By Ken Foote

(CBS11) – This week’s Summer Song comes from 1973 by an artist from South Philadelphia.

Jim Croce (born January 10, 1943), he graduated from Villanova University in 1965. He was a member of the Villanova Singers and Villanova Spires (he also was a disc jockey at WKVU, now WXVU). For a number of years, he and his wife Ingrid performed as a duo, which included songs by Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, and Arlo Guthrie. They moved and worked in New York City for a while but became disillusioned with the city and moved back to the Pennsylvania countryside. His musical style was mainly folk rock/soft rock.

In 1972, after recording for Capitol Records for a few years, he signed with ABC Records and released two albums. All told, Croce had eight songs on the Billboard Hot 100 including two #1 hits and four songs that charted after his premature death on September 20, 1973 in a plane crash in Natchitoches LA. He was only 30 years old.

His most successful song was the hit of the summer of 1973: a hard charging song that you loved to sing along with called “Bad Bad Leroy Brown,” a song inspired by a friend he met in the Army. It was released on March 20, 1973. Written by Croce and produced by him and Tommy West, it reached #1 by the summer of 1973 and stayed there for two weeks. It was also a #1 hit on the Canadian charts as well. At the time of his death, it was still on the Billboard charts!

Running 3:02, the lyrics go like this:

Well the South side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
You better just beware
Of a man named Leroy Brown

Now Leroy more than trouble
You see he stand ’bout six foot four
All the downtown ladies call him “Treetop Lover”
All the men just call him “Sir”

And it’s bad, bad Leroy Brown
The baddest man in the whole damned town
Badder than old King Kong
And meaner than a junkyard dog”

So from 1973…..Jim Croce with, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown.”