♫ I Got A Name ♫

I just finished my ‘good people’ post and sat back to see if a song would just magically pop into my head, not really believing it would, but … POOF!  There was a song!  It took me a few minutes of playing around with lyrics and partial lyrics on Google to remember the title of the song, but I had the tune strumming through the cobwebs in my mind!  Now, you all know … those who have been with me for a while … that I’m a big fan of Jim Croce.  This is not his most famous or popular, but … I like it, like the tune and like the message it sends.

This is one of the few songs Croce recorded, but did not write.  According to his wife, Ingrid …

“It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. And they were wonderful guys, really nice people. Jim had been selected to sing this song for this particular movie [“The Last American Hero” starring Jeff Bridges as a stock car racer]. He really enjoyed this opportunity, because he went into the recording studio and it was a little awkward for him not to hold his guitar – his guitar is kind of like a bar for the bartender, having that prop between him and the audience was just a real security, it made him feel very comfortable. So putting down the guitar to sing, just to sing the song in the studio, was a very unusual thing for Jim, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a brand new start for him in some ways, to use his vocals in a different way. I think it’s one of the most powerful songs he does on that album for sure. I loved it.  More people think he wrote that song. His voice was so unique… the timbre in his tone and his warmth and his generosity, everything came through that voice. So when he took a song, he’d make it his own, and I think he did a great job with ‘I’ve Got A Name.’ So many people like to think of Jim with that song that I hate to tell them it isn’t his.”

This was the last song Croce played before his death. He performed it as an encore at a show in Natchitoches, Louisiana at Northwestern College. The crowd was small, as many folks stayed home to watch the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match that night. Croce’s plane, taking off in the dark after the concert, clipped a tree and crashed, killing all six people on board.

What I like most  (besides listening to that gorgeous voice of Jim’s) is the message this song conveys … that of a man who is proud of who he is and where he is going in life, undeterred by the naysaying of others.  

Jim Croce’s son A.J. Croce recorded the song for a 2018 Goodyear tire ad that pays tribute to famed racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, whose father, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a car crash at age 49.  Both A.J. and Earnhardt Jr. lost their fathers young, and Croce said that the similarities between Earnhardt Jr.’s life and his own made contributing to the commercial appealing to him:

“There aren’t a lot of people that grow up in the shadows of a famous musician, or race car driver. I get what he lived through, and he gets what I lived through.”

The song only made it to #10 in the U.S., #8 in Canada, and did not chart at all in the UK.

Lena Horne sang this in 1976 on the first season of The Muppet Show.  While I love Lena Horne, her version does not hold a candle to Croce’s, but I am playing it as a second here, because … well … puppy … and Muppets … who can resist?

I Got a Name

Jim Croce

Like the pine trees linin’ the windin’ road
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
Like the singin’ bird and the croakin’ toad
I’ve got a name, I’ve got a name
And I carry it with me like my daddy did
But I’m living the dream that he kept hid

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Like the north wind whistlin’ down the sky
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
Like the whippoorwill and the baby’s cry
I’ve got a song, I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

And I’m gonna go there free

Like the fool I am and I’ll always be
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Oh, I know I could share it if you want me to
If you’re goin’ my way, I’ll go with you

Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by
Movin’ me down the highway, rollin’ me down the highway
Movin’ ahead so life won’t pass me by

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Charles Fox / Norman Gimbel
I Got a Name lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

26 thoughts on “♫ I Got A Name ♫

  1. I wasn’t a Jim Croce fan at the time, Jill, but I like the song very much. I kind of remember hearing it. It was probably popular during a busy time in my life. I agree his version is much better than Lena Horne’s. My mother thought she was a really beautiful woman, which she was. —- Suzanne

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    • I was a Croce fan from the very beginning … something about that voice, rather like James Taylor, that I could close my eyes and believe he was singing directly to me! Oh yes, Lena Horne was a beautiful woman and had a great voice! I just didn’t think she did justice to this song, but then … it was The Muppets, after all! 😉

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    • So could I!!! Yes, that’s another great one, and I think my all-time favourite is “Photographs and Memories”. And, the list has to include “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”, of course!

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  2. Jill, this is a great song from an artist who left us too soon. While he did not write this one, it was a huge hit and showed what could be in the future as his music became bigger. It would have been great to see him record other songs on top of his mountain of great song writing. Keith

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    • Yes, like so many of the others I have played over the years, he did leave too soon, but thankfully left a beautiful legacy. I didn’t realize until I was researching the backstory that he didn’t write this one.

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