More Time With a Master Lyricist


This week, our assignment is to select someone who we think could have contributed more to our lives had that person’s life not been cut short. Since I’m a musician, I immediately searched my mind (and the internet) for fellow musicians who died young. There are many, but in most cases, the lives were shortened due to noxious habits they picked up. Jim Croce was an exception. At 30 years of age, he was killed in a plane accident traveling between concerts. Sadly, I didn’t know anything about him until after his death in 1973. I was a freshman in college, and was getting ready for a day of classes when my roommate came in, visibly upset. “Did you hear? Jim Croce was killed in a plane accident.” I’d never heard of the man, but I commiserated, figuring I’d hear details later.

In the days that followed, the news was full of tributes to his music. Of course, my distraught roommate played his albums non-stop (young people, this is in the days before digital music, which means no CDs, MP4s, streaming, or even YouTube!). There were tributes to him on every television station, radio station, and even at the college basketball game.

Eventually, I learned most of his songs. I found melodies to his ballads to be haunting and memorable, and enjoyed dancing to his livelier tunes. But even more, I was intrigued with the lyrics. As authors, we struggle to find the words that convey certain actions and emotions. Croce’s lyrics are marvelous word paintings that stir up memories and all sorts of feelings in a way that I can only hope to achieve.

Time in a Bottle was apparently written soon after Croce learned he was to become a father. The song expressed every parent’s wish for more time to enjoy the special moments one experiences with children. It was first released in 1972 on his album You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, but after his death in 1973 the song took on a more melancholy meaning, that of limited time on earth to connect with those around us.

“Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til 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 time with


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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5 Responses to More Time With a Master Lyricist

  1. jeff7salter says:

    I’ve always loved that song, Time in a Bottle. Also several others of his, though I can’t recall the titles just now. I liked “don’t mess around with Jim” but thought somebody else did that one. Oh well. I was never very good at song titles and artists — just knew what I liked from the music and what I could understand of the lyrics.


  2. I love “Time in a Bottle”. That and “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” are two of the most truly romantic songs in all of Rock. Although “Leroy Brown” and “Jim” are not guys I’d like to deal with, their music is catchy. As someone who had written lyrics, Croce’s works were always well-constructed and clever.


  3. Joselyn says:

    I’m not usually good with connecting songs with the singers either, but as you mentioned the songs, I recognized them as favorites. A gifted and versatile singer.


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