At the age of 5, Jim Croce learned to play his first song on the accordion, “Lady of Spain.”
When he was 15 Croce persuaded his father that he had to have a guitar to help him make his own music. At a pawnshop along Philadelphia’s skid row, his younger brother’s clarinet that was no longer being used was traded for a used Harmony “F-slot” acoustic guitar.
The folk/pop singer released five studio albums and 11 singles. “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time in a Bottle” were both No. 1 hits.
“There’s something about approaching universal truths with the simplicity of the acoustic guitar. You can take it anywhere and it helps me reach listeners of all ages and walks of life,” said Croce.
On September 20, 1973, Croce had just finished a performance at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. He got on a small chartered plane to head to another show in Sherman, Texas.
The pilot reportedly suffered a heart attack and hit a tree at the end of the runaway after taking off. All six people aboard were killed including Croce and his guitarist Maury Muehleisen you’ll see in our video.
There’s no telling how much more success Croce would have enjoyed.
Croce left behind his wife and 2-year old son. He was 30.
In 1990 Croce was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame.
Two weeks after he died, Croce’s third and final album, “I Got a Name” was released that included this lovely song that he wrote.