On September 20, 1973 Jim Croce died when his private airplane took off badly and crashed into trees outside Natchitoches, Louisiana. He had recently hit it big nationally, with a Number One hit in July called "Bad Bad Leroy Brown." He was only 30 years old.
Jim Croce was born on January 10, 1943. He bounced around from various part-time (and full-time) jobs while trying to write songs and record music. Finally, in 1972 he signed with ABC records and released his first albmu, You Don't Mess Around With Jim. The title track was released as a single, going to Number 8 nationally. "Operator," peaked at Number 17. From his second album, Life and Times, came his first big hit. "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" spent two weeks at Number One.
Television producer David Wolper was responsible for Jim Croce's second bit hit. His studio was producing a TV-movie starring Desi Arnaz, Jr called She Lives. Both the producer and director had heard "Time In A Bottle" off Croce's first album, and requested permission to use it in their movie. The film aired on ABC on September 12, causing a sensation. Eight days later, Jim Croce was dead.
Eventually released as a single due to high demand, but its lyrics now mournfully ironic, it reached Number One the week of December 29, 1973.
Jim Croce left us all too soon.
RIP Jim Croce
a scene from She Lives
"Operator" with his lead guitarist,
Maury Muehleisen, who was also killed