Jim Croce was born on January 10, 1943, in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began playing the accordion at age 5, and by his 20s, was touring in multiple folk groups. He released five studio albums and 11 singles. He perished in a terrible plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana on September 20, 1973, in the age of 30. Raised listening to ragtime and country music, Croce picked up music in a young age. He learned to play his first tune on the accordion, “Lady of Spain,” when he was 5. He finally taught himself to play guitar.
Following a brief stint in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Villanova University in Pennsylvania in 1961. It wasn’t until his freshman year of school that Croce started taking music more seriously. He played in a number of groups, performing at fraternity parties and at other universities around Philadelphia. In now, among Croce’s groups was selected for a foreign exchange tour of Africa as well as the Middle East. Obviously they did not speak English over there, but if you mean what you are singing, folks comprehend.”
After graduation, Croce worked on building teams and taught guitar in a summer camp. He also worked as a teacher in a junior high school in South Philadelphia. Croce met his future wife, Ingrid Jacobson, in a folk music celebration. They wed in 1966, the exact same year that Croce released a self-issued solo album, Facets. In the mid-1960s to early 1970s, Croce and Jacobson performed as a duet. In the beginning, they sang covers by musicians like Joan Baez and Woody Guthrie, but were shortly composing their very own music. Croce got a regular job in a steak house in Lima, Pennsylvania.
In 1968, record producer Tommy West, who’d attended Villanova with Croce, supported Croce and Jacobson to try their fortune in Nyc. West introduced the couple to Terry Cashman, who helped make their very first record, Croce. Within another couple of years, they drove more than 300,000 miles, playing school and coffeehouse circuits and collecting guitars.
Croce and his own wife became disillusioned with the music business and Nyc, in order that they sold their guitars and went to the Pennsylvania countryside of Lyndell, where they had their son, Adrian James, in 1971. Jacobson learned to bake bread and can fruits and vegetables. Croce got a job driving trucks and working building, and continued to compose tunes, frequently in regards to the people he’d meet at bars and truck stops while working.
In 1970, among Croce’s former school buddies, Joe Salviuolo, also called Sal Joseph, presented Croce to Maury Muehleisen, a classically trained pianist, guitarist and singer songwriter from Trenton, New Jersey. Sal motivated the duet to get together and record new tunes, also to send them to ABC Records. Initially, Croce backed Muehleisen on guitar, but their jobs afterwards turned, with Muehleisen playing lead guitar to Croce’s music. Following Sal’s guidance, Croce and Muehleisen recorded their songs and sent them to ABC, and shortly met with producer Cashman in Nyc. In 1972, ABC Records signed with Croce and released his first solo album, You Do Not Mess Around With Jim. The record was an immediate success, and became a Top 20 album in America. In early 1973, ABC released his second record, Life and Times, featuring “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum. Upon takeoff, the airplane failed to gain enough altitude and crashed right into a pecan tree by the end of the runway. As stated by the official report, the 57-year old charter pilot had suffered a heart attack. Croce is entombed at Haym Salomon Graveyard in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Muehleisen is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey. The posthumous release of Croce’s third record I Got a Name in December 1973contained three hits: “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues,” “I Will Have to Say I Love You in a Song” as well as the title track.
The news of Croce’s passing triggered renewed curiosity about his former records. In 1990, Croce was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His tunes also have continued to be utilized for the big screen, as seen with pictures likeInvincible (2006), set in Croce’s hometown of Philadelphia, and Django Unchained (2012).
Adrian Croce, who was born on September 28, 1971, became an accomplished singer songwriter, musician and pianist. He performs beneath the name A.J. Croce and runs a private record label, Seedling Records. Jim Croce composed both positive and empathetic, melancholy tunes using a visually-rich lyrical design. He was known as a friendly and honest performer, endearing him to a broad array of fans.