Hi everyone. Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing. But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.
Every decade seems to have an immensely talented artist who is on the way to having a notable career in music until a plane crash ends his life. In the 1950’s we had the three singers who died together-Buddy Holly, “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson & Ritchie Valens. In the 1960’s it was Otis Redding. And in the 1970’s it was Jim Croce.
He was born 78 years ago on Jan 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He released five studio albums between 1966 and 1973 which included one with his wife, Ingrid. They were married in 1966, the same year he released his first album made with his own money. His musical career began in earnest when he was a student at Villanova University. He started playing in bands, performing in coffee houses & university parties. After he was married he served in the Army National Guard & continued to work on his music. He was also working various odd jobs to earn money to support his family, which by 1971 included his son, Adrian James (A.J.). A year later Croce signed a record deal with ABC Records.
His third album, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, was released in April 1972, It featured four hits: “Time In A Bottle”, “Photographs and Memories”, the title track & today’s pick which I absolutely adore. It is one of those songs that brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. I am no stranger to sad love songs but one where a guy loses his girl to his “best old ex-friend” is especially heartbreaking in a simple yet elegant way. And despite the fact that this song is almost 50 years old & the profession Croce sings about no longer exists, it does not seem dated to me at all. It just feels like a beautiful sadness.
Croce died at the age of 30 in a plane crash on September 20, 1973. The five other passengers onboard were his guitarist Maury Muehleisen, 24, comedian George Stevens, 36, who was the opening act at Croce’s shows; his road manager Dennis Rast, 30; Croce’s booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, 28, and the pilot. Croce’s son A..J. became a singer-songwriter himself & often performs his father’s songs in concert.
“Operator, oh, could you help me place this call?
‘Cause I can’ t read the number that you just gave me
There’s something in my eyes, you know it happens every time
I think about a love that I thought would save me“.
Maury Muehleisen (L) and Jim Croce (R) circa 1973. (Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Jim Croce: “Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)” (1972, written by Jim Croce).
I do not own the rights to anything. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.