For well over a century, when the story of American popular music took hold, as a result of the commercial success of the musical style of ‘Tin-Pan Alley’, songs have been written about love, love lost, escape and change. And that’s what the songs in our Jim Croce Anthology are all about, but with stories behind every one!
Jim Croce was a student of history and American music. For over a hundred years, in isolated communities, Americans grew up entertaining themselves with songs. They brought these songs from their homelands.
After two world wars, Kern and Gershwin, hillbilly cowboys, Marxist folk poets, and Country & Western heroes, brought music to our airwaves, breaking down the rural isolation and making way for record companies.
Black folks with the blues and Good Ole’ American Rock and Roll, full of heavy sexual innuendos that circled back around to the poet-musicians, the “troubadours”, that originated in Southern France during the 12th and 13th centuries came back to life again in the sixties and early seventies; Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and of course, Jim Croce! By all definitions, I believe that although Jim Croce drew deeply from the many styles of American music, he remained suspended between them all.
Whether he was defined as a folk singer, a blues artist or a rock musician, Jim was always a “troubadour” in the true sense. He was an inviting tangle of contradictions; complex and innocent, shy, yet charming, intimate yet with deep-seated reserve. But, when he had his six or twelve-string guitar in his hands, he was a highly sophisticated verse technician, refining and continuing the art of the ballad. I believe I knew Jim Croce as well as anyone, and yet, after all these years, it is the music that tells his story best.
When I opened Croce’s Restaurant and Bar and Croce’s Park West, I did it to keep his legacy alive. For thirty-three I was dedicated to keeping a tribute to my late husband Jim Croce and as a home for his memorabilia and his fans. My greatest efforts went into trying my best to never diminish the feelings people had for Jim Croce. I’d hoped that at every meal, the service and the experience the fans took home with them, only enhanced the feeling they got when they heard Jim Croce’s songs. But now our restaurants and bars are closed and we need to keep Jim Croce alive on-line.
I write this Jim Croce Anthology, “The Stories Behind the Songs” with the hope that my stories enhance and embellish the experience of listening to Jim Croce sing his songs. The legacy that Jim Croce gave us all is a timeless gift that continues to grow. With forty-three years gone since Jim’s passing, the music lives on to tell the story of our times and of the bond we all shared. Because playing music wasn’t just about a job, it was truly about Jim Croce following his bliss. Let’s keep it going on-line!