10 January 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 20 September 1973, Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA. Originally a university disc jockey, 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 (b. 27 April 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) were signed to Capitol Records for a self-titled collection. The albums failure led to Croces 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. Croces second album, 1972s You Dont 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 (Thats 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 Croces name in the US charts, including Ill 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.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.