On September 20, 1973, shortly after leaving the stage following a performance at Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, Louisiana, acclaimed singer-songwriter Jim Croce was among five people who died in a plane crash. The artist behind such well-known radio favorites as “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” and “Time In A Bottle” was just 30 years old.
Croce’s career was just beginning to take off following his widely successful 1972 album You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and 1973 follow-up Life And Times. Appearing on both of those records was multi-instrumentalist Maury Muehleisen who was also on stage on the campus of Northwestern State University 48 years ago and was among the passengers on the ill-fated flight after the concert.
A recording of what became Croce’s last live performance made that night is presented below in remembrance of the late great musician. The set includes renditions of “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” “Thursday,” “Speedball Trucker” and the last song he’d ever play “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Croce also offered a take on “I Got A Name” a popular single that was released the following day on September 21, 1973 and featured later that year as the title track on the posthumously released final Croce album. Listen to the final concert from 48 years ago today:
Setlist & Timings
- 00:00 Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)
- 05:34 Workin At The Car Wash Blues
- 08:33 Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)
- 18:26 Roller Derby Queen
- 21:41 Lover`s Cross
- 24:57 Thursday
- 32:10 Speedball Trucker
- 35:26 I Got A Name
- 39:20 Top Hat Bar And Grille
- 41:54 Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
[Originally Published: September 20, 2016]