Jim Croce would have been 75 this week.
Jim was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who studied well at school and university even gaining a Bachelor’s degree but then decided to take up music. As was so often the case, parents never deemed the music business a ‘safe’ career but his parents didn’t discourage him in the usual way, instead they gave him money and stipulated that it had to be used to make an album. Their hope was that when the album failed he would return to a ‘proper’ career. Unfortunately for them, 500 copies of the album were pressed and he sold the lot.
In the mid-60s he and his wife performed as a duo covering folk songs by artists like Gordon Lightfoot and Joan Baez and was then encouraged by a producer to move to New York. This they did and signed a deal with Capitol records and released their first album Jim & Ingrid Croce. They then travelled thousands of miles playing in various coffee bars and small clubs to promote it.
In 1972 he signed a three album deal with ABC records one of which included one of his most famous songs, Time in a Bottle which he wrote for his unborn child. His biggest American hit was Bad Bad Leroy Brown which made number one on Billboard and later covered by Frank Sinatra. He never managed a UK chart hit.
His demise was similar to that of Buddy Holly. In 1973 Croce and five other passengers died when their chartered plane clipped a tree during take-off from a small airport in Louisiana. He’d just finished a concert and was en route to Texas for his next leg of a tour. He was just 30 years old.
Let’s remember the brilliant Time in a Bottle.