Happy 45th: Jim Croce, I GOT A NAME
45 years ago this week, the fifth studio album by Jim Croce arrived in record stores, making fans happy while also thoroughly depressing them, since it was also the singer-songwriter’s first posthumous album.
Croce was killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1937, while in the midst of his Life and Times tour, and just to make things a little worse, it was literally the day before the release of the title track of I GOT A NAME when the Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree during takeoff from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana. Croce – who was only 30 years old – had just wrapped the recording of the aforementioned album a week before his death, so we can at least thank heaven for that small favor, but it’s hardly a substitute for having many, many more Croce albums.
I GOT A NAME is best remembered for its title track and its second single, “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” both of which were top-10 hits, but the album also secured a third top-40 hit with “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues,” which climbed to #32. The latter song, you may recall, also received some additional attention when it was crooned by Gonzo the Great on an episode of The Muppet Show.
I GOT A NAME would prove to be the last new Croce album of studio material, as he hadn’t accumulated enough additional recordings to make up another LP, but it was a great way to go out: in addition to climbing all the way to #2 on the Billboard 200 and going gold, it also contributed the aforementioned songs to Croce’s immortal best-of collection, PHOTOGRAPHS & MEMORIES, which is a perpetual reminder that while he wasn’t with us for long, he left a tremendous musical legacy behind nonetheless.
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