Originally a university disc jockey, Jim Croce played in various rock bands before moving to New York in 1967 where he performed in folk clubs. By 1969, he and his wife Ingrid were signed to Capitol Records for a self-titled collection. The album's failure led to Croce's returning to Pennsylvania and taking on work as a truck driver and telephone engineer. Meanwhile, he continued with songwriting and, after sending demo tapes to former college friend and New York record producer Tommy West, Croce secured a new contract with the ABC Records label. Croce's second album, 1972's You Don't Mess Around With Jim (he had issued an ultra-rare home recording, Facets, in 1966), provided the artist with a US Top 10 hit with the title-track and, along with 'Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)', helped establish Croce as a songwriter of distinction. The album also climbed to the top of the US album chart in July. In April 1973, he topped the US charts with the narrative 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown', but a few months later he died in a plane crash at Natchitoches, Louisiana, along with his guitarist Maury Mulheisen. In the wake of his death Croce registered another US Top 10 hit with 'I Got A Name', which was featured in the Jeff Bridges movie The Last American Hero. The contemplative 'Time In A Bottle' was released in November 1973 and provided Croce with a posthumous US number 1. It was a fitting valediction. During 1974, further releases kept Croce's name in the US charts, including 'I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song' and 'Workin' At The Car Wash Blues'. His son, A.J. Croce, began his own recording career in the 90s.
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