a sensitive singer-songwriter, the ‘70s hitmaker was often not that nice a
person, as I Got a Name – The Jim Croce Story (Da Capo Press), written by his
widow Ingrid with Jimmy Rock, reveals.
By John B. Moore
The late Jim Croce created a reputation for himself as a
sensitive singer/songwriter, tossing out hits like “Time in a Bottle” and “I’ll
Have to Say I Love You in a Song” in the early ‘70s, causing women everywhere
to glance at the radio and mouth a silent wish their man could be so in touch
with his feelings.
Thanks to I Got a Name,
a biography written by Croce’s widow Ingrid and her second husband (yup, it is
a bit weird), we get a more complete picture of Jim, one that puts some
fissures in those rose colored glasses we looked at the musician through. Among
the expanded view we now have of Croce is a philandering husband (busted when
Ingrid is cleaning out his suitcase and finds two gift boxes of jewelry, one
for her and one for the mistress); with a short temper when it came to his
toddler; and also a man became a quick fan of pills. The worst revelation though
comes after Ingrid breaks down to her husband and admits to being raped while
waiting for him to join her on a vacation to Mexico. He not only blames the rape
on her (nice guy), but then holds it against her for most of their short life
Yes, he was under a lot of pressure to make it as a musician
and even after having hits on the radio he and his wife never had much money, thanks
to a horrible management contract held by his childhood friend. But that hardly
justifies the way he treated those close to him.
The book is not meant to be a black eye on Croce, but rather
a complete look at a musician who went away just as the world was getting to
know him. It’s just hard to see past his many faults. Even sensitive
songwriters from the ‘70s can be miserable people.