Jim Croce

Time in a Bottle

Composed by Jim Croce

Song Review by

Quite often a singer's sudden death is ironically the best publicity for album sales. One need only look back to the deaths of such artists as John Denver, Karen Carpenter, or even the Notorious B.I.G. to remember the tremendous boost in sales an artist receives following his or her death. Of course, record label-induced posthumous releases tend to be bland and, were it not for fans relishing in the idea of having an artist's last recordings, otherwise forgettable. This was not the case with Jim Croce, whose posthumous chart status stayed healthy thanks to such latter-day hits as "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" and, most specifically, "Time in a Bottle." Released shortly after Croce's sudden death, "Time in a Bottle" hit number one on the charts and became one of the late singer's most recognizable songs. While one could certainly argue the "sudden death equals publicity" idea, it is truly hard to put this song down. "Time in a Bottle" didn't really offer anything new in comparison to other Croce ballads -- the melody was slow and moody, the lyrics of lost opportunity and loneliness. Still, no previous Croce hit had combined all of his main ideas so vividly and empathetically as with "Time in a Bottle." Reportedly written in regards to the birth of his son, Croce touches on an endless number of his songwriting clichés but brings everything together well enough where you don't really notice, or care, for that matter. For this reason among many, "Time in a Bottle" may not be exactly Croce's best single, but it's far and away his most memorable. And even if it topped the charts after Croce's death, it's hard to say "Time in a Bottle" would never have been a hit otherwise -- to be blunt, it's a damn good song.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
You Don't Mess Around with Jim 1972 Demon Records
Photographs & Memories: His Greatest Hits 1974 Rhino 2:25
Time in a Bottle/Greatest Love Songs 1977 Atlantic 2:28
No Image 1988 Commander
Singers & Songwriters: 40 Hits, All Orignal Recordings [Time-Life] 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Mellow Gold, Vol. 1 1991
Various Artists
Mystic Records
Collection [Castle] 1992 Castle Music Ltd.
Collectors Edition 1992 Madacy 2:28
The 50th Anniversary Collection 1992 Saja 2:28
Seventies Greatest Rock Hits, Vol. 15: Singers/Songwriters 1992
Various Artists
Priority 2:27
No Image 1993 Sound Solutions
Lovin' You: Classic Love 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:27
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown & Other Favorites [CEMA] 1994 CEMA Special Markets 2:28
Folk Hits Around the Campfire 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:27
Only Love: 1970-1974 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / JCI Associated Labels 2:27
Back to Back Hits 1995 Platinum Disc 2:28
70's Folk Rock 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
The Singles 1995 BR Music 2:26
70's Heavy Hitters: Summer Love 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
Billboard Top Soft Rock Hits: 1973 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 2:28
Mellow 70's [Coyote] 1997
Various Artists
Coyote Records 2:26
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Age of Panik 2:25
Stories & Characters: Best of Jim Croce 1998 BMG
Perfect Day 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:26
Bad Bad Leroy Brown: The Definitive Collection 1998 Recall (UK)
Time in a Bottle 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:27
Number Ones: The 70's 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 2:24
The Very Best of Jim Croce [BR] 1998 Import 2:28
Best of Jim Croce 1998 Music Club International Records 2:25
Disraeli Years 1998
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:25
The 70s 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:26
Billboard Top Soft Rock Hits: 1970-1974 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Bad Bad Leroy Brown [Delta] 1999 Laserlight 2:27
The Simply the Best: Time in a Bottle - His Greatest Hits 1999 Woodford 2:26
Time in a Bottle: Mellow Rock Classics 1999
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 2:27
Eternal Love [Empire] 2000
Various Artists
Empire DisK / Disky 2:26
Singers & Songwriters: 1974-1975 [2000] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:26
The Definitive Collection: Time in a Bottle 2000 Essential Records 2:27
Casey Kasem Presents: Number One Hits-The Love Songs 2000
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:26
Ultimate Singer-Songwriter Col 2000
Various Artists
Warner Elektra Atlantic Corp.
The Woodstock Generation: All the Love in the World 2001
Various Artists
Woodstock Records 2:26
Singer Songwriter 2001 EMI Music Distribution
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:29
VH1 Behind the Music: The Jim Croce Collection 2001 Rhino 2:28
A Decade in Sound 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:24
The Ultimate Hits of the 70's 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '70s, Vol. 1 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
Jukebox Hits of the '70s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:06
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:26
Troubadours: The Essential Album 2002
Various Artists
Manteca 2:26
Simply Acoustic [Universal] 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 2:26
Time in a Bottle: The Best of Mellow Rock 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 2:25
The Very Best of Singers and Songwriters 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
The Complete Collection 2003 BR Music 2:27
The Greatest Hits of the 70's [Platinum 2003 #2] 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:28
Original Gold 2003 Disky 2:24
Natural Acoustic 2003
Various Artists
Empire Music Group Inc.
Then: Totally Oldies 70's, Vol. 6 2003
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande 2:26
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Realm Records 2:28
Classic Hits 2004 Rhino 2:27
Good Morning Vietnam: A Soundtrack for a Generation 2004
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:25
Super 70's, Vol 2: The Return 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:26
World's Greatest Love Songs [2004] 2004
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:26
The Way We Used to Be: The Anthology 2004 Sanctuary
Lost & Found in the Seventies 2004
Various Artists
Liberty / Capitol 2:25
Pure Acoustic 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:26
Country: The Essential Album 2005
Various Artists
Essential Records 2:26
Singer Songwriter 2005
Various Artists
Simply The Best (Netherlands)
Ultimate 16: Lite FM Love Songs 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
Unforgettable Love Songs [Fuel 2000] 2006
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:24
Eazy Rock Ultimate Collection 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:27
The Greatest Rockin' 70's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:27
The Very Best of Jim Croce [Castle/Sanctuary] 2007 Sanctuary 2:29
Casey Kasem Presents: The Long Distance Dedications 2007
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 2:26
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:28
Flower Power [Time Life Box] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
Radio 2: Top 2000, Editie 2007 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Flower Power: Born to be Wild 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
Country Trilogy Collection 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 2:25
70's Super Hits 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 2:25
Romancing the 70s: My Love 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
All Time Classics 2011 Timeless 2:26
Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
The Original Albums: Jim Croce 2011 Edsel
Latest and Greatest Voices 2012
Various Artists
Universal Music 2:26
Romantically Yours: Being with You 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
Latest & Greatest Acoustic Songs 2013
Various Artists
USM / USM Media
Latest & Greatest Singer Songwriters 2013
Various Artists
Union Square Music / USM Media 2:26
Latest and Greatest Relaxing Songs 2014
Various Artists
USM Media 2:25
Troubadours: Folk and the Roots of American Music, Pt. 3 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:28
100 Hits: Peace & Love
Various Artists
100 Hits
50 Romantic Records, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Warner Special Products
Good Morning, Vietnam
Various Artists
Disky
Guitar Heroes: 100 Great Guitar Classics
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon Music Group / DMG 100 / EMI 2:28
No Image
Various Artists
Romantically Yours
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:28
Shades of Country [L&D Box]
Various Artists
L & D
No Image
Various Artists
Metacom 2:26
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
The Definitive Music Club Deluxe
blue highlight denotes editor's pick