Jim Croce是個傳奇性的人物，在他短短三十年的生命中，從玩具店 的店員、卡車司機、電台DJ、廣告業務員、工人到臨時教師，幾乎什麼樣的工作都嘗試過。他來自費城，學生時代就對音樂有著一份執著 的狂熱，曾經組過好幾支民歌與藍調的樂隊。大學畢業後，為了生活，他到處打零工，還因為不小心被鐵鎚傷到手指，自己摸索出一套可 以不用到那受傷的指頭的吉他彈奏技巧。當然，在打工之餘，他也不斷的磨練自己的音樂創作能力。
在Jim Croce念大學的時候，他有個知己的好友，名叫Tommy West。這位老同學後來進入唱片界，和Terry Cashman搭檔，在六○年代中 期成為快速竄紅的唱片製作人。1967年，在老友的堅持下，Jim Croce帶著同樣愛唱歌的新婚妻子，搬到了紐約，夫妻一起在一些咖 啡店和小型的俱樂部裡賣唱，等待時機。
Tommy替Jim Croce夫妻爭取到唱片合約，出了一張專輯，可惜的是， 或許他們的時機真的還不成熟，專輯的銷路慘到讓他們抬不起頭，這 對夫妻只好傷心的回到老家去，一待就是兩年半。夫妻倆拼命打工， 好維持基本的生活。
而儘管出師不利，Jim Croce在充當卡車司機之餘，仍然沒有忘記繼 續他所熱愛的音樂創作。當他的作品累積到六首的時候，他把歌曲用卡帶錄下來，寄給老友Tommy West和他的搭檔，Terry Cashman。這回，他的作品顯然成熟多了，West和Cashman重新對他有了信心， 特別邀請他到曼哈頓，進入正式的錄音間，把那些作品錄製成母帶，替他尋求唱片公司的支持。
1972年，ABC唱片公司把Jim Croce簽到旗下，推出了他的第一張專 輯【You Don't Mess Around with Jim】，同名的單曲獲得了第八名 的好成績，不久，另一首單曲「Operator」也受到了大眾的喜愛。突然之間，大家都注意到這個外型有點其貌不揚，作品風格卻很清新、 內容很生活化、甚至帶著些哲理的新人。
1973年的九月二十號， Jim Croce第三張專輯的宣傳才剛開始，新片 還來不及全面上市，他就因為飛機失事而離開了人世，這的確是非常可惜的。在他過世之後，歌迷們紛紛搶購他的遺作，還因而使得他的 第一張專輯再度暢銷，而奪得連續五週的排行冠軍呢。而他在首張專輯裡面的單曲「Time In a Bottle」，也跟著登上冠軍寶座。
For those who want to dig a little deeper into Croce's music than just his well-known songs, the double-CD set The 50th Anniversary Collection is a fine buy. The 49-track collection, released in 1992 to commemorate what would have been Croce's 50th birthday, includes all of his radio singles as well as many of the noteworthy album tracks that the single-disc Photographs and Memories overlooks. It's not quite a flawless compilation; both discs have a substantial amount of filler, but that doesn't stop the 50th Anniversary Collection from being a great retrospective on a career that was silenced far too soon.
In the music industry, arguably the worst tragedy that can befall an artist is to die in their prime, when he or she is just beginning to break through to the mainstream and reach people on a national level. One such artist was Jim Croce, a songwriter with a knack for both upbeat, catchy singles and empathetic, melancholy ballads. Though Croce only recorded a few studio albums before an untimely plane crash, he continues to be remembered posthumously. Croce appealed to fans as a common man, and it was not a gimmick -- he was a father and husband who went through a series of blue-collar jobs. And whether he used dry wit, gentle emotions, or sorrow, Croce sang with a rare form of honesty and power. Few artists have ever been able to pull off such down-to-earth storytelling as convincingly as Croce.
James Croce was born in Philadelphia, PA, on January 10, 1943. Raised on ragtime and country, Croce played the accordion as a child and would eventually teach himself the guitar. It wasn't until his freshman year of college that he began to take music seriously, forming several bands over the next few years. After graduation, he continued to play various gigs at local bars and parties, working as both a teacher and construction worker to support himself and his wife, Ingrid. In 1969, the Croces and an old friend from college, Tommy West, moved to New York and record an album. When the Jim and Ingrid record failed to sell, they moved to a farm in Lyndell, PA, where Jim juggled several jobs, including singing for radio commercials. Eventually he was noticed and signed by the ABC/Dunhill label and released his second album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim, in 1972. The record spawned three hits: "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)," and "Time in a Bottle." The latter would become Croce's breakthrough hit, shooting all the way to number one on the Billboard charts. Croce quickly followed with Life and Times in early 1973 and gained his first number one hit with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown."
After four years of grueling tour schedules, Croce grew homesick. Wishing to spend more time with Ingrid and his infant son Adrian James, he planned to take a break after the Life and Times tour was completed. Unfortunately, the tour would never finish; just two months after "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" topped the charts, Croce's plane crashed in Natchitoches, LA. Croce and the four other passengers (including band member Maury Muehleisen) were killed instantly.
Ironically, Jim Croce's career peaked after his death. In December of 1973, the album I Got a Name surfaced, but it was "Time in a Bottle," from 1972's You Don't Mess Around with Jim which would become his second number one single. Shortly afterwards, "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" reached the Top Ten. Several albums were released posthumously, most notably the greatest hits collection, Photographs and Memories, which became a best-seller. Several other compilations have since been issued, such as the 1992 release The 50th Anniversary Collection and the 2000 compilation Time in a Bottle: The Definitive Collection. Listening to the songs Croce recorded, one cannot help but wonder how far his extraordinary talents could have taken him if he would have perhaps lived a few years longer. Unfortunately, such a question may only be looked at rhetorically, but Jim Croce continues to live on in the impressive catalog of songs he left behind.
01. Spin, Spin, Spin
03. Big Wheel
04. Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild, Wild Women
05. (And) I Remember Her
06. Cotton Mouth River
07. More Than That Tomorrow
08. The Migrant Worker
09. Child Of Midnight
10. Stone Walls
11. King's Song
12. Mississippi Lady
13. Which Way Are You Goin'
14. Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)
15. You Don't Mess Around With Jim
16. Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day
17. New York's Not My Home
18. Hard Time Losin' Man
19. Photographs And Memories
20. Walkin' Back To Georgia
21. Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)
22. Time In A Bottle
23. Box #10
24. A Long Time Ago
01. Hey Tomorrow
02. Chain Gang Medley: Chain Gang/He Don't Love/Searchin'
03. Old Man River
04. Careful Man
05. These Dreams
06. It Doesn't Have To Be That Way
07. Dreamin' Again
08. Alabama Rain
09. A Good Time Man Like Me Ain't Got No Business (Singin' The Blues)
10. Next Time, This Time
11. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
12. One Less Set Of Footsteps
13. Roller Derby Queen
14. Speedball Tucker
15. I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song
16. I Got A Name
18. Five Short Minutes
20. The Hard Way Every Time
22. Workin' At The Car Wash Blues
23. Lover's Cross
24. Salon And Saloon
25. Top Hat Bar And Grille