Croce Plays Croce Tour Honors 50th Anniversary of Jim Croce’s Death

AJ Croce Plays Jim Croce
Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Paul Bergen/Redferns/Getty Images

A.J. Croce is honoring his late father in a very special way. He is currently on tour playing his father, Jim Croce’s beloved music along with some of his own. A.J. was just a toddler when his father passed away in a plane crash in 1973. His career was just starting to take off and his hit songs “Operator,” “Time in a Bottle,” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” have proved to be timeless.

The tour, Croce Plays Croce: 50th Anniversary, is a way for A.J. to connect with and honor the father that he barely knew. While they didn’t get to spend much time together, Jim did pass on his talent and love of music to his son. He shared, “I’m celebrating the legacy of my father, but it’s really the legacy of two generations of musicians. We share a love of storytelling and music. I’m not a cover band per se, though there are times when I sound a lot like my father — even though I’m 20-some years older than him at this point.”

Musician AJ Croce (R) performs at The Knitting Factory on October 5, 2004 in Hollywood, California

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The tour is big news for fans as A.J. has been uneasy about performing his father’s songs in public over the years. He revealed, “I’ve had the opportunity to do this my entire life. I turned it down for 25 years because I just didn’t feel there was integrity capitalizing on his music without making a mark of my own.” However, now he feels like it is the perfect time to blend his father’s music with his own, plus some covers of music that inspired them both.


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It was a party honoring what would have been his father’s 70th birthday that changed his mind. A.J. was nervous that the crowd was going to compare him to his father and critique every song but instead, it brought the crowd a lot of joy and helped him connect with them. He then decided to add some covers to the mix during the tour after discovering a homemade tape that Jim made of covers. He said, “There were deep cuts of Bessie Smith, Pink Anderson, Mississippi John Hurt, and Skip James. Old Blues, old country. Every song that he played was a song I had been playing since I was a teen, but I’d never heard him play them!”

Photo of Jim Croce

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He continued, “It made the hair on my neck stand up. This wasn’t stuff that was in his collection. Most of it I found on my own. That was a huge moment for me. I realized we had a connection that was deeper than just DNA. You recognize something in your parents that you carry, though is not scientifically explainable.” If you’re interested in attending a show, check out more information about his tour here.

1974 (50 Years Ago)
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1974 (50 Years Ago)

January 2024

In this time capsule issue of ReMIND Magazine we look back 50 years ago to 1974!

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