On July 21, 1973, Jim Croce’s “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. A singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, Croce made a career of singing humorous songs about working class characters. “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” was the first of two No. 1 hits for Croce, and followed “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” and “Operator.” Almost exactly two months after this triumph, on Sept. 20, Croce was killed when his chartered plane crashed in Louisiana. He was 30 years old. A trio of posthumous singles reached the top 10, including “I Got a Name” and his second No. 1, “Time in a Bottle.”
Jessica Wheeler is a columnist for AliveTampaBay.