The American folk singer known as Jim Croce was also known for performing soft rock hits during his music career that spanned from 1966 until 1973. Before the world was robbed of Croce’s musical talent on September 20, 1973, when he died in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of five other individuals. His death occurred one day before his lead single from his fifth album, (I Got a Name) was released. Even after his death, Croce’s music continued to chart during the 1970s. His son, A.J. Croce, has since carried on the family legacy as a singer-songwriter when his career began in the 1990s. The discographic portfolio belonging to Jim Croce sees five studio albums, three live albums, and twenty-one compilation albums. He also has to his credit a video album, two music videos, and twelve singles. Although Croce’s life and music career were cut short due to tragedy, the timelessness behind his best music releases remains a solid favorite among music fans to this day.
5. Jim & Ingrid Croce
The second studio album Jim Croce recorded and released was a collaborated effort with his wife, Ingrid through Croce’s first record label, Capitol. It was originally released in January 1969, then re-released with different titles, such as Bombs over Puerto Rico, Another Day, Another Town, and Approaching Day. The critical review from AllMusic rated the album at only two out of five stars. Due to the lack of commercial success the album achieved, Jim and Ingrid Croce parted ways with Capitol Records and signed with ABC Records, a label that seemed to have a much better understanding of how to promote Croce’s music.
When Jim Croce took it upon himself to record and release his debut album in 1966, he did this as an independent label. He made five hundred copies of this album out of his own pocket, paying $500 USD from the money he received from his parents that were supposed to be a wedding gift for him and his bride-to-be, Ingrid Croce. When his parents saw he put the money into producing a record, they were convinced his effort would be a failure and he would give up music and return to his college education. Not only did he sell all five hundred of the records he released to the public, but he also made a $2,500 USD profit. Most of those albums were sold while Croce performed at his shows. In 2004, an expanded two-disc version was released as a dedication to the memory of Croce.
3. I Got a Name
On December 1, 1973, (I Got a Name) became the fifth and final studio album that would come directly from Jim Croce. He died in a plane crash a day before its title track was released, which peaked as high as number ten on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also a global success, peaking as high as number five in Canada, at number twenty-five in the Netherlands, and at number forty-nine in Australia. The album itself became certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (ARIA). The album did receive favorable reviews and had a total of four singles from it. Aside from the title track, (I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song) became a number one hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart in 1974 and was a number nine hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It charted in Canada as high as number four and at number twenty-nine in the Netherlands. His third single, (Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues), charted best in Canada, peaking at number two. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary, it peaked at number nine, and on the US Billboard Hot 100, at number thirty-two. The fourth single, (Lover’s Cross), was only released in the UK and did not earn any chart success. However, the album became certified gold by the RIAA not long after it was released and still remains as a cherished piece as an album by fans and collectors who were all in agreement Croce was taken away from the world of music much too soon.
2. Life and Times
On July 1, 1973, Jim Croce’s fourth studio album, (Life and Times), was released, which had music critics take notice the nostalgic side of the singer was beginning to produce impersonal experiments with his music. Overall, the album did receive somewhat favorable reviews and it did peak at number seven in album sales on the US Billboard 200. It also became certified gold by the RIAA for having over 500,000 copies sold. There were three singles that were released from the album, starting with (One Less Set of Footsteps), which became a number eight hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and a number thirty-seven hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. (Bad, Bad Leroy Brown) was the second single, which gave Jim Croce his first number one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, and it also topped the Canadian music chart. The single became certified gold with the RIAA as well. (It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way) was the album’s third single, which charted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-four.
1. You Don’t Mess Around with Jim
(You Don’t Mess Around with Jim) was the third studio album released by Jim Croce, which was his first through the label, ABC Records. In April 1972, the first of three albums from the label also became the first of three albums credited to Croce that would become certified gold by the RIAA. It also served as the artist’s big breakthrough that began with his debut single, which shares the same title as the album. On the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, the song peaked at number nine and it was a number eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Both the song and the album made a big enough impression to get Canada’s attention as the song peaked as high as number four on its chart. In France, the song charted as high as number fifteen and it was a number eighty hit in Australia. (Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels)) was the album’s second single, which peaked at number eleven on both the Canadian music chart and on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song charted at its best at number seventeen. The third, yet most successful single in Jim Croce’s career was (Time in a Bottle). This became Croce’s signature song and deservedly so. It topped the US Billboard Hot 100, the US Billboard Adult Contemporary, and in Canada. Just like the album, this song earned a gold certification from the RIAA and remains as Jim Croce’s most beloved performance of all time.