Music, My Favorite Things, Posts

The Sounds of Jim Croce

Born James “Jim” Joseph Croce on January 10, 1943. He was an American rock, soft rock, and folk singer-songwriter. Between 1966 and 1973, he released a total of five studio albums, along with numerous singles. Croce age 30, along with five others, were killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1973…he was at the height of his career.

James Joseph Croce-1973-1973
google.com, pub-4203312099339445, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

The Early Days

Croce was born to James Albert Croce and Flora Mary (Babusci). Croce was born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but grew up in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

He graduated in 1960 from Upper Darby High School. Afterward, he studied at Malvern Preparatory School for only a year before he left and enrolled at Villanova University, where he majored in psychology and minored in German. When in 1965 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He was a member of the Villanova Spires and the Villanova Singers. When they would perform off-campus or even made recordings, they were known as The Coventry Lads.

Early Career

On November 29, 1963, he met his future wife, Ingrid Jacobson at the Philadelphia Convention Hall during a hootenanny, celebration, where he was judging a contest. He and Ingrid were married in 1966 in a traditional Jewish ceremony. He converted to Judaism, as his wife was Jewish.

Croce’s very first album, Facets was released in 1966 with only 500 copies pressed…every copy sold out. From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s he performed a duo with his wife, Indrid. At first, they were singing only cover songs by such acts as Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie. But as time went on, they began writing their own music. Croce’s very first long-time gig was at a steakhouse in Lima, Pennsylvania called, The Riddle Paddock.

In 1968 the Croce’s were encouraged to move to New York where they recorded their first album with Capitol Records. After two years of living in New York, they sold most everything except one guitar and returned back to the Pennsylvania countryside.

When the Croce’s had discovered that they were going to be parents, Jim became more determined than ever to make music his career. Little Adrian James “A.J.” Croce was born in September 1971, Ingrid became a stay-at-home mother and Jim left to me on the road and promote his music.

Things Remembered

Let The Music Begin

It was in 1972 that Jim signed a three-record contract with ABC Records, releasing two albums, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and Life and Times. 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 then-unborn son) all received airplay. After that, the Croce family moved to San Diego, California. He began appearing on television, which includes his national debut on American Bandstand on August 12, The Tonight Show on August 14 and The Dick Cavett Show on September 20 and 21.

Jim started touring the United States with Maury Muehleisen a trained pianist-guitarist and singer-songwriter. Muehleisen ended up adding lead guitar to Crose’s music. Then in February 1973 Croce and Muehleisen traveled to Europe, performing in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Dublin, and Monte Carlo where they received positive reviews. He made several more television appearances on The Midnight Special, which he co-hosted on June 15, and The Helen Reddy Show on July 19. His biggest single, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” reached Number 1 on the American charts in July.

“Meaner Than A Junkyard Dog!”

Croce and Muehleisen returned to London From July 16 through August 4 where they performed at The Old Grey Whistle Test, they sang songs from his just finished and upcoming album, “I Got A Name”. This album had just been completed one week before his death. While on tour, he became increasingly homesick and had decided to take a break from music to settle in for a while with his wife, Ingrid, and son A.J. as soon as his tour, Life and Times ended. Sadly, in a letter that he had written to Ingrid that arrived shortly after his death, he told her that he had decided to quit music and just stick to writing short stories and even movie scripts as a career so that he could withdraw from public life.

“I Got A Name”

On September 20, 1973, during Croce’s Life and Times tour, and the day before his ABC single “I Got A Name” was released, Croce and all five on board were killed when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree during takeoff from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Others killed in the crash were pilot Robert N.Elliott, Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, manager, and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortese and road manager Dennis Rast.

An investigation showed that the twin-engine plane crashed after clipping a pecan tree at the end of the runway. The pilot had failed to gain sufficient altitude to clear the tree and had not tried to avoid it, even though it was the only tree in the area. It was noted to be well after sunset, but there was a clear sky, calm winds and over five miles of visibility with haze. A later investigation placed the sole blame on pilot error due to his downwind takeoff into a “black hole” severe darkness limiting his use of visual references.

Jim Croce was buried at Haym Salomon Memorial Park in Frazier, Pennsylvania.

His Legacy…The Music Lives On…

His album, “I Got A Name” was released on December 1, 1973. Hits from this album included “Workin’ at the Carwash Blues”...”I’ll Have to Say I Love You In a Song” and the album title, “I’ve Got a Name.” The album reached No.2 and “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” reached . 9 on the singles chart.

The greatest hits album entitled, “Photographs and Memories” was released in 1974. In 1990, Jim Croce was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and on July 3, 2012, Ingrid Croce published a memoir about her husband entitled, “I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story”

Mr. Croce…may your music live on forever.


You may also like...


  1. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love his music and still pay all the time at my house. I have all of his albums. What a beautiful story and a gentleman from long ago.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. His music never gets old.

  3. google.com, pub-4203312099339445, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
    Custom Star Map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Shipping Orders $50+ with code FREESHIPPING at PersonalizedPlanet.com