Jim Croce

Jim Croce
Jim Croce is remembered both for his gentle, playful music and for his life, which was abruptly ended as he teetered on the brink of great success.

In 1943, James Croce was born to loving parents who nurtured their son's musical interests from a very early age. He was only 5 years old when he learned his first instrument, the accordion, and before long he had taught himself guitar as well. By the time he graduated from college, Croce had formed several bands and was a regular performer at local restaurants and bars.

Though he had to work several other jobs to pay the bills, he continued to dream of making it big in the music business. He eventually moved with his wife Ingrid to New York where they recorded an album together, appropriately titled Jim and Ingrid.

This album failed to reach a wide audience, however, and the Croces were forced to return to Pennsylvania. They remained there until 1972, when Jim's big break finally came. The ABC/Dunhill record label discovered him and Jim released a new album, You Don't Mess Around With Jim. Within a year , he had multiple hits to his name including "Time in a Bottle", "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown".

Unfortunately, just as Croce's career was beginning to take off, a plane crash prematurely ended his life on September 20th, 1973. Jim's music became more popular after his death. The album I Got a Name was released posthumously and several of its songs went on to reach #1. There are those who believe that Jim had yet to produce his best work, while others maintain that his death was what gave his music the publicity it needed to reach its audience. Whatever the explanation, Jim did not leave behind only a wife and son on September 20th, but thousands of individuals whose lives he touched, both through his music and through his simple and decent personality.

* While in his third year of college, one of Jim's bands was invited to perform in a tour of Africa and the Middle East. "We had a good time," Jim recalls. "We just ate what the people ate, lived in the woods, and played our songs. Of course they didn't speak English over there... but if you mean what you're singing, people understand."

* Early in his career, Jim injured his right index finger with a misplaced sledgehammer, forcing him to developed a new method of fingerpicking using only four fingers.

* Croce wrote his hit song "Time in a Bottle" for his infant son AJ. Adrian James, who was born only two years before his father's accident, is now himself an accomplished singer/songwriter.

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