Tune Tuesday – Time in a Bottle

One of the albums I picked up on vinyl to play on the record player my wife bought me for my birthday was Jim Croce Photographs and Memories – His Greatest Hits.


This song hit #1 about 14 weeks after he died in a plane crash in 1973. He wrote this song on the night that he found out his wife was pregnant. They had been married 5 years and while visiting a fertility specialist, she found out she was pregnant. His wife said she will always remember the “mix of terror and delight” in his reaction when she told him. (Side note: They had a son named Adrian, who went on to achieve success as a songwriter. He was AJ Croce.)

The song appeared on his 1972 album – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. The song was never intended to be released as a single. It was used in a TV movie about a woman with cancer entitled She Lives (starring Desi Arnaz Jr. and Season Hubley). The movie aired a few weeks before his death. TV stations were getting hundreds of calls wanting to know who sang the song and where they could buy it! The following day, the record label got orders for 50,000 copies of the album. The song became the 3rd posthumous #1 song of the rock era. The first was Otis Redding’s Dock of the Bay, and the second was Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee.

I always loved the simple guitar work in this song, as well as the use of a harpsichord. The harpsichord was kind of an experiment according to producer Tommy West in an article for Mixonline:

“The night before we were going to mix, I was watching a horror movie on TV, and something must have lodged in my brain because when I walked into the studio the next day, I saw this harpsichord sitting in a corner and got an idea. A jingle company had used it on a session and in walked a couple of guys from SIR [Studio Instruments Rental] to haul it away. I asked them to take a lunch break and told Bruce to put a couple of mics on it. He was whining that it was out of tune, but I asked him to let me try something. I added two tracks of harpsichord, told the movers they could remove it, walked into Jerry’s office and asked if I could borrow the electric bass that was sitting on his couch, played that on just the second verse and the outro, and that was that! Radio compression worked in our favor on that record. It made the harpsichord blend with the two guitars in an unusual way. But we thought this record would only be an album cut.”

I love the way it sounds and it really makes the song more haunting and lovely. For me personally, I completely understand how Jim feels. I want to bottle up every minute and spend it with my wife. Even when time is over, I want to have that extra bit bottled up to continue sharing special moments with her. She is the answer to my every wish, just like the song says. Yes, she is the one I want to go through time with – forever. This weekend, this song took on a whole new meaning to me … for reasons I will keep to myself for now.

“Time In A Bottle”

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go through the time with

5 thoughts on “Tune Tuesday – Time in a Bottle

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