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Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, a “lapsed” Italian Catholic who became a Jew by conversion in the course of marrying his Jewish wife Ingrid in 1966, was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1943. His parents’ wedding gift of $500 was spent, at their insistence, to press his first record album, and two years later he and Ingrid released a record of duets with Capitol and began two years of intensive touring of college campuses and small venues. Exhausted and nearly ready to cash it in as a musician, Croce signed a three-record deal with ABC Records in 1972 and released two albums, You Don’t Mess Around with Jim and Life and Times. Singles from the albums, including “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” and “Time in a Bottle,” received play on the radio, and in the summer of 1973, Croce achieved a No. 1 hit with his “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Two months later, at age 30, he died in a plane crash in Louisiana, one hour after a college concert. Two months after that, “Time in a Bottle” became a No. 1 song. To see him singing “Operator,” look below. “But there never seems to be enough time To do the things you want to do Once you find them I’ve looked around enough to know That you’re the one I want to go Through time with.”—Jim Croce, “Time in a Bottle”