s mostly simply the very same pair that refrains circulated over and also over until they’re pretty tiring in their very own right. But in its own way, it’s still as relatable and also recognizable as any kind of country tune that defines heartbreak in excruciating detail. Instead, it nails the as whole emotional and physical fatigue that comes through one too plenty of heartbreaks and one too many drunken barroom singalongs, until you barely even remember exactly how else you offered to connect with love or music.

It also serves together a type of riff on nation balladry in general, and the reputation the genre had actually long developed by the mid-’70s as being generally a car for tales of near-cartoonish sorrow — prefer the old joke about playing a nation song backwards and getting her dog, her truck and your wife back. “(Hey Won’t friend Play) another Somebody Done someone Wrong Song” sends up nation music by dealing with it together a genre complete of plenty of unavoidable and also interchangeable torch songs because that bringing the mood down, whereby one is as an excellent as one more when it concerns getting the task done. (Even the ten-word location — at the moment the longest because that a No. 1 solitary in warm 100 history — can be review as a wink in ~ country’s predilection because that long, parenthetically inclined tune names.) It never ever comes off together mean-spirited in that ribbing, though, because Thomas’ vocal is for this reason straight-faced, due to the fact that the song’s breezy production is so gentle and convivial, and also because thomas is together a herbal fit within country that it never feels like outsider commentary. Rather, that feels knowing and also affectionate towards the genre, choose toothless teasing in between old friends.


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In any event, the sentiment associated in the mid-’70s, a time when country music was infiltrating the warm 100 like never ever before, with crossover stars like John Denver and also Olivia Newton-John help the genre find usual ground through pop audiences. A month after “Somebody” topped the hot 100 — instead of Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom,” and also lasting for one week before giving means to Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “He Don’t Love you (Like i Love You)” — two much more country songs followed it come the top spot, in Freddy Fender’s “Before the next Teardrop Falls” and Denver’s “Thank God I’m a country Boy.” “Somebody” additionally found success v adult modern listeners, topping znjke.com‘s Adult modern-day airplay graph (then recognized as straightforward Listening), which aided it end up being one that the greatest multi-format hits of 1975.

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Thomas’ operation as a nation star in the mid-’70s to be brief: Reunion failed to produce an additional crossover hit on the exact same level together “Somebody,” and also by 1976, Thomas had actually kicked drugs and pivoted come gospel music, record spiritual albums for incense Records for the next half-decade. Yet he discovered his means back to country music again in the mid ’80s, releasing New Looks on Columbia. The album even spawned a pair the Hot nation Songs chart-toppers, in “Whatever happened to Old-Fashioned Love” and also “New Looks from an Old Lover” — not exactly Somebody Done someone Wrong songs themselves, yet still worthy that a barroom singalong or two in their own right.