The Best Jim Croce Lyrics

The Best Jim Croce Lyrics

During the tragically short career of Jim Croce he managed to pen some of what I consider to be the most charming lyrics of the era. He could be humorous, incisive, gentle or melancholy. His unique lyrical style together with the inimitable country-tinged nasal voice were genuinely unique. Here’s my opinion of what were his best lyrics from the end of his career:

1. “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues”. No, this time Croce never did work at a car wash. But he did get the idea for this song when he was, like the subject of his lyrics, doing something menial that he thought was beneath him. Seems that Croce was at Fort Jackson running telephone cables on poles. While he was up there it occurred to him that he really should be doing something different. It occurred to him that a lot of people must feel the same way. The rest is history. Sample lyric: “I’m stuck here rubbin’ these fenders with a rag and walkin’ home in soggy old shoes.”

2. “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song”. Croce liked to avoid confrontation and it led indirectly to his song. As Ingrid described it, he had a chance to come home for the weekend after months on the road but failed to tell her that the next day they would be joined by a full-sized film crew. The following morning they had 15 guests from Acorn Productions who were there to make a promotional film of “Jim Croce at Home on the Farm”. Suddenly Ingrid had to feed the entire film crew three meals on a stretched budget. Let Ingrid tell the rest: “He hated questions as much as he hated confrontation, especially about money. He stormed out of our bedroom and went down to the kitchen table to brood. The next morning he woke me gently by singing his new song. ‘Every time I tried to tell you the words just came out wrong. So I’ll have to say I love you, in a song.'”

3. “The Hard Way Every Time”. We didn’t know it and he didn’t know it but this was to be his “final” song, the last song on the last album he would ever record. And although we can be certain that he didn’t intend it this way it’s as beautiful a farewell as we could have asked for. Croce may have had a stubborn streak because he portrays himself exquisitely as good-natured but a hard learner. And yet at the end, again being almost painfully candid, he says he wouldn’t change things if he could. Sample lyric: “I would sure be the first one to say when I look at myself today I wouldn’ta done it any other way.”

Q: How do you replace a guy like that? A: You don’t. In the end we should be grateful that Croce had the chance to make as many albums as he did before Fate stole him from us. As Horatio said of Hamlet, “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest”.

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