Jim Croce was an incredibly talented guitarist and singer-songwriter in the 1970s who was killed in a plane crash just as his star was beginning to rise.
On December 29, 1973, two months after he died, the 30-year-old was awarded his 2nd #1 chart topper for "Time in a Bottle."
His first #1 U.S. hit, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," was released in July 1973, two months before he died. His wife Ingrid said the song was written for an actual soldier named Leroy Brown who Croce met while in the National Guard. "He was a guy that Jim kind of related to," Ingrid told Songfacts. "He liked to sing with him. This guy had gone AWOL but he came back to get his paycheck, and he got caught. Jim just thought he was such a funny guy that he thought he'd include his name in the song, and it just worked."
"Time In A Bottle" on the You Don't Mess Around with Jim albumwas writtenthe night that he found out his wife was pregnant. They named their boy Adrian and he is now a singer-songwriter who goes by the name A.J. Croce.
On September 20, 1973, Croce boarded a small plane an hour after playing Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum during his Life and Times tour.
It was a dark night but the conditions were clear and visibility was said to have been good at the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana. Somehow, however, the pilot clipped a pecan tree at the end of the runway and Croce was killed along with Muehleisen, the pilot Robert N. Elliott, comedian George Stevens, manager & booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, and road manager Dennis Rast.
Ingrid keeps his memory alive at a restaurant in San Diego called Croces Park West.