Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote this song for the film Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. It was the first million-seller for the legendary songwriters.
Thomas was recording for Scepter Records, which was also home of Dionne Warwick, who recorded many Bacharach/David hits like "Don't Make Me Over" and "I Say A Little Prayer." She took a copy of Thomas' song "Hooked On A Feeling
" to Bacharach, who was working on a score for the film. She convinced him to consider Thomas, and although he was reluctant at first, Burt asked Thomas to sing the main theme: "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." What he didn't tell Thomas was that the song had already been turned down by Bob Dylan and Ray Stevens.
Thomas was getting over laryngitis when he recorded this. It gave the song a raspy quality that the producers of the movie liked. Eight weeks later, Thomas recorded another version that was released as a single in October 1969. This version, with the famous horn solo added to the end, made #1 in the US the first week of 1970 and stayed there for 4 weeks. Said Thomas, "I was in the right place at the right time, and probably got their best song ever."
Burt Bacharach (from Record Collector magazine): "'Raindrops' was done for the score. When you're scoring a motion picture you service the picture and there was that scene with the bicycle. I did keep hearing that title, I must say. That is my title, 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.' Hal tried to change it and come up with another lyric but it never seemed to work as well. I watched the film so much when I was scoring it. It was a convenient way to get B.J. Thomas to sing it because he was in the stable of Scepter at the time. Our first choice was Ray Stevens. They flew Ray out to see the picture and hear the song but he didn't like the picture and he didn't like the song."
This won the Oscar for Best Song From A Motion Picture at the 1970 awards, where Thomas performed it. Bacharach also won for Best Score.
The single version of this song was edited together from three different studio takes of the song.
The "B.J." in B.J. Thomas stands for "Billy Joe." Thomas started singing with a church choir in Houston when he was 14. Some of his other hits include: "Everybody's Out of Town," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "Most of All" and "Rock And Roll Lullaby." He had some legal trouble with this and his other Scepter Records recordings, and had to sue for the royalties he was owed on these tracks. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
This song is played in Spider-Man 2, right after Peter Parker decides not to be Spider Man anymore. Thankfully, Parker changed his mind and became a valued superhero. (thanks, Dawson - Draper, UT)
Something about this song goes well with animated comedies - it has been used in The Simpsons, Family Guy and Futurama. Movies that have used the song include Boys on the Side (1995), Spy Hard (1996), Clockwatchers (1997) and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).