Dec 29, 1973: Jim Croce’s Posthumous ‘Time in a Bottle’ Hits #1

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Jim-Croce-r01Best Classic Bands commemorated Jim Croce‘s untimely death in 1973 with our On This Day tribute on September 20.

“Time In A Bottle” was released posthumously and subsequently became the classic rock performer’s second #1 chart hit on this day in 1973. (Earlier that year, Croce saw his “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” become his first chart topper.)

In his short time as a successful folk-rock singer-songwriter, he displayed a warm and at times lovingly humorous gift for telling stories and conveying emotions with a genuinely populist touch. Combined with his gifts as a performer, it augured a long and winning career.

His break came when he began working with the production team of Terry Cashman and Tommy West, and subsequently signed a deal with ABC Records. Croce’s 1972 debut album You Don’t Mess Around With Jim yielded him a #8 single with its snappy title tune and a #17 hit with the affecting “Operator (That’s Not the Way it Feels). ”

Croce died on tour when his plane crashed just after take-off in Natchitoches, LA. Also killed were his accompanist, Maury Muehleisen, manager/booking agent, road manager, the comedian George Stevens who was Croce’s opening act, and the pilot. In just two years as a national presence, Croce became a beloved artist whose songs still play and resonate with listeners on the radio.

Related: What were the biggest radio hits of 1973?

In his all-too-brief career, Croce earned five Top 10 singles. We can only imagine how many more he would have gifted us.

Related: Jim Croce – What might have been

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  1. Baybluesman
    #1 Baybluesman 29 December, 2021, 20:57

    Great talent, lost all too soon.

    Although I never met the man, he had this sense of congeniality, empathy for the common man, and displaying humor, while being cerebral.

    Never had the chance to see him perform in person, but the attributes above shine through, thanks to documentaries and preserving shows such as The Midnight Special.

    Just want to take this opportunity, although this article is about “Time In A Bottle” (a classic on its own) to thank Jim Croce for “I Got A Name” which chokes me up every time I hear it, as it fully reminds me of my deceased Father, who taught me to follow the road less traveled, and to make my own mark on the world, to the best of my ability.

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