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Life, in which i stay up way too late obsessing about Jim Croce lyrics

November 5, 2010 \am\30 2:31 am

When I was maybe six (wait, not “maybe,” let me just check when the song came out . . . . 1973, yeah, I thought six was too young, I was nine! “Philadelphia Freedom” was also monumentally formative right around then.), “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” was HUGE for me. Just recently I reconsidered the lyrics and now wonder if it has contributed to my confused masculinity. I mean, I knew all the words back then, but did I really know them? Did I? The baddest man in the whole damn town “liked to wave his diamond rings in front of everybody’s nose,” which sounds more like the flaming-est man in town to me. And when the bad bad man finally gets into a fight, he ends up looking like “a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.” Doesn’t sound like such a bad man. Just a flamboyant clown who probably always got his ass kicked. So did I want to be a Leroy Brown? Or a bad man? Or poor, sad-eyed Jim Croce? And this is why I never get to bed before 2am. Lyrics aren’t meant for close inspection. And yet inspect I do. And disillusioned I become. Badder than old King Kong, meaner than the junkyard dog. As if. And how about the Midnight Special? Do you remember it? Or have you seen the late night half hour commercials for the DVD set now available? Let me tell ya, if you were a music geeky kid in the 70’s you LIVED for the nights you could stay up fo rthe midnight special. And now it’s 2:33 so I’ll leave it at that and get to bed. Really, I mean it now. Dammit, brain, let me alone!

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8 Comments
  1. November 5, 2010 \am\30 10:15 am 10:15 am

    i loved this.
    i love jim croce, although i never analyzed the lyrics to this particular song. Although I have played out my own version of the MTV music video in my head.

    The song where I did this to was melanie’s song, “Brand new Key’. When i was young it was just an innocent song about rollerskating, but when i grew up and really listened to the lyrics, it’s all about a crazy whore stalker chick who wants to lose her cherry to the poor dude with the key.

    anyway.

  2. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    November 5, 2010 \am\30 10:23 am 10:23 am

    I was a huge Jim Croce fan, but I was in high school. Was heartbroken when he died. I never particularly cared for BBLB lyrics-wise. I liked his non-hit songs.

    And I remember Midnight Special. Here ya go! From the year I graduated high school. Just look at that line-up of hits! No wonder I started listening to KFAT.

  3. November 5, 2010 \am\30 11:38 am 11:38 am

    “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” was my favorite. Pretty much the same story. Pseudo-tough-guy gets beat up. Then there’s good ole “Time in a Bottle.” Sad songs say so much. And yeah, “Brand New Key,” that shit is DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY, and, heh, I loved it and didn’t get it at all when I was a kid, although I still dream of Farrah F-M singing it to me.

  4. November 5, 2010 \am\30 11:38 am 11:38 am

    “although” is not what i meant.

  5. November 5, 2010 \pm\30 12:19 pm 12:19 pm

    I kind of prefer Frank’s version.

  6. Kirk Leach permalink
    November 5, 2010 \pm\30 4:29 pm 4:29 pm

    Jamie, Philadelphia Freedom was in 1976, I’m almost certain. Bicentennial and all that. 1973 was “Rock the Boat” – Hues Corporation. WTRY!!

  7. November 7, 2010 \am\30 2:04 am 2:04 am

    1. Yeah, I know, Kirk. I wasn’t being clear. “FF” just has similar importance to me. I know it was later.

    2. Gawd, that Sinatra cover is dreadful. (I do like Sinatra, but all that hepcat slang, omfg, and it’s almost as if he never learned the melody.

    • November 7, 2010 \am\30 10:10 am 10:10 am

      To be fair to Ole Blue Eyes, the studio version is better. But the one I came across was recorded in South Jersey.

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