VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Back in the 1970s, when hair was long and dresses were short, Jim Croce shook up the music scene with his rock, pop, R&B, blues and soul-infused sounds. His entire career lasted only 18 months.
On September 20, 1973, Croce had just finished a concert in Natchitoches, Louisiana when a private plane carrying Croce and five others crashed on take off. His son A.J. was only two years old when Croche died at the age of 30.
This fall, the nation celebrates 50 years and $50 million in records in the show Croce Plays Croce 50th Anniversary, starring Croce’s son A.J. Croce.
“In that 18 months he had written, recorded, and toured three albums,” said A.J., who is now the father of two adults.
Regina Mobley: Do you have memories of your dad?
A.J. Croce: You know, memories at that age are so confused with the photographs of us together in the videos —the home videos of us together. It’s hard to say; it’s hard to say but he never left his music is still here,” said Croce from his home in Nashville, Tennessee.
For years, A.J. said he rebelled against playing two of his father’s iconic songs — “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” and “Time in a Bottle.”
Now we know why.
“It’s taking me a long time to perform it,” Croce said. “It was a very personal song between my father that he wrote for my mother. Like, ‘Time in a Bottle,’ a song that was written for me, it’s really a challenge to emotionally to dive into it.”
Regina Mobley: How do you explain the shelf life of your father’s lyrics?
A.J. Croce: The remarkable stories that were told, “operator will you help me make this call, the number on the matchbook is faded.” How do you interpret this song? That’s the beauty of his songs — that says it’s conversational.
Regina Mobley: What can the audience expect when you perform at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach on Nov. 2?
A.J. Croce: Well, this show is so much fun. Not only is the band amazing — it’s a stage full of Grammy-winning musicians — but the show that’s going on behind us of all of the video and multimedia that’s telling a story through these video collages is really an emotional show and beautiful. It’s really high energy — more so than people are expecting.
Regina Mobley: I saw a clip of one of your shows and I don’t think anyone had more fun than you.
A.J. Croce: (Laughs out loud) So true it’s true. If I’m not having fun, then how can you have fun? Being able to share my father’s legacy is a real honor and it’s a treat.
Croce Plays Croce 50th anniversary tour stops at the Sandler Center in Virginia Beach at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2. Be sure to brush up on your Croce tunes; the audience will be front-and- center during the call-out portion of the show. Members of the audience can call out a Croce or other hit song and the band will follow along.