About Jim Croce
At a time when cool singer/songwriters came off as oracles, poets, and dark geniuses, Jim Croce broke through in the early '70s by being relatable. He didn't suck the air from the room; he filled it up with witty sketches of characters he'd met in pool halls and bars in South Philly (where he was born in 1943 to Italian American parents) and from blue-collar jobs he took while learning to work a coffeehouse crowd. These showed up as characters like "Jim"—don't mess with him!—and "Rapid Roy (That Stock Car Boy)" from Croce's 1972 major-label debut, You Don't Mess Around With Jim. Dudes like Leroy in "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," his rollicking 1973 hit from follow-up album Life and Times, put Croce in the spotlight. Playing in Natchitoches, Louisiana later that year, he pulled out the new "I Got a Name"—this time casting himself as a bit of a brute who just wanted to make his parents proud. Flying out that night, his plane crashed into a tree. From his posthumous album, I Got a Name, people have gotten to know Croce better—as a big-hearted, rough-hewn lug. By the time the album was featured in Quentin Tarantino's 2012 Western Django Unchained, everybody knew his name.
BORNJanuary 10, 1943