On This Day in 1973: Jim Croce Dies In Natchitoches Plane Crash
It was late at night on September 20, 1973. Singer Jim Croce had just finishes a concert at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. He and five others boarded a Beechcraft plane, planning to take off and head to the next day's show in Sherman, Texas.
Tragically, the plane never made it much past the runway. In a mishap investigators described as pilot error, the chartered plane failed to clear a tree while taking. All on board were killed, including Croce, guitarist Maury Muehleisen, comedian George Stevens, agent Kenneth Cortose, road manager Dennis Rast and pilot Robert Elliott.
Croce, 30, was at the peak of his popularity with a pair of top selling albums, "Don't Mess Around With Jim" and "Life and Times", and a mega-hit single, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown".
Sadly, a few days after his death, his widow, Ingrid, received a letter he's mailed from the road. In it, he talked about he couldn't wait to get home from the tour. “Remember," Croce wrote, "It’s the first 60 years that count and I’ve got 30 to go. I love you.”