Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain
Jim Axelrod of CBS Sunday Morning had a Father’s Day conversation with A.J. Croce this past weekend. There were some interesting facts to come out of it. AJ lost his father before he turned 2, his sight when he was 4 and, later, his home to a fire and his wife to a rare heart condition. “When we lose someone we love, we can decide how we want to bring it into our life. Do we want to dwell on it or find the best part of that person or experience and keep it with us”? A question he’s wrestled with for decades, now at 50, he shares the answer across the country. If the last name sounds familiar, it should: he’s the son of the late Jim Croce. Two months before he died in a plane crash in Indiana, Jim’s hit “Bad Bad Leroy Brown hit #1. The security his father’s success promised all went away when he lost his father to a plane crash in 1973.
His father gone, his mother Ingrid got involved with a man who brutally beat AJ, leaving him blind. “During that time, I sat at the piano. I played along with the radio: Stones, McCartney, Elton John”. There was only one’s music he’d never touch: his father Jim. During the next 35 years, he’d regained partial sight and played piano with Ray Charles and Willie Nelson
AJ finally got to the point where he plays his father’s music. Now, nearly 50 years later, he’s exploring connections to a father he hardly got to know. AJ says “Time In A Bottle” has more meaning to him than most. The song was written for AJ. “I feel joy, the sense of thoughtfulness”. On whether playing his music helps processing his father’s loss: “if it’s not the cure, it’s a really good remedy”.
After watching this story, I had to go on Spotify and add some of his music. Spotify’s “This is Jim Croce” playlist and his album Photographs & Memories.