Andre Gardner

Sometimes it’s nice to visit the memorials of our beloved music stars. It’s not always easy, many times distance is an issue. Do you want to find the place where Duane Allman and Berry Oakley are laid in eternal rest? That’ll be a day trip, or two, to Macon, Georgia. To honor Jim Morrison, you’ll need to book that trip to Paris. For fans of another legend, South Philadelphia’s own Jim Croce, it’s a simple trip to Haym Salomon Memorial Park. Every day, Jim Croce fans pay their respects at his Malvern gravesite, and I’ve done the same.

Jim Croce’s Place Of Rest

Haym Salomon Memorial Park is lovely and Croce’s grave is pretty easy to find. When you arrive, you’ll notice some trinkets left behind. There are dimes and assorted change, a key lyric in one of his most beloved songs, “Operator.” An occasional cigar, or cigar butt is occasionally left over, a nod to Croce holding one on his I’ve Got A Name album cover. Colored stones, corkscrews and sage dot the edges of the grave marker. I’ve visited several times and it’s a really nice place to sit and reflect.

Andre Gardner takes a selfie by Jim Croce's grave

That Fateful Day

I’ll never forget waking up that morning to the news that Jim Croce had died. The whole Medford Memorial Jr. High School class were buzzing about it as we were dropped off from our buses. Stunned, I remember one of our teachers turning on the radio and “Time In A Bottle” came on. The dreadful irony of that song was not lost on me at age 12.

Posthumous Chart Dominance

Croce was just about to explode. With two hit albums under his belt, he was less than two weeks away from releasing his third when that tragic plane crash took his life at age 30. I’m convinced I’ve Got A Name would have hit #1 on the chart if he’d lived. With his passing, the album reached the top spot quickly, followed by its predecessor, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. It was a sad time hearing all of his music on the radio. Sad because of the incredible talent of a man who had so much more to give.

On this week’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown on MGK, Jim Croce occupied the #1 and #2 position, along with these other fine albums.

  • 10. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd

    It’s not hard to think of this classic album still being on the charts 11 months after it was released. What we didn’t know at the time was it would occupy the chart for the next 15 years! And it only fell off because they changed the rules! The Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd is #10 on the countdown.

  • 9. Quadrophenia - The Who

    After a few false starts and singles released in 1972, Pete Townshend followed up Who’s Next with another concept album. This time the rise of The Mods and Rockers of teenage London was the subject of Quadrophenia. After peaking at #2, it was the #9 rock album on February 8, 1974.

  • 8. Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake And Palmer

    The phrase “brain salad surgery” comes from a line in the Dr. John song, “Right Place Wrong Time.” It has a bit of an x-rated meaning, but no one seemed to notice when Emerson, Lake and Palmer made it the title of their fourth album. On MGK’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown this week, it peaks at #8.

  • 7. Ringo - Ringo Starr

    With a little help from his friends John, Paul and George, and top notch producer Richard Perry, Ringo Starr hit it big with his third album called, simply, Ringo. Although it was denied the top spot by another album on this week’s countdown, it peaked at #2 before dropping to #7 on February 8, 1974.

  • 6. Laid Back - Gregg Allman

    The Allman Brothers’ classic Brothers And Sisters album was still selling when Gregg Allman released his first solo album. Laid Back was a fine work, and it’s #6 on our countdown this week. Gregg even re-recorded an Allman Brothers classic to include on Laid Back.

  • 5. Band On The Run - Paul McCartney And Wings

    A re-release of this classic Beatles solo album just hit the stores and music sites, and it includes some rare mixes of these amazing songs. Paul McCartney’s landmark album Band On The Run still sounds as fresh today as the day it came out. On February 8, 1974, it was #5.

  • 4. The Joker - Steve Miller Band

    After years of modest success, Steve Miller exploded with his eighth album, The Joker, and would keep him on the charts for well over a decade. On this week’s Thursday Top 10 Countdown, and after peaking at #2, the album slips to #4.

  • 3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

    Elton John’s seventh album showed no signs of slowing down. After four months out, and notching his 3rd of 6 #1 albums in a row, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road hangs in at #3 on February 8, 1974.

  • 2. You Don't Mess Around With Jim - Jim Croce

    It’s the first of two albums by this local hero. Jim Croce’s third album, and his breakthrough, was You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, and it’s the #2 rock album on our countdown this week.

  • 1. I've Got A Name - Jim Croce

    It’s a first for our Thursday Top 10 Countdown. The same artist has the #1 and #2 rock album this week, and it was a tragic reason. Just ten days before this album came out, he was killed in a place crash at age 30, and never lived to see the incredible success of a true timeless classic. The #1 rock album on February 8, 1974 was I Got A Name by Jim Croce.

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