It was 37 years ago today that Jim Croce died in a plane crash, along with his friend and lead guitarist Maury Muehleisen.
Up until his death, Croce had been a successful, likeable pro - perhaps not quite Hall of Fame material, but solid, sincere and totally without pretension. He had his tender side, and he had his "trucker" side. His best known hit, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," was definitely in the latter category. But "Operator," in the former, may have been his best song.
Shortly after he died, Croce hit it big. In early 1974, he dominated the airwaves and the charts, and at one time all three of his albums were in the top five. Hit followed hit followed hit, until eventually all the hits were used up. Had he lived, it's hard to know what level of success Croce might have attained. It's safe to say that, at the very least, he'd still be successful, performing his hits.
He didn't write "I Got A Name," but it was a great performance, and a great song.