Song of the Day, May 27: Operator by Jim Croce

CroceOperatorToday’s song is Jim Croce’s hit Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels). Born in Philadelphia in 1943, the singer-songwriter began playing music as a sideline while studying psychology at Villanova University. In the 60s, he released an album that was successful enough to encourage a music career. He and his wife formed a duo, recorded an album, moved to New York, and toured extensively. Finding success elusive, they moved back to Pennsylvania. Croce connected with guitarist Maury Muehleisen who encouraged him to keep trying, eventually leading to a three-record deal with ABC records.

Operator was his second single after the Top 10 smash You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. It’s my favorite of his tracks, a beautiful, sad song of lost love. Croce was known for his colorful story songs (including the #1 hit Bad, Bad Leroy Brown) and his thoughtful songs about relationships. He blended the two seamlessly in this track, with the narrator talking to a phone operator about his derailed relationship. The title character never speaks but serves as a critical foil for the singer as he comes to grips with his solitude. It’s heartbreaking yet subtly hopeful.

Sadly, Croce and Muehleisen were killed in a plane crash in September of 1973. His sweet Time In A Bottle became a posthumous #1, and his music remains popular enough 40 years on that compilation packages abound.

Enjoy this lovely song of lost love today.

About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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