- NAME: Jim Croce
- OCCUPATION: Guitarist, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: January 10, 1943
- DEATH DATE: September 20, 1973
- EDUCATION: Upper Darby High School, Villanova University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- PLACE OF DEATH: Natchitoches, Louisiana
- Full Name: James Joseph Croce
- AKA: Jim Croce
- AKA: James Croce
Best Known For
Jim Croce was an American folk singer and songwriter. He released five studio albums between 1966 and 1973, before his untimely death in 1973.
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Sal encouraged the duo to get together and record new songs, and to send them to ABC Records. At first, Croce backed Muehleisen on guitar, but their roles later reversed, with Muehleisen playing lead guitar to Croce's music. Following Sal's advice, Croce and Muehleisen recorded their songs and sent them to ABC, and soon met with producer Terry Cashman of the Tommy West production company in New York City. In 1972, ABC Records signed with Croce and released his first solo album,
You Don't Mess Around With Jim. The album was an instant success, and became one of the Top 20 albums in the United States.
From 1972 to 1973, Croce performed in more than 250 concerts, and made appearances on television programs. In 1973, ABC released his second album, Life and Times, featuring the hit single "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown." The single hit No. 1 on the American charts in July 1973, and then went gold. The singles "You Don’t Mess Around with Jim," "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" and "Time in a Bottle" also received airplay. Croce's third album, I've Got a Name, was released in 1973, and the title song was included in the soundtrack for The Last American Hero, a film starring Jeff Bridges. The song "Time in a Bottle," from Croce's first solo album, received national sales after being featured in She Lives, a made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC in September 1973. That same year, Croce and his wife relocated to San Diego, California.
On September 20, 1973—the day that Croce's single "I Got a Name" was released—Croce, Muehleisen and four others were killed in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Croce had just finished a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches. He was then taking a chartered Beechcraft E18S flight to Sherman, Texas, to play a concert at Austin College. Upon takeoff, the plane did not gain enough altitude and crashed into a pecan tree at the end of the runway. According to the official report, the 57-year-old charter pilot had suffered a heart attack.
Croce is buried at Haym Salomon Cemetery in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Muehleisen is buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey.
The posthumous release of Croce's album I Got a Name, included three hits: "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues," "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" and the title song "I Got a Name." The album reached No. 2 on the American charts, and "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" reached No. 9 on the singles chart. The news of Croce's death also sparked a renewed interest in his former albums. Three months after his death, "Time in a Bottle" landed at No. 1 on the singles chart. In 1990, Croce was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Adrian Croce, who was born on September 28, 1971, became an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician and pianist. He performs under the name A.J. Croce and operates a private record label, Seedling Records. Ingrid Jacobson Croce owns and manages a restaurant called Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar, located in the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego.
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