Archive » July 19, 2012
By Terri Schlichenmeyer, Contributing Writer
If only you had a dime for every time you were told to “Turn that thing down!”
Your boss said it because you were dancing at work when you should’ve been working. The neighbors hollered it out the window when they were trying to sleep and you were trying out your new stereo. And, of course, your parents said it every time you turned your radio on, even the littlest bit.
Then, as now, you needed your tunes. And in the new book I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock, you’ll read about one man’s romance with a woman and with music. Ingrid Jacobson was just 16, still in high school, when she met Jim Croce. He was a college student at Villanova, hoping to someday make a living with his songs.
She was a singer in a contest. He tuned her guitar and flirted.
They took things slow, because of her age and because his Catholic parents were against his dating a Jewish girl. Still, he visited her house every night to help with her homework, to sing with her, and to talk with her father like he could never talk to his own dad.
Then he left for a European tour.
Croce didn’t call “Ing” when he came back, and she grieved. Afraid they were over, she tried to move on but realized that she loved him. He’d bowed under his father’s pressure to conform, but he knew that he loved her, too. Although she was college-bound by this time, they got engaged.
His career began to creep upward.
Croce and Jacobson were married in 1966. She worked as an artist; he worked on his music, and they collaborated on both. They had a son, and they had problems: She was raped while on a trip to Mexico, and he blamed her for it. He had other women. They split, then reconciled, but by the end of September 1973, life was better.
Croce’s songs were on top of the charts. His performances were in demand, but he was tired and needed a break on the fall night when he boarded a plane to yet another concert.
I struggled to figure out why I didn’t like this book more than I wanted to. I came to the conclusion that I wanted it more factual; more real, rather consisting of “to-the-best-of-my-recollection” conversations and imagined dialogue. I certainly wouldn’t say, though, that this flaw makes I Got a Name a bad book.
Authors Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock give this story a deeply personal spin, with insight to the singer, his songs and the times in which he lived. Fans – particularly those who crushed on Croce – will still enjoy this book and the memories that come with it.
Don’t be surprised if you need to hear the old songs again while you’re reading, because I Got a Name is that kind of book. If you get a chance to read it, in fact and despite minor flaws, don’t turn it down.
I Got a Name: The Jim Croce Story
by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock, foreword by Arlo Guthrie
c. 2012, Da Capo Press, $25 / $28 Canada, 307 pages