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Jim Croce

In the music industry, arguably the worst tragedy that can befall an artist is to die in his or her prime, when just beginning to break through to the mainstream and reach people on a national or international level. One such artist was Jim Croce, a songwriter with a knack for both upbeat, catchy singles and empathetic, melancholy ballads. Though Croce only recorded a few studio albums before an untimely plane crash, he continues to be remembered posthumously. Croce appealed to fans as a common man, and it was not a gimmick -- he was a father and husband who went through a series of blue-collar jobs. And whether he used dry wit, gentle emotions, or sorrow, Croce sang with a rare form of honesty and power. Few artists have ever been able to pull off such down-to-earth storytelling as convincingly as he did.

James Joseph Croce was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1943. Raised on ragtime and country, Croce played the accordion as a child and would eventually teach himself the guitar. It wasn't until his freshman year of college that he began to take music seriously, forming several bands over the next few years. After graduation, he continued to play various gigs at local bars and parties, working as both a teacher and construction worker to support himself and his wife, Ingrid. In 1969, the Croces and an old friend from college, Tommy West, moved to New York and record an album. When the Jim and Ingrid record failed to sell, they moved to a farm in Lyndell, Pennsylvania, where Jim juggled several jobs, including singing for radio commercials. Eventually he was noticed and signed by the ABC/Dunhill label and released his second album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim, in 1972. The record spawned three hits: "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)," and "Time in a Bottle," the latter ultimately shooting all the way to number one on the Billboard charts. Croce quickly followed with Life and Times in early 1973 and gained his first number one hit with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown."

After four years of grueling tour schedules, Croce grew homesick. Wishing to spend more time with Ingrid and his infant son Adrian James, he planned to take a break after the Life and Times tour was completed. Tragically, the tour would never finish; just two months after "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" topped the charts, Croce's plane crashed in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce and the four other passengers (including bandmember Maury Muehleisen) were killed instantly.

Croce's career peaked after his death. In December of 1973, the album I Got a Name surfaced, but it was "Time in a Bottle," from 1972's You Don't Mess Around with Jim, that would become his second number one single. Shortly afterwards, "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" reached the Top Ten. Several albums were released posthumously, most notably the greatest hits collection Photographs & Memories, which became a best-seller. Several other compilations were later issued, such as the 1992 release The 50th Anniversary Collection and the 2000 compilation Time in a Bottle: The Definitive Collection. Listening to the songs Croce recorded, one cannot help but wonder how far his extraordinary talents could have taken him if he would have lived longer. Unfortunately, such a question may only be looked at rhetorically, but Jim Croce continues to live on in the impressive catalog of songs he left behind. ~ Barry Weber, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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tkellough6
A great artist. You can't help but think his late top hits were written and performed for his wife Ingrid. Sad to die so young at your peak.
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Beautiful lyrics..
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The best story teller through his songs.
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Ellie I met him one day. We bought weed together. :) @elliegouldi n g love b
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Jim Croce and Harry Chapin gone but no forgotten.
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What a great style. Great words. Great voice. Just what do you think he would be in 2015???? I know, GREAT!!!!
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nicko252008
I met his wife, very nice lady. Yes, jims music will live forever.
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His music will outlive all of us
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nicko252008
Sixto Rodriguez very similar artist, your welcome. Folk music is great.
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It's a shame he didn't become famous until after his death.
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As a little girl I would dance on our fireplace stage to Bad Bad Leroy Brown while my family laughed at me :)...I think Leroy would win
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Ok who would win in a fight Jim or Leroy?
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So many great icons have died frm plane crashes,The sky was made for stars...RIP JIM CROCE
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Time in a Bottle...the s e lyrics still ring true!
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jimsvatos
Has to be considered one of the All Time singer songwriters in the history of music... I remember the day back in High School of his tragic death.
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Stop& listen to some Jim for bit. Nice!!!!!
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michael_feli x _ 5 4
The best musician ever. Wrote way down by thr river for him...a strong influence in all my musical works. I take pause when i hear his music played during my day.
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Jim Croce was one of the tapes i would listen to growing up, and still do. Love his voice and music. Follow 4 a Follow
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You're right, dude. That's one of the worst opening sentences ever. And not true anyway.
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Good
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Taken 2 soon
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Jim Croce where are these tunes today? Rap and all this jungle beats drive me insane! Thanks for sharing yourself and songs
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hohneke7
Jim Croce as a singer and songwriter has forever touched me and he will always be my all time favorite singer since I was a little boy until the day I die. Thank you Jim for getting me by when the hard times rolled through my life.
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isettj
As a songwriter Croce made seeing the picture or person he was singing about the most remembered part of the song. It was what he was writing about that tell the story, show the picture or call out the memory of what the listeners related too. He was truly a blessing to all of those who appreciated the fact that they could take a minute off from thinking about themselves or anything else but rather step away from all else to be part of the song he wrote and sang for us. Miss that a lot.
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christelhm
In creating a Pandora Radio Station, of course I chose Jim Croce among other artists. I met Jim and his wife Ingrid singing as a duo at the Riddle Paddock in Media, Pa. My husband and I became good friends with Jim and Ingrid in the 60's and early 70's until his death. My husband served in Vietnam as a combat physician and Jim and I used to prepare tapes for him with music and jokes to entertain the fellows in the field hospital.
Some of the music is about us. Jim follows me everywhere.
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brian31514
my dad gave me a jim croce cassette tape when i was a child and i've loved him ever since.
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I WAS KID IN THE EARLY 70/S HE IS MY MUSICAL HERO !!! I HOPE HIS FAMILY IS DOING WELL ! ! GO RAPID ROY WITH YOUR STOCK CAR BOY !! LOVE YAA!!
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Wow, never heard this before, sad and beautiful at the same time.
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Greatest singer songwriter of all time
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A legend of story telling.
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if there's a after life… i hope croce is there playing his guitar….
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devilsrule
Its weird i love several of his songs but hate his bluesy songs ..dude sure could play a lot of different styles
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& then Jim Croce comes on.
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Such a sad story but he left behind his wonderful music. What a gift he had and left us with as well.
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The paragraph is right..he was taken to early from us!! What a shame..but he lives on through his music & he left some good songs. Rest in peace!!
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Got me some Jim Croce going on
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One of my favorite artists that I never get tired of listening to...
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Lover's Cross: Love Jim Croce's music. :-)
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castillo_san d o v a l
Isn't there an editor for these bios? They are shoddy.
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What I wanted to say previously was that he did die too soon, but it is good to hear that his son is carrying on his legacy. RIP
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He died way ttsoo
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I think dying might just be the worst.������
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I highly recommend Jim's son A.J. Croce to all his fans. He carries on his father's legacy of quality songwriting and excellent musicianship .
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First couple sentences of this bio are written poorly. Obviously dying is big tragedy for an artist.
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Sylvia
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I was a freshman in high school when he died. I still remember how sad everyone was.
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A real talent!!!
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I'm glad I grew up listen to Mr. Jim Croce.
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RIP, Jim. Another amazing talent who died too soon.
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Nicely Put Barry!!

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