Jim Croce – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

First Hit #1: July 21, 1973

This isn’t too far away from some old story songs, your Mack the Knifes or Big Bad Johns. You’ve got a description of a character, and a story about him that ends in an unexpected manner. However, given that we’re in 1973, there are bound to be some slight stylistic differences, and indeed this isn’t a complete throwback to the earlier sound.

Jim Croce does one thing, he sets it in the middle of a party with the sounds of people milling around, that puts the song in a different place from its forebears. It’s not that the song is all that different from the earlier songs, it just gives it a completely different atmosphere. Now it’s Jim Croce singing a story about Leroy finally pissing off the wrong guy to friends at a loud and increasingly rowdy party. Combine the inventive production with the throwback aspects and you get a song that doesn’t sound much like anything else.

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