Sunday, September 25, 2016

Donna Fargo~ "You Can't Be a Beacon"



Donna Fargo (born Yvonne Vaughan; November 10, 1945 in Mount Airy, North Carolina) is an American country singer-songwriter, who is best known for a series of Top 10 country hits in the 1970s.

These include "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" and "Funny Face," both which became crossover pop hits in 1972.[3]

Fargo has won major awards since her debut in the late 1960s, including one Grammy Award, five awards from the Academy of Country Music and one award from the Country Music Association.

 Donna Fargo


Donna Fargo in 1978.jpg
Fargo performing in 1978
Background information
Birth name Yvonne Vaughn[1][2]
Born November 10, 1945 (age 70)
Origin Mount Airy, North Carolina, United States[1]
Genres Country pop
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, author
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1967–present
Labels Challenge Records
Dot
Warner Bros.
SongBird
RCA
Mercury Nashville
Cleveland
Ramco Records
Associated acts Billy Joe Royal

 

Biography

Early life

Fargo had been singing since her early years, but never thought about singing professionally.

Fargo attended High Point College, then headed west to study at the University of Southern California.[1]

After getting her degree, she became a teacher at Northview High School in Covina, California, eventually progressing to head of the English Department.[4]

 While in California, she met Stan Silver, who became her manager when Fargo was performing in California clubs and first seeking a career in music. At this point, Fargo was still teaching.

Fargo and Silver married in 1968.[1]

Career discovery

She soon started to appear around Los Angeles, California while teaching.

She went to Phoenix in 1966, adopted the name Donna Fargo, and recorded her first single. Her first major concert was with Ray Price, and she began playing in Southern California.[4]

Fargo recorded for a few small labels in the early 1960s, including Ramco and Challenge, but songs like "Who's Been Sleeping on My Side of the Bed" did not catch fire.[5]

Although her original singles were not successful, the Academy of Country Music Awards named her the "Top New Female Vocalist" award in 1969.[6]

In 1972, Fargo recorded a single for the Decca label before achieving her breakthrough later that year.

Music career

1972 – 1978: breakthrough

In 1972, one of Fargo's self-penned songs, "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" was picked up by Dot Records.[1]

Fargo was then signed to the label, and the single was released the same year. She was one of the few female country singers to write her own material at the time, and one of the few country singers to cross over to the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in a big way, which she did in 1972 with "The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A." (number 11).[7]

The song peaked at No. 1 on the country music chart.

An album of the same name was released following the song's success. The album was certified gold by the RIAA in early 1973, selling over 500,000 copies.[1]

The follow-up single, "Funny Face," also peaked at No. 1 on the country chart, and became a bigger pop hit than her previous single, peaking at No. 5.[1]

Both singles were certified gold by the end of the year.[1]

Fargo never made the Top 40 in pop music again, but she placed over a dozen more singles in the country Top Ten in the 1970s, most written by herself.[7]

Fargo's second album, My Second Album, was released in 1973, peaking at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, as well as spawning the No. 1 country singles, "Superman" and "You Were Always There." The songs both charted on the pop chart.[citation needed]

That same year, Fargo's All About Feeling, her third album, was released.

The album spawned two Top 10 Country hits, "Little Girl Gone" and "I'll Try a Little Bit Harder." The same year, the Grammy Awards gave Fargo the Best Female Country Vocal Performance award for "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA."[6]

She was also named "Top Female Vocalist" by the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Fargo ultimately became the fifth most successful female country artist of the 1970s, according to Billboard Magazine, behind Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, and Lynn Anderson.
For a better part of the 70s, Fargo stayed high on the charts with songs like "It Do Feel Good," and "Mr. Doodles."[8]

Fargo had another successful album with Dot in 1974, releasing Miss Donna Fargo, which spawned three Top 10 hits, including "You Can't Be a Beacon If Your Light Don't Shine."

This song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Chart.

Dot Records was acquired by ABC and there was a noticeable drop-off in chart placings for Fargo, and in 1976, she moved to Warner Bros. Records.[4]

Fargo came out with the On the Move album, which spawned two Top 20 hits. The next year her next album, Fargo Country was released.

The album spawned her first No. 1 Country hit since 1974, "That Was Yesterday," followed by another Top 10 Country hit, "Mockingbird Hill," which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Country Chart in 1977.

Fargo's 1978 album, Shame on Me also yielded two Top 10 hits, the title track and "Do I Love You (Yes in Every Way)," which peaked at No. 2.

Recognized as one of the leading country songwriters of the era, Fargo's songs have been recorded by Tammy Wynette, Sonny James, Kitty Wells, Tanya Tucker, Jody Miller, Marty Robbins, Dottie West and other artists. 

Additionally, almost everything Fargo recorded for years was self-penned, although by the latter half of the 1970s she was also recording covers of songs from writers as diverse as Stonewall Jackson, Vaughn Horton, Bill Enis and Lawton Williams, Paul Anka, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; those covers also became successful hits for Fargo.

Fargo had her own musical television show (produced by the Osmond Brothers), which ran for a year, beginning in 1978.[8]

 Fargo is one of only five country female vocalists to have her own television series.[9]

Kitty Wells was the first, in 1968, and Dolly Parton followed with a show in 1976.


1979: multiple sclerosis


In 1978, Fargo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

She experienced a brief illness, but with medical treatment and her husband's help, Fargo made it back to excellent health, returning to a more limited schedule in 1979 and another Top 10 hit. For the next few years the successes came at a lower level.[4]

Although this serious neurological illness caused a deep decline in her promotional work, Fargo vowed to not let the disease ultimately get to her.

In 1979, she recorded a new album, Just for You, from which the biggest hit was the No. 14 hit "Daddy," a new version of a song that Fargo had recorded in 1969.

The follow-up, "Preacher Berry," peaked outside the Country Top 40.


1980 – present: current music career

Fargo released one more album with Warner Bros. in 1980 before switching to the smaller "Songbird" label in 1981.

She recorded a well-received gospel album in 1981 for MCA/Songbird, and in 1982, she moved to RCA.[4]

Fargo singles charted off RCA in 1983 and 1984, and she recorded one album for the label in 1983.

She recorded a single for Columbia in 1983, and for Cleveland records in 1984.

By now, Fargo's career had begun to decline in terms of album sales and chart placements.

After several other label changes, Fargo signed with Mercury, and began another upswing.[4]

She recorded an album with the label, Winners, which resulted in three singles spawned from the album, including a Top 30 hit, "Me and You."

Fargo also dueted with Billy Joe Royal for her next single, "Members Only." The song became a Top 25 country hit in 1987, peaking at No. 23.

In 1991, she released the song "Soldier Boy," a reference to the Gulf War which was going on at the time. The song was Fargo's last charting single.

After several years without a full-length recording, in 1992, Fargo began work on her autobiography.[4]

In 2008, Fargo released a new single CD, "We Can Do Better in America."

Writing career

Since having left recording albums and singles, Fargo has since pursued other careers outside of the music business.

She has since established a successful line of greeting cards in The Donna Fargo Collection through the Blue Mountain Arts Poets and Artists series.

She released her fourth book in March 2010, entitled I Thanked God For You Today.[10]

Previously, Fargo had released another series of poem books, including Trust in Yourself, To the Love of My Life, and Ten Golden Rules.

Source: Wikipedia.org: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Fargo

 

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Alan Jackson~ "Just As I Am"




Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter and musician, known for blending traditional honky tonk and mainstream country sounds and penning many of his own hits.

He has recorded 15 studio albums, three Greatest Hits albums, two Christmas albums, two Gospel albums and several compilations.

Jackson has sold over 80 million records worldwide, with more than 50 of his singles having appeared on Billboard's list of the "Top 30 Country Songs".[1]

Of Jackson's entries, 35 were number-one hits, with 50 in the Top 10. He is the recipient of 2 Grammys, 16 CMA Awards, 17 ACM Awards and nominee of multiple other awards.

He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

In August 2014 the Country Music Hall of Fame opened an exhibit celebrating Jackson’s 25 years in the music industry.

It was also announced that he was an artist in residency as well, performing shows on October 8 and 22.[2]

The exhibit highlights the different milestones in his career with memorabilia collected over the years. His 25th Anniversary "Keeping It Country" Tour began January 8, 2015, in Estero, FL.[3]

Alan Jackson

AlanJacksonApr10.jpg
Jackson in April 2010
Background information
Birth name Alan Eugene Jackson
Born October 17, 1958 (age 57)
Origin Newnan, Georgia, USA
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • acoustic guitar
Years active 1983–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website alanjackson.com

Early life

Jackson was born to Joseph Eugene "Daddy Gene" Jackson (1927-2000) and Ruth Musick "Mama Ruth" Jackson in Newnan, Georgia, and has four older sisters.

He, his father, mother, and sisters lived in a small home built around his grandfather's old toolshed.[4] Alan Jackson is of English descent.[5][6][7][8][9]

At one point, his bed was in the hallway for lack of room. His mother lives in the home to this day. Jackson sang in church as a child. His first job, at 12, was in a shoe store. He wrote his first song in 1983.

As a youth, Jackson listened primarily to gospel music. Otherwise he was not a major music fan. Then a friend introduced him to the music of Gene Watson, John Anderson, and Hank Williams Jr.

Jackson attended the local Elm Street Elementary and Newnan High School. He started a band after high school.

At the age of 27, Jackson and his wife of six years, Denise, moved from Newnan to Nashville, where he hoped to pursue music full-time.[10]

Career

In Tennessee, Jackson got his first job in The Nashville Network's mailroom.[10] Denise Jackson connected him with Glen Campbell, who helped jumpstart his career.[11] Jackson eventually signed with Arista.[10]

By 1989, he became the first signee to the newly formed Arista Nashville branch of Arista Records.[12]

Arista released Jackson's debut single, "Blue Blooded Woman", in late 1989.

Although the song failed to reach top 40 on Hot Country Songs, he reached number three by early 1990 with "Here in the Real World".[13]

This song served as the title track to his debut album, Here in the Real World, which also included two more top five hits ("Wanted" and "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow") and his first number one, "I'd Love You All Over Again".[13]

Don't Rock the Jukebox was the title of Jackson's second album. Released in 1991, it included four number-one singles: the title track, "Someday", "Dallas" and "Love's Got a Hold on You", and the number three "Midnight in Montgomery".[13]

Jackson also co-wrote several songs on Randy Travis' 1992 album High Lonesome.[12]

A Lot About Livin' (And a Little 'bout Love), his third album, accounted for the number one hits "She's Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues)" (which Travis co-wrote) and "Chattahoochee", plus the top five hits "Tonight I Climbed the Wall", "Mercury Blues" and "(Who Says) You Can't Have It All".

"Chattahoochee" also won him the 1994 Country Music Association (CMA) awards for Single and Song of the Year.

In 1994 Jackson left his management company, Ten Ten Management, which had overseen his career up to that point, and switched to Gary Overton.[14]

His fourth album was titled Who I Am, and it contained four number one hits: a cover of the Eddie Cochran standard "Summertime Blues", followed by "Livin' on Love", "Gone Country" and "I Don't Even Know Your Name". An additional track from the album, a cover of Rodney Crowell's "Song for the Life", made number six. In late 1994, Clay Walker reached number one with "If I Could Make a Living", which Jackson co-wrote.[15] Alan also appeared in the 1996 "When Harry Kept Delores" episode of Home Improvement, singing his hit song "Mercury Blues" about his 1950 Mercury.[16][17]

Mid-late 1990s

The Greatest Hits Collection was released on October 24, 1995.

The disc contained 17 hits, two newly recorded songs ("I'll Try" and "Tall, Tall Trees"), and the song "Home" from Here in the Real World that had never been released as a single.[18]

These first two songs both made number one.

Everything I Love followed in 1996. Its first single was a cover of Tom T. Hall's "Little Bitty", which Jackson took to the top of the charts in late 1996.

The album also included the number one hit "There Goes" and a number two cover of Charly McClain's 1980 single "Who's Cheatin' Who".

The album's fifth single was "A House with No Curtains", which became his first release since 1989 to miss the top 10.[13]

High Mileage was led off by the number four "I'll Go On Loving You".

After it came the album's only number one hit, "Right on the Money", co-written by Phil Vassar.

With Jackson's release of Under the Influence in 1999, he took the double risk on an album of covers of country classics while retaining a traditional sound when a rock- and pop-tinged sound dominated country radio.[19]
When the Country Music Association (CMA) asked George Jones to trim his act to 90 seconds for the 1999 CMA awards, Jones decided to boycott the event.

In solidarity, Jackson interrupted his own song and launched into Jones's song "Choices" and then walked offstage.[20]

Alan was also known for wearing a mullet since 1989. Before then, he had short hair.

2000s


Jackson performing in 2002
After country music changed toward pop music in the 2000s, he and George Strait criticized the state of country music in the song "Murder on Music Row".

The song sparked debate in the country music community about whether "traditional" country music was actually dead or not.[21]

Despite the fact that the song was not officially released as a single, it became the highest-charting nonseasonal album cut (not available in any retail single configuration or released as a promotional single to radio during a chart run) to appear on Hot Country Singles & Tracks in the Broadcast Data Systems era, beating the record previously held by Garth Brooks' "Belleau Wood."

The duo were invited to open the 2000 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMAs) with a performance of the tune.[22]  

Rolling Stone commented on Jackson's style remarking, "If Garth and Shania have raised the bar for country concerts with Kiss-style production and endless costume changes, then Alan Jackson is doing his best to return the bar to a more human level."[23]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Jackson released "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" as a tribute to those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The song became a hit single and briefly propelled him into the mainstream spotlight.

At the 2001 CMA Awards, Jackson debuted the song "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning".

The performance was generally considered the highlight of the show, and Jackson's site crashed the next day from server requests.[24]

The song came to Jackson suddenly, and had not been scheduled for any official release, but the live performance began receiving radio airplay and was soon released as a single.

Jackson released a Christmas album, titled Let It Be Christmas, October 22, 2002.[25]

Jeannie Kendall contacted Jackson to do a duet, and he suggested the song "Timeless and True Love". It appeared on her first solo album, released in 2003.[26]

In early 2006, Jackson released his first gospel music album entitled Precious Memories. He put together the album by the request of his mother, who enjoys religious music.

Jackson considered this album a "side project" and nothing too official, but it was treated as such. More than 1.8 million albums were sold.

Only mere months after the release of Precious Memories in 2006, Jackson released his next album Like Red on a Rose, which featured a more adult contemporary/folk sound.

Unlike most of Jackson's albums, this one earned only a Gold Record, and was criticized as out of character by some fans.

Unlike his previous albums, Like Red on a Rose had a different producer and sound.

Alan's main producer for his music, Keith Stegall, was notably absent from this album. Instead, Alison Krauss was hired to produce the album.

She also chose the songs. Despite being labeled as "country music" or "bluegrass", Like Red on a Rose had a mainstream sound to it, upsetting some fans, even making some of them believe that Jackson was abandoning his traditional past and aiming toward a more mainstream jazz/blues sound.

However, for his next album, he went back to his country roots. Good Time was released on March 4, 2008.

The album's first single, "Small Town Southern Man", was released to radio on November 19.
"Country Boy", "Good Time", "Sissy's Song" and the final single from the album, "I Still Like Bologna", were also released as singles.

"Sissy's Song" is dedicated to a longtime friend of the Jackson family (Leslie "Sissy" Fitzgerald) who worked in their house every day. Fitzgerald was killed in a motorcycle accident in mid-2007.

2010s

His sixteenth studio album, Freight Train, was released on March 30, 2010. The first single was "It's Just That Way", which debuted at No. 50 in January 2010. "Hard Hat and a Hammer" is the album's second single, released in May 2010.

On November 23, 2010, Jackson released another greatest hits package, entitled 34 Number Ones, which features a cover of the Johnny Cash hit "Ring of Fire", as well as the duet with Zac Brown Band, "As She's Walking Away".

On January 20, 2011, it was announced that Jackson and his record label, Sony, parted ways.[27]

On March 23, 2011, Jackson announced his new deal with Capitol's EMI Records Nashville. It is a joint venture between ACR (Alan's Country Records) and Capitol.

All records will be released and marketed through Capitol's EMI Records Nashville label.[28]

In 2012, Jackson released the album Thirty Miles West. Three singles have been released from the album, "Long Way to Go", "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" and "You Go Your Way". None of the singles reached the top 20. A tour in 2013 supported the album.

Jackson released his second gospel album, Precious Memories Volume II, on March 26, 2013.

In 2014, Jackson recorded the opening credits song, "A Million Ways to Die", for the film A Million Ways to Die in the West, co-writing the song with the film's star/writer/director Seth MacFarlane.[29]

In January 2015, Jackson began his 25th anniversary "Keepin' It Country" tour, followed in April with the announcement of his twentieth studio album, Angels and Alcohol, which was released on July 17.[30]

Awards, nominations and induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame

In 1989 he was nominated for a total of six Country Music Association awards (CMAs).[11]

He was nominated for four 1994 CMAs, including Entertainer of the Year.[31]

Jackson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1991; he was inducted by Roy Acuff and Randy Travis.[32][33][34]

Jackson was the most nominated artist at the 29th annual TNN/Music City News Country Awards that was broadcast June 5 from the Grand Ole Opry House.

His six nominations included best entertainer, male artist, vocal collaboration, album, single, and video (two nominations in this category).[35]

At the 2002 CMAs, Jackson set a record for having the most nominations in a single year – ten – many rising from the song "Where Were You".

It also brought his career total up to the second number of most nominations ever, after George Strait.[36] "Where Were You" also was nominated for a Grammy for Song of the Year.

The song was also subsequently parodied in the South Park episode "A Ladder To Heaven".

At the 2003 Academy of Country Music Awards, Jackson won Album of the Year for Drive and Video of the Year for the video to "Drive (For Daddy Gene)."[37]

In 2004, a five-mile (8 km) stretch of Interstate 85 through Jackson's hometown of Newnan was renamed the "Alan Jackson Highway" in the singer's honor.

After learning of the honor, he stated "[Newnan] was a great place to grow up. I'm not sure I'm quite qualified for the main highway. Maybe they should've picked a dirt road or something."[38]

Jackson was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on October 22, 2001 in Atlanta.[39]
Alan Jackson was selected to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.

Alan Jackson Collection at Cracker Barrel

In 2009, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. started to carry the "Alan Jackson Collection" which included a special release CD available exclusively at Cracker Barrel, cowboy style shirts and T-shirts, baseball caps, home goods (candles, kitchen goods) including an old-fashion wooden rocking chair that has a metal plate of Alan's autograph on the headrest; toys, spices and BBQ sauces/rubs and a replica of his own personal cowboy hat.[40]

Ford Trucks Endorsement

Ford's agency J. Walter Thompson USA in Detroit, in 1992, worked out with Jackson a multimillion-dollar, multi-year contract for his sole endorsement of Ford Trucks.

In his video for "Who's Cheatin' Who" he was behind the wheel of a "Big Foot" Ford F-150 pickup truck, and Ford's five NASCAR vehicles (at the time) were prominently featured.

Additionally, he changed the lyrics "Crazy 'bout a Mercury" of the song "Mercury Blues" to "Crazy 'bout a Ford truck" in a TV ad for the Ford F-series.[41]

Touring

Jackson headlined the 1995 Fruit Of The Loom Comfort Tour, a deal worth $40 million.

It began January 20 in New Orleans and ran for a hundred dates.[42]

Alan Jackson's 2004 concert tour launched January 23 in Fort Myers, Florida and was sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts in a deal that included Jackson's endorsement in TV spots.

The tour included more than 50 U.S. dates. Martina McBride was the opening for some of the shows.[43]

In March 2011 he visited Australia to perform for the CMC Rocks The Hunter music festival where he was the headline act for Saturday night.[44]

He came to Springfield, Illinois on November 10, 2012, and performed at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center.

In 2015, Jackson kicked off his 25th Anniversary Keepin' It Country tour.[3] The tour began with a concert in Estero, FL on January 8 at the Germane Arena.

Jon Pardi & Brandy Clark are special guests for most concerts of the tour.

The tour is currently set to wrap with a solo concert in Highland Park, IL at the Ravinia Pavilion on August 31.[45]

Band members

Jackson records his studio albums, in most part, with the backing of some of the members of his live band, the Strayhorns.
  • Monty Allen – acoustic guitar, harmony vocals
  • Scott Coney – acoustic guitar, tic tac bass, banjo
  • Robbie Flint – steel guitar
  • Danny Groah – lead guitar
  • Ryan Joseph – fiddle, mandolin, harmony vocals
  • Bruce Rutherford – drums
  • Joey Schmidt – keyboards
  • Roger Wills – bass guitar

 

Personal life


Jackson with his family at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April 2010
Jackson married his high school sweetheart, Denise Jackson, on December 15, 1979.

They are the parents of three daughters: Mattie Denise (born June 19, 1990), Alexandra Jane "Ali" (born August 23, 1993), and Dani Grace (born August 28, 1997).

Although the couple separated for several months in 1998 due to the strains of Jackson's career as well as his infidelity,[46] they have since reconciled.

Their story is referenced in several of Jackson's songs, including "She Likes It Too" and "Remember When," based on his memories, and the fond views of an everlasting love between his wife and him. Denise and their daughters appear in the latter song's video.

Denise Jackson wrote a book that topped The New York Times Best Seller list that covered her life with Jackson, their relationship, separation over his infidelity, and recommitment to each other, and her commitment to Christianity.

The book, titled It's All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life, was published in 2007. In May 2008 she released a Gift Book titled "The Road Home."

Jackson's nephew, Adam Wright, is also a country music singer-songwriter. Adam and his wife, Shannon, perform together as a duo called The Wrights.[47]

The Wrights co-wrote two songs and sang harmony vocals on Jackson's What I Do album.
Jackson is a cousin of Major League Baseball player Brandon Moss.[48]

In June 2009 Jackson listed his 135-acre (0.55 km2) estate just outside Franklin, Tennessee for sale, asking $38 million.

The property sold in late May 2010 for $28 million, one of the highest prices ever for a home sale in the Nashville area.[49]

In 2010, after Alan Jackson moved his estate just outside Franklin, the singer then moved into a home in the same Nashville suburb.

The singer and his wife paid $3.675 million for the estate in June 2010, but less than a year later they listed the home for $3.995 million.[50]

Jackson maintained a close friendship with fellow country singer, George Jones.

Jones has been mentioned in songs such as "Don't Rock the Jukebox" (Jones also appeared in the video which accompanied it) and "Murder on Music Row".

The song "Just Playin' Possum" is dedicated to Jones and talks of how Alan only wants to lie low and play possum, possum referring to George Jones.

Jones can also be seen in the video for "Good Time". In 2008 Jones was a surprise guest at Jackson's "CMT Giants" ceremony, where he thanked Jackson for his friendship.

He's also close friends with George Strait, who sang "Murder On Music Row" with him. Besides his associations with big stars, Alan also maintains his connections to his roots and old friends.[51]

From his early days of playing the guitar with his old high school friend and fellow musician David "Bird" Burgess on the Burgess' family front porch, it was evident Alan was going to be Newnan's rising star.[51]

While "Bird" Burgess has left the country music scene to pursue other avenues, the two have remained friends.[51]

At George Jones' funeral service, on May 2, 2013, Jackson performed one of Jones' classics, "He Stopped Loving Her Today", at the close of the service at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN.

Source: Wikipedia.org

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Jim Croce~ "Time In a Bottle"



James Joseph "Jim" Croce (/ˈkri/; January 10, 1943 – September 20, 1973) was an American folk and popular rock singer of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Between 1966 and 1973, Croce released five studio albums and 11 singles.

His singles "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" and "Time in a Bottle" both reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Jim Croce

Jim-Croce-r01.jpg
Jim Croce in 1972, photographed by Ingrid Croce.
Background information
Birth name James Joseph Croce
Born January 10, 1943
South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died September 20, 1973 (aged 30)
Natchitoches, Louisiana, U.S.
Genres Folk, rock, folk rock, soft rock[1]
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals[1]
Years active 1966–1973
Labels Capitol/EMI Records, ABC Records, Saja/Atlantic Records
Website www.jimcroce.com

Early life

Croce was born in South Philadelphia, to James Albert Croce and his wife Flora Mary (Babucci) Croce, both Italian Americans.[2]

Croce took a strong interest in music at a young age. At five, he learned to play his first song on the accordion, "Lady of Spain."[citation needed]

Croce attended Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania.

Graduating in 1960, he studied at Malvern Preparatory School for a year before enrolling at Villanova University, where he majored in psychology and minored in German.[3][4]

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1965.

Croce was a member of the Villanova Singers and the Villanova Spires. When the Spires performed off-campus or made recordings, they were known as The Coventry Lads.[5]

Croce was also a student disc jockey at WKVU (which has since become WXVU).[6][7][8]

Career

Early career

Croce did not take music seriously until he studied at Villanova, where he formed bands and performed at fraternity parties, coffee houses, and universities around Philadelphia, playing "anything that the people wanted to hear: blues, rock, a cappella, railroad music ... anything."

Croce's band was chosen for a foreign exchange tour of Africa, the Middle East, and Yugoslavia.

He later said, "We just ate what the people ate, lived in the woods, and played our songs.

Of course they didn't speak English over there but if you mean what you're singing, people understand."

On November 29, 1963 Croce met his future wife Ingrid Jacobson at the Philadelphia Convention Hall during a hootenanny, where he was judging a contest.

Croce released his first album, Facets, in 1966, with 500 copies pressed. The album had been financed with a $500 wedding gift from Croce's parents, who set a condition that the money must be spent to make an album.

They hoped that he would give up music after the album failed, and use his college education to pursue a "respectable" profession.[9]

However, the album proved a success, with every copy sold.

1960s

From the mid-1960s to early 1970s, Croce performed with his wife as a duo.

At first, their performances included songs by artists such as Ian and Sylvia, Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, and Woody Guthrie, but in time they began writing their own music.

During this time, Croce got his first long-term gig at a suburban bar and steak house in Lima, Pennsylvania, called The Riddle Paddock. His set list covered several genres, including blues, country, rock and roll, and folk.

Croce married his wife Ingrid in 1966, and converted to Judaism, as his wife was Jewish.

He and Ingrid were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony.[10]

He enlisted in the Army National Guard that same year to avoid being drafted and deployed to Vietnam, and served on active duty for four months, leaving for duty a week after his honeymoon.[11]

Croce, who was not good with authority, had to go through basic training twice.[12]

He said he would be prepared if "there's ever a war where we have to defend ourselves with mops".

In 1968, the Croces were encouraged by record producer Tommy West to move to New York City.

The couple spent time in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx and recorded their first album with Capitol Records.

During the next two years, they drove more than 300,000 miles,[13] playing small clubs and concerts on the college concert circuit promoting their album Jim & Ingrid Croce.

Becoming disillusioned by the music business and New York City, they sold all but one guitar to pay the rent and returned to the Pennsylvania countryside, settling in an old farm in Lyndell, where Croce got a job driving trucks and doing construction work to pay the bills while continuing to write songs, often about the characters he would meet at the local bars and truck stops and his experiences at work; these provided the material for such songs as "Big Wheels" and "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues".

1970s

They returned to Philadelphia and Croce decided to be "serious" about becoming a productive member of society. "I'd worked construction crews, and I'd been a welder while I was in college. But I'd rather do other things than get burned."

His determination to be "serious" led to a job at a Philadelphia R&B AM radio station, WHAT, where he translated commercials into "soul". "I'd sell airtime to Bronco's Poolroom and then write the spot: "You wanna be cool, and you wanna shoot pool ... dig it."

In 1970, Croce met classically trained pianist-guitarist and singer-songwriter Maury Muehleisen from Trenton, New Jersey, through producer Joe Salviuolo. Salviuolo and Croce had been friends when they studied at Villanova University, and Salviuolo had met Muehleisen when he was teaching at Glassboro State College in New Jersey.

Salviuolo brought Croce and Muehleisen together at the production office of Tommy West and Terry Cashman in New York City.

Croce at first backed Muehleisen on guitar, but gradually their roles reversed, with Muehleisen adding lead guitar to Croce's music.

In 1972, Croce signed a three-record contract with ABC Records, releasing two albums, You Don't Mess Around with Jim and Life and Times.

The singles "You Don't Mess Around with Jim", "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)", and "Time in a Bottle" (written for his then-unborn son, A. J. Croce[citation needed]) all received airplay.

Croce's biggest single, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", reached Number 1 on the American charts in July 1973.

Also that year, the Croces moved to San Diego, California.

Croce began touring the United States with Muehleisen, performing in large coffee houses, on college campuses, and at folk festivals.

However, Croce's financial situation was still bad. The record company had fronted him the money to record his album, and much of what it earned went to pay back the advance.

In February 1973, Croce and Muehleisen traveled to Europe, promoting the album in London, Paris, and Amsterdam, receiving positive reviews. Croce now began appearing on television, including his national debut on American Bandstand[14] on August 12, 1972, The Tonight Show[15] on August 14, 1972, The Dick Cavett Show on September 20/21 1972, The Helen Reddy Show airing July 19, 1973 and the newly launched The Midnight Special, which he co-hosted airing June 15.

From July 16 through August 4, 1973, Croce and Muehleisen returned to London and performed on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

Croce finished recording the album I Got a Name just one week before his death. While on his tours, Croce grew increasingly homesick, and decided to take a break from music and settle with his wife and infant son when his Life and Times tour ended.[16][17]

In a letter to his wife which arrived after his death, Croce told her he had decided to quit music and stick to writing short stories and movie scripts as a career, and withdraw from public life.[3][18]

Death

On Thursday, September 20, 1973, during Croce's Life and Times tour and the day before his ABC single "I Got a Name" was released, Croce, Muehleisen, and five others died when their chartered Beechcraft E18S crashed into a tree, while taking off from the Natchitoches Regional Airport in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Others killed in the crash were pilot Robert N. Elliott, comedian George Stevens, manager and booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose, and road manager Dennis Rast.[19][20]

Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches and was flying to Sherman, Texas, for a concert at Austin College.

The plane crashed an hour after the concert. Jim Croce was 30 years old.

An investigation showed the plane crashed after clipping a pecan tree at the end of the runway.
The pilot had failed to gain sufficient altitude to clear the tree and had not tried to avoid it, even though it was the only tree in the area.

It was dark, but there was a clear sky, calm winds, and over five miles of visibility with haze. The report from the NTSB[21] named the probable cause as the pilot's failure to see the obstruction because of his physical impairment and the fog reducing his vision.

57-year-old Elliott suffered from severe coronary artery disease and had run three miles to the airport from a motel.

He had an ATP Certificate, 14,290 hours total flight time and 2,190 hours in the Beech 18 type.[21]

A later investigation placed the sole blame on pilot error due to his downwind takeoff into a "black hole"—severe darkness limiting use of visual references.[22]

Jim Croce was buried at Haym Salomon Memorial Park in Frazer, Pennsylvania.[23]


Legacy

The album I Got a Name was released on December 1, 1973.[24]

The posthumous release included three hits: "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues", "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song", and the title song, which had been used as the theme to the film The Last American Hero which was released two months prior to his death.

The album reached No. 2 and "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" reached No. 9 on the singles chart.

The song "Time in a Bottle" had been featured over the opening and closing credits and during a scene in which Desi Arnaz Jr. is opening the You Don't Mess Around With Jim album in the ABC made-for-television movie She Lives!, which aired on September 12, 1973.[25]

That appearance had generated significant interest in Croce and his music in the week just prior to the plane crash. That, combined with the news of the death of the singer, sparked a renewed interest in Croce's previous albums.

Consequently, three months later, "Time in a Bottle", originally released on Croce's first album the year before, hit number one on December 29, 1973, the third posthumous chart-topping song of the rock era following Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" and Janis Joplin's recording of "Me and Bobby McGee".

A greatest hits package entitled Photographs & Memories was released in 1974.

Later posthumous releases have included Home Recordings: Americana, The Faces I've Been, Jim Croce: Classic Hits, Down the Highway, and DVD and CD releases of Croce's television performances, Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live.

In 1990, Croce was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[26]

Croces' son Adrian James (born September 28, 1971) is himself a singer-songwriter, musician, and pianist. He owns and operates his own record label, Seedling Records.[27]

On July 3, 2012, Ingrid Croce published a memoir about her husband entitled I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story.[28]

In 1985, Ingrid Croce opened Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar, a project she and Jim had jokingly discussed a decade earlier, in the historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego, which she owned and managed until it closed on December 31, 2013.

In December 2013, she opened Croce's Park West on 5th Avenue in the Bankers Hill neighborhood near Balboa Park. She closed this restaurant in January 2016.[29]


Source: Wikipedia.org


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