Oklahoma native's Brazilian following votes his songs to state's best list 

A panel to determine the state's official rock song was recently announced. Although the selection of the governor's press secretary and Oklahoma Gazette film reviewer Phil Bacharach to the panel did pique Chicken-Fried News' interest, we're not sure what the qualifications are for the panel. If his taste in music is the same as his preference of movies, expect the official song to come from some hot babe (just kidding, Phil).

But the even bigger news from the panel announcement made by the Oklahoma History Center came midway through a June press release when mentioning some of the nominations that have already been submitted. There are the expected songs from Oklahoma artists Leon Russell, Hoyt Axton, Hanson, The Flaming Lips and All-American Rejects.

Then there was this little tidbit, in a quote from Oklahoma Historical Society research collections director Larry O'Dell:

"There have been nominations from Brazil for songs by B.J. Thomas (born in Hugo) after a link was placed on his personal Web site. We've discovered that B.J. Thomas is extremely popular in Brazil, and is an indication of the worldwide appeal of Oklahoma musicians."

If the revelation that Germans love David Hasselhoff wasn't enough to cause cardiac arrest, the thought of South American culture tapping to the beat of Oklahoma's Thomas might make one reach for a defibrillator. That is, after you have recovered from learning Thomas is from Oklahoma.

For those of a younger generation, the name may not sound familiar, but the lyrics he crooned are popular in hotel elevators. The rock, folk and country artist is famous for his renditions of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" (in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), "Hooked on a Feeling" and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song."

A quick search of the Internet finds several references to Thomas and his sold-out Brazilian concerts. So Germans love Hasselhoff, the French go crazy over Jerry Lewis, and Brazil has a thing for Hugo-born Thomas. Where's that defibrillator?

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