This singer/songwriter started his career during the tumultuos 1960s, but it was the early 1970s when Jim Croce hit the top of the charts.
Born in Philadelphia, Croce attended Villanova University in the 1960s, where his band performed on campus. Chosen to tour Europe and the Middle East, Croce realized that he could make a living as a musician.
Meeting his wife at a concert, Croce soon become a duo with his wife, with his first album made thanks to a $500 wedding gift from his parents. Pressing 500 albums, he sold every one.
Encouraged by his producer, Croce and wife moved to New York City, and promoted their second album across the USA with endless touring of small clubs and folk festivals.
Disillusioned by touring, Croce moved back to Philadelphia and got a job with a radio station. But soon he started working with Murray Muehleisen, first working on his music and then Muehleisen returned the favour to Croce.
In 1972, Croce signed a three album deal with ABC Records, and released two albums, and garnered hits with ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’, ‘Operator’, and ‘Time in a Bottle’.
In summer 1973, Croce scored his biggest hit with ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown’, from his album Life and Times. Touring in the US and Europe, Croce was getting tired of the road, and wanted to come back to the Philadelphia to spend time with his wife and young son.
In September 1973, Croce, Muehleisen and four bandmates died in a plane crash in Louisiana, the day before his next single ‘I Got a Name’ was being released by ABC Records.
The song release was delayed until December, and in 1974 a greatest hits album was released. Several songs were used in tv series and tv movies, as well as one of his songs used as the theme for the tv series The Greatest American Hero.
Despite his death, Croce’s songs lived on – played endlessly on radio during the 1970s and 1980s, and is still a folk rock hero within the pages of pop culture history.