Touring can be tough.
By Ingrid Croce with Jimmy Rock
Da Capo Press, $25.00, 320 pages
Jim Croce’s songs were unusual, in the sense that many of them were not about himself, but about various people that he met while serving in the National Guard, or doing various manual labor jobs. Ingrid was his wife, and together they recorded one ill-fated album for Capitol Records. Several years later, Jim pursued a solo career.
What makes this book stand out from the endless number of pop music biographies and autobiographies is that it looks at its protagonist from the viewpoint of his wife. The couple was barely surviving on a $200 a week salary, while Jim was earning $7500-$10,000 a night on the college concert circuit. Ingrid describes how Jim was signed to a production, management, and music publishing deal, and was incapable of confronting his “discoverer,” who he believed to be one of his closest friends. She describes how Jim never sought an attorney to review these contracts, signing them with some “guidance” from the three partners who owned these rights.
Ingrid details how perpetual touring was destroying Jim’s physical and mental health, and he became addicted to various pills and involved with the touring musician’s readily available groupies. As the couple is ready to reconcile and raise their son, Jim dies in a plane crash. This passionate and revealing book is recommended to anyone who wishes to pursue a life in the music industry, or anyone involved with a person doing so.
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Ingrid Croce’s fantasy that she and Jim were living on $200. a week when he had hit records and was performing all over the country may very well be believed by her, since she has been telling that same falsehood for so long. Jim and Ingrid were receiving $150. per week, if I recall, when they were living in New York and recording their album for Capitol Records in 1968. It was enough to pay for their rent in a one bedroom apartment in New York and food and a little more — not a munificent weekly sum, but in 1968 adequate for a husband and wife, without kids, in order to be working on starting a career in music. That amount was advanced to them by our production/publishing companies, before they were earning any money. Then they toured for months and kept their fees from the tour, but the album sold almost nothing. Almost 3 years later Jim began recording again, but now as a solo artist, for the same production/publishing companies, and he was an instant hit. He was managed by the best management company in America, had a first-rate agency and agent, a first-rate financial manager, and when he began touring in support of the first album they bought a house in San Diego, in a prime neighborhood. Their bills and mortgage were paid for by the financial management company from Jim’s earnings; the financial manager determined from Jim and Ingrid how much they needed each week from his earnings, and in accordance with the budget they set for themselves, that’s what they received from his earnings, and the rest was invested.
Jim earned and received substantial sums from his records and songs, and, of course, she received millions more after his death in 1973 (he recorded his third and last album weeks before he died). Ingrid Croce brought an action against the production company, publishing company, and their owners and Jim’s producers personally, trying to rescind the contracts, claiming fraud, so that she could own and control the masters and songs. She lost that action and the contracts were upheld as valid and reasonable and absent of fraud. Her legal bills for that action exceeded $1,000,000, which she contested and settled for a lesser, substantial amount. And, by the way, Ingrid contested Jim’s estate passing to both Ingrid and their son, A.J., so that she would be the sole heir under California law, and she succeeded in cutting A.J. out as an heir of Jim’s estate (Jim died before he signed a will).
The book seems to be concocted to be the basis of a movie script, and it could be, if illusion prevails. If it’s based on this book, it will be a fairy tale.
Mr. Kurnit, if you don’t like the book I suggest you write your own. After reading Ingrid’s book I am not sure I believe either your version or her version of the events, that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
There is more to her book than Jim’s dealing with the record producers. Her story of Jim growing up, Jim’s and her relationship, his conversion to Judaism– there’s lots here that is definitely worth the price of the book for anyone who is a fan of Jim’s music.
Holy cow, Mr. Kurnit! All these years later you are still arguing over the money and spreading a whisper campaign against Ingrid Croce? Were you the one who planted that 1983 non-by-lined hatchet job carried by LA TImes-Washington Post syndicate? Did you forget to mention here that you were one of the principals of the management, production, publishing and record companies that Jim Croce’s widow sued? Did you forget to mention the 1984 appeal court ruling upholding the district court’s directed verdict against you and Cashman and West? Is it possible all this stuff you say the Croces were able to buy was financed against future royalties, for which they essentially owed you the money? If Ingrid Croce is so full of it about never seeing most of the money being earned by Croce’s records, why is it that other Lifesong artists such as Crack the Sky and Dean Friedman say exactly the same thing? Did you forget that after two successful albums for Lifesong, when Friedman left you sued him for $1.5 million in debts? Do you know that Rick Witkowski says that for all his years with Crack the Sky on Lifesong, he received exactly one royalty check, for less than $5? Are they all liars? Don’t you think maybe you, Cashman and West should have spent a little less time concentrating on cross-collateralization and advances against the artists’ share, and a little more time making sure Lifesong knew how to actually get records in the stores when people wanted to buy them? How could Friedman’s “Ariel” have stayed on the charts for 22 straight weeks yet never got any higher than 26th? Well, the charts are based on sales, and if people can’t find the record in stores to buy, it doesn’t matter how many times it’s played on the radio, does it? Cashman and West’s ineptitude probably cost them more money than they made. They, and you, Mr. Kurnit, have cost these musicians much more than just money.
Your liberal and vague use of the word “substantial” makes me leery of your recounting of events. You seem to only recall the dollar amounts that strengthen your case.
My real question is why you think you and your cohorts deserves such a large chunk of the royalties. Don’t act like your management skills were any better than the guys in the next building. You are starting to look like Stan Polley. Despite what you or anyone else thinks of Ingrid, Jim loved her and I’m guessing he probably did not love you. If anybody deserves majority of the royalties, it is her and their son and his descendants.
I have long wondered about discrepancies between what Mrs. Rock has said and the facts, such as their purchase of a home and Jim buying her gifts when they were supposedly broke. It’s good to hear the truth about that, as well as about the endless lawsuit she pursued. I hope to hear more truth about Jim’s life from other sources in the future.
More stories seem to dispute the words of Ingrid rock.not many people are left to argue the facts but there are still many that do.will the real life and death of Jim Croce ever be truthfully told? Thanks to all who want the truth to be told and those who know Jim was a greaT guy!
Video Post about the book.
Wow! This is supposed to be a book about one of the finest folk musicians ever. JIm Croce’s music has been the source of much joy in my life, and I was born 2 years after his death.
To read the immature, selfish, BS bickering between Jims’s widow and a former member of his management team 40 full years after he died is beyond childish! Grow up you two, stop trying to live off Jim’s Legacy and start showing some respect for it!
Your both discraceful! I can see now why Jim was always on the road the last year of his life… Is want to get away from you both also!
Mr. Kurnit wasn’t living with the Croces.
According to your theory, that leaves only one person Jimmy would be trying to get a way from.
I believe Mr. Kurnit completely. He attended Jim’s 40th anniversary tribute in Upper Darby Pa in 2013. As did Terry Cashman, Tommy West and many others who supposedly ripped Jim off. Jim’s close family was there as well. Also 1,000 fans attended. Some people did not attend………
I read Ingrid Croce’s book and found it to be fairly accurate from a lot of research I’ve done. Two hundred dollars a week is really not much money for a guy who had a number 1 hit, even in the early 70’s. The money was going somewhere. Jim stated on national TV that he went though, I believe, 11 automobiles in 12 months. A man selling that many records should have been driving a brand new automobile. I’m glad Ingrid and A.J. are both successful. I also wonder how many of Jim’s record executives actually went to his funeral?
All of Jim’s record executives went to his funeral, along with the dry-eyed Mrs. Croce. Unfortunately, “all the research you’ve done” has probably been information written by Ingrid herself. If so, then you may have done a lot of reading but you’ve increased your knowledge of the facts not at all.
i find it odd that Kenneth Rhule would judge someone about being childish when he filed bankruptcy more than once & owes money to everyone in the Seattle area. Maybe he needs to grow up & pay his bills.
The music died for me when I heard Jim Croce and guitarist Maury Muehleisen died. Their music is untouchable and unequalled.
The royalties should not have been sold by the mother of his child. She should not have mishandled $5,000,000 which should be $50,000,000 plus today!
As for the handlers/producers…they shamelessly suck every artist dry and she came out better than most.
I STRONGLY question her claim a tumor on his optic nerve caused the son, at age 4, to be blinded in BOTH eyes. Too many accounts read it as severe physical abuse by Ingrid’s ‘then’ boyfriend. Some mother if that guy lived 2 minutes after laying a hand on a child.
That’s very true Laina. A.J. himself has stated that his blindness was caused by physical abuse from his mother’s boyfriend. Not to mention that Ingrid was married a 2nd time in 1975 (per court documents) though she refers to Jimmy Rock as her 2nd husband. That’s ok, she also insists that ‘Have to say I love you in a song’ was written for her. Ha 😉 Casual Jim Croce fans are apt to believe anything she says. Hardcore Croce fans – and we are legion – know better. Thank you Mr. Kurnit, Tommy, Terry, Elliot, Patti and many others I’m sure. Jim considered you all friends and you are, by extension, friends of ours.
I’m only a casual fan – who was it written for?!?! Need to know!
Hi Carrie, It was written for Patti Dahlstrom – a woman very deserving of Jim and vice-versa. You should check out the documentary ‘Songman’, created by and for those who loved Jim and Maury.