Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)
|"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|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
Vertigo (UK, Mexico)
|Producer(s)||Terry Cashman, Tommy West|
|Jim Croce singles chronology|
"Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" is a 1972 song written by Jim Croce. Croce's record was released on August 23, 1972. It was the second single released from Croce's album You Don't Mess Around with Jim. It reached a peak of #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1972, spending twelve weeks on the chart.
There is a similar song written by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of the Grateful Dead and released on their 1970 American Beauty album. However, Croce's song predates the McKernan song by several years. There are numerous mid-1960s recordings available of Jim Croce performances that include his exact version of "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)." While the song-stories are similar, they are distinctly different songs.
The song relates one side of a conversation with a telephone operator. The speaker is trying to find the phone number of his former lover, who has moved to Los Angeles with his former best friend. He wants to demonstrate to both of them that he is well and over their betrayal, but admits to the operator that he isn't. After the operator has given him the number, he is unable to read it, apparently due to the tears in his eyes. He then changes his mind and tells the operator not to place the call, appreciatively adding "you can keep the dime" (the then standard toll he had deposited in a payphone).
The story was inspired during Jim Croce's military service, during which time he saw lines of soldiers waiting to use the outdoor phone on base, many of them calling their wives or girlfriends to see if their Dear John letter was true.
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:
- By Toby Lightman on the Everwood soundtrack album.
- By Rodney Crowell on the tribute album Jim Croce: A Nashville Tribute.
- By Diana Krall in 2015 on the Canadian jazz singer-songwriter and pianist's album Wallflower.
- By Jesse Malin on his 2008 cover album On Your Sleeve.
- The Avett Brothers often play this song in concert. Their rendition usually features Seth Avett playing the guitar and singing. He is usually joined by the band's bassist, Bob Crawford.
- Tori Amos also covered the song in concert, which was recorded and released on one of the albums in her The Original Bootlegs package.
- Garth Brooks for the 2013 "The Melting Pot" album in the "Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences" compilation.
7" Single (ABC-11335)
- "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)" - 3:45
- "Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy) " - 2:40
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||11|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||17|
|U.S. Cash Box Top 100||14|
|U.S. Billboard Easy Listening||11|
- Dean, Maury (2003). Rock 'n Roll: Gold Rush : a Singles Un-cyclopedia. Maxwell Hunter Publishing. p. 235.
- "Jim Croce". Redroaddesign.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "Jim Croce - Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels) / Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy) (Vinyl)". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2011-01-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels) (song by Jim Croce) • Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Musicvf.com. 1972-10-14. Retrieved 2016-10-07.