Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)

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"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"
Single by Jim Croce
from the album You Don't Mess Around with Jim
B-side "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy)"
Released August 23, 1972[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1972
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:50
Label ABC (USA)
Vertigo (UK, Mexico)
Writer(s) Jim Croce
Producer(s) Terry Cashman
Jim Croce singles chronology
"You Don't Mess Around with Jim"
"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"
"One Less Set of Footsteps"
You Don't Mess Around with Jim track listing
"Walkin' Back to Georgia"
"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)"
Time in a Bottle

"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" is a 1972 single written and recorded by Jim Croce. It was released August 23, 1972 and was the second single released from his album You Don't Mess Around with Jim. It reached a peak of 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972 after spending twelve weeks on the chart.


The song is about the narrator's conversation with a telephone operator and trying to find the telephone number of his former lover who has moved to Los Angeles with his former best friend. The narrator wants to confront his former lover by telling her he is over her leaving him. At one point during the call, the operator gives the speaker his ex-lover's phone number, but he is so overcome with emotion that he cannot read the number the operator just gave him (presumably due to the tears in his eyes). As the song continues, the narrator realizes he is not over her and decides not to call her.

The story was inspired during Jim Croce's military service, where he saw lines of soldiers waiting to use the outdoor phone on base, many of them calling their wife or girlfriend to see if their Dear John letter was true.[2]

Live performances[edit]

In 1973 Croce performed "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" on the series The Midnight Special. Live versions of the song have also been released on the albums Jim Croce Live: The Final Tour, and "Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live".


The song "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" has been covered by a number of artists, in both recordings and live performances:

Track listing[edit]

7" Single (ABC-11335)[3]

  1. "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)" - 3:45
  2. "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy) " - 2:40

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[4] 11
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 17
U.S. Cash Box Top 100[5] 14
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening[6] 11


External links[edit]