At the age of 30, the talented singer-songwriter Jim Croce died in a plane crash. His final album, 1973’s I Got a Name, had continued success in the wake of his passing, with the single “Time in a Bottle” reaching number one. But few know that tragedy continued to plague the Croce family—namely his son A.J., who was almost two years old when he lost his father.
Jim Croce wrote “Time in a Bottle” after finding out his wife was pregnant with A.J. The lyrics are especially harrowing considering Croce’s devastating fate: “But there never seems to be enough time / To do the things you want to do once you find them…” Feelings like these are relatable to most people, but for A.J., his relationship with the song was undoubtedly complicated.
Two years after he lost his father, A.J. experienced another traumatic incident. His mother’s new boyfriend physically abused him, and on one occasion, blinded him. Luckily, his sight in one eye eventually returned, but there was more heartache in store for the young boy. In his teen years, his childhood home burned to the ground, making loss a recurring theme in A.J.’s life.
A Tragic Life
A.J. followed in his father’s footsteps and became a singer-songwriter himself, but it was a long time before he even attempted to learn “Time in a Bottle,” describing it as “ominous” and saying that he was “very afraid of it.” The song’s melancholy lyrics would have yet another chance to resonate with A.J.—this time, in a different way.
In 2018, A.J. experienced another nightmare. His beloved wife Marlo Gordon Croce passed suddenly from a rare heart virus, leaving him as a single father to their two children. Croce later said, “We loved each other more than you can love anyone”. Despite the many hardships in his life, A.J. continues to channel his creative energy into music. Like his father, he writes from the heart, confessing that he’s written hundreds of songs about his late wife.
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