Monday, March 26, 2007

Jim Croce

“Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jim Croce

James Joseph Croce (January 10, 1943 – September 20, 1973), popularly known as Jim Croce (pronounced CRO-chee), was an American singer-songwriter.

Early life
Croce was born in South Philadelphia. He graduated from Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania in 1960 where in 1976, he was the first former student to be added to the high school's Wall of Fame. While attending Villanova University (1965 graduate), Croce became interested in becoming a professional musician and met his future wife, Ingrid Jacobson, at a hootenanny at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, where he was a judge for the contest. When they married he converted to Judaism.

Early career
During the early 1960s, Croce formed a number of college bands and performed at coffee houses and universities, and later with his wife Ingrid as a duo in the mid-1960s to early 1970s.

In 1968, Jim and Ingrid Croce were encouraged to move to New York City to record their first album with Capitol Records. For the next two years, they drove over 300,000 miles playing small clubs and concerts on the college concert circuit promoting their album Jim & Ingrid Croce.

Then, disillusioned by the music business and New York City, Croce sold all but one guitar to pay the rent, and they returned to the Pennsylvania countryside where Croce got a job driving trucks and doing construction to pay the bills. He called this his "Character Development Period" and spent a lot of his time sitting in the cab of a truck, composing songs about his buddies and the folks he enjoyed meeting at the local bars and truck stops.

In 1970, Croce met classically trained pianist/guitarist, singer-songwriter Maury Muehleisen from Trenton, New Jersey. Muehleisen's ethereal and inspired guitar leads became the perfect accompaniment to Croce's down-to-earth music.


In 1972, Croce signed to a three record deal with ABC Records releasing You Don't Mess Around with Jim and Life & Times in the same year. The singles "You Don't Mess Around with Jim", "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)" and "Time In A Bottle" (written for his newborn son, A. J. Croce) helped the former album reach #1 on the charts in 1974. Croce's biggest single "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", hit number 1 on the US charts in the summer of 1973, selling two million copies.

Sudden death
Croce, 30, and Muehleisen, 24, died in a small commercial plane crash on September 20, 1973 in Natchitoches, Louisiana, one day before releasing his third ABC album, I Got a Name. The posthumous release included three hits, "I Got A Name", "Workin' At The Car Wash Blues" and "I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song."
This last video with Jim and his family is beautiful!

Musical legacy
In 1990, Croce was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

His personal motto: "If you dig it, do it. If you really dig it, do it twice."

On his roots: "I never really thought of my neighborhood in South Philly as being a neighborhood, it was more a state of mind. For people who aren't familiar with those kind of places, it's a whole different thing. Like 42nd Street in New York City is a state of mind."

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Blogger wazza said...

Gidday Raggedy,
What a great post on Jim Croce. Isn't it amazing the number of artists who die young and mainly in light aircraft crashes. I guess it's because they are on the road so much touring and the risk is higher when they travel so much.
I did not know too much about Jim, so your post was a insight. Loved the YouTube clips. I, like many other will remember the "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" version by Frank Sinatra, who did quite a good version of this song. Interesting to hear how the song came about.

March 26, 2007 4:21 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

It's not often i put Baby Blue on pause but "Time in a bottle" is not pausing but living.
I have a number of his song on my Ipod but Time in a Bottle is my favorite,
Have a nice day

March 26, 2007 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hello, Glady's you there?
Dang cantraption
Pick up that dang blasted phone

Yes it's the right number, I don't think this machine is working Harvey,
All it does is beep


March 26, 2007 7:46 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

He was one of my favorites; dancing to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown was a much loved pasttime.

March 26, 2007 8:02 AM  
Blogger Doo Dah said...

I love this, thank you so much for posting this.

I followed you from Non-Blonde.

Happy Monday :-)

March 26, 2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Leann said...

you know I love tree,s and the one below is awesome,and so is the poem.
I love time in a bottle to.
its sad how so many young singers have died in the plane crashs.
thanks for stopping by my blog.and thanks for being the only one who went to my log cabin post to read everyone else missed it I guess.
God bless you friend.

March 26, 2007 11:08 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

That is so cool that your post is about Jim Croce. I have a CD of his hits.

I told an ex-boyfriend once that I had fallen in love with Jim Croce and he told me that he had passed away. He did tell me I had good taste in music though. :)

Thank you for this post...I really do like him. :)

March 26, 2007 12:36 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

I'm listening to Time in a Bottle but I think my favorite is I'll Have To Say I love you in A Song.

March 26, 2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Wow. I listened to the three You Tubes.

I REALLY love this post.

March 26, 2007 12:45 PM  
Blogger Deb @ Sugarfused said...

We've been watching a PBS documentary about Jim Croce just this past weekend. Scott recorded it...I don't know when it was originally broadcast but I think within the last week or so. It's really well done.

Love this post...I have a Jim Croce CD that I listen to often :)

March 26, 2007 2:55 PM  
Blogger Tawnya Shields said...

This was a great post. I love music. All of it. I learned some new things about Jim Croce. I enjoyed the first video the best. I am from Pennsylvania and could relate to his story. That was too cool!

Thanks for the great tribute. Bravo!:o)

March 26, 2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger nora leona said...

Thanks for all of the great history and links.
Jim Croce has been a favorite for a long time.

March 26, 2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Raggedy ~~ Thank you for the informative post and videos of Jim Croce. I did not know a lot of that before. The picture of the girls
holding hands did not come out, sorry.
I hadn't seen the RULES before. As for the joke you have in Drafts, go ahead and post it. We have some different readers and I don't mind at all. Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.

March 26, 2007 10:54 PM  
Blogger Gattina said...

He also was well known in Europe, you remind me of my youth, lol !

March 26, 2007 11:04 PM  
Blogger cube said...

Croce was one of my favorites. I remember the day he died & feeling such a sense of loss at all the music we would never know :-(

March 27, 2007 10:36 AM  

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