Friday, April 19, 2024

50 Years Later, Jim Croce’s Greatest Hits Album Number 2 on iTunes, Two Months in Top 10


You really don’t mess around with Jim.

Literally 50 years (and 6 months) after his tragic death in a plane crash, singer songwriter Jim Croce is ruling the charts.

Croce’s album of hits, called “Greatest,” has risen to number 2 on the album charts. It’s been in the top 10 for all of January and February.

“Greatest” has survived a slew of new releases that have come and gone.

In the space of maybe two years in 1972-74, Croce was a phenom on radio. His acoustic guitar driven hits included “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” “Time in a Bottle,” “Operator,” “I Got a Name,” “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” and many others.

Croce (pronounced Crow-chee) with his memorable handlebar mustache was the talk of the town. And then on September 20, 1973, Croce, just 30, saw it all end in a plane crash in Louisiana. Back then we were certainly in the era of rock star deaths after Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. But this one was hard to understand since Croce was such a vibrant, overnight sensation. It was really cruel.

According to Luminate, “Greatest” is the number 3 best selling digital album right now. It looks like it’s sold the equivalent of 35,000 copies in 8 weeks, but that number may still be revised. “Tin a Bottle” is the leader among its individual tracks, largely because it’s unparalleled piece of beautiful music. When Croce died, it was already on the charts. The irony of the song’s message propelled it to number 1.

Well, real songs are back in fashion with performers like Taylor Swift and Noah Kahan. Maybe a new generation is reaching back to find their predecessors. (I’d love to see Jorma Kakounen’s “Genesis” get the same reception — and he’s alive!)

So kudos to Jim Croce! He’d have been a great 80 year old! But timeless music lives on!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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