(Toledo, OH) Driving through the rain this morning I took out a Jim Croce CD and found myself taking a melancholy detour into the past.
Croce, for those unaware, died at age 30 in a plane crash on September 20, 1973 along with his musical sidekick Maury Muehleisen. The sudden passing of this brilliant singer-songwriter hit me particularly hard as a child, for the sounds of Croce's music appealed to both me and my parents: his songs were one of our few areas of musical agreement.
Songs such as "Time In A Bottle," "I Got A Name," and "I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song" have aged quite well, and Croce's body of work - cruelly limited by the whims of Fortuna - stands as an essential component of American pop culture. The guitar duets of Croce and Muehleisen remain as beautiful and evocative as ever.
As with any life cut short, one wonders what Croce might have accomplished in the 33 years since his passing. Croce, however, had just entered an incredibly creative streak after signing his major label contract, and he released his three studio albums in 14 months after joining ABC Records.
There are prolific songwriters, and then there are creative virtuosos who seem to tap into another entire dimension of inspiration, something spiritual, something otherworldly.
Jim Croce was that sort of person, and I will forever miss him.