Time in a Bottle

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"Time in a Bottle"
Time in a Bottle.jpg
Single by Jim Croce
from the album You Don't Mess Around with Jim
B-side"Hard Time Losin' Man"
ReleasedNovember 1973
RecordedJanuary-March 1972
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Jim Croce
Producer(s)Terry Cashman, Tommy West
Jim Croce singles chronology
"I Got a Name"
"Time in a Bottle"
"It Doesn't Have to Be That Way"

"Time in a Bottle" is a hit single by singer-songwriter Jim Croce. Croce wrote the lyrics after his wife Ingrid told him she was pregnant, in December 1970.[1] It appeared on his 1972 ABC debut album You Don't Mess Around with Jim and was featured in the 1973 ABC made-for-television movie She Lives!. ABC originally did not intend to release the song as a single; but when Croce was killed in a plane crash in September 1973, its lyrics, dealing with mortality and the wish to have more time, had additional resonance. The song subsequently received a large amount of airplay as an album track and demand for a single release built. When it was eventually issued as a 7", it became his second and final No. 1 hit.[2] It was also the third posthumous Billboard number-one hit after "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding and "Me and Bobby McGee" by Janis Joplin.[3] After the single had finished its two-week run at the top in early January 1974, the album You Don't Mess Around with Jim became No. 1 for five weeks.[4] In 1977, "Time in a Bottle" was used as the title for a compilation album of Croce's love songs.

Production and arrangement[edit]

The arrangement features a harpsichord that producer Tommy West discovered had been left in the mixing studio:

The night before we were going to mix, I was watching a horror movie on TV, and something must have lodged in my brain because when I walked into the studio the next day, I saw this harpsichord sitting in a corner and got an idea. A jingle company had used it on a session and in walked a couple of guys from SIR [Studio Instruments Rental] to haul it away. I asked them to take a lunch break and told Bruce to put a couple of mics on it. He was whining that it was out of tune, but I asked him to let me try something. I added two tracks of harpsichord, told the movers they could remove it, walked into Jerry's office and asked if I could borrow the electric bass that was sitting on his couch, played that on just the second verse and the outro, and that was that! Radio compression worked in our favor on that record. It made the harpsichord blend with the two guitars in an unusual way. But we thought this record would only be an album cut.[5]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single (ABC-11405)[6]

  1. "Time in a Bottle" – 2:24
  2. "Hard Time Losin' Man" – 2:23

Charts and certifications[edit]


Country Certification
United States Gold (RIAA)[14]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Hyatt, Wesley. The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits, Billboard Books, 1999, p. 132.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 7th edition, Billboard Books, 2000, p. 159.
  3. ^ Zellner, Xander (June 27, 2018). "Artists Who Hit No. 1 On The Hot 100 Posthumously: XXXTentacion & More". Billboard. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top Pop Albums 1955–1985, Record Research Inc., 1985, p. 88, 505.
  5. ^ Eskow, Gary. "Classic Tracks: Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle"". Mix (magazine). Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "Jim Croce – Time in a Bottle". discogs. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Time in a Bottle (song by Jim Croce) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". musicvf.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Australian Top 100 Singles – Week ending 27 October 1974". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  9. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 20, No. 23, January 19 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  10. ^ "Adult Contemporary – Volume 20, No. 23, January 19 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  11. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1974". www.cashboxmagazine.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010.
  12. ^ "The RPM Year-End Charts: 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Gold and Platinum". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "YouTube: Maureen McCormick – Time in a Bottle". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  16. ^ Nichelson, Ted (2009). Love to Love You Bradys: The Bizarre Story of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour. ECW Press. p. 287. ISBN 9781550228885.
  17. ^ Jackson, Don (January 9, 2013). "Jim Croce hits Number 1 with 'Time in a Bottle'". WMJI. Archived from the original on September 15, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Marketing & Media Decisions". Decisions Publications. April 30, 1983. Retrieved April 30, 2018 – via Google Books. Mateus highlights "Time in a Bottle" campaign on spot tv. Thirty- second spots created by Shaller Rubin & Winer link Mateus with romance and intimacy to the tune of Jim Croce's love ballad, "Time ...
  19. ^ "Art Direction". Advertising Trade Publications. April 30, 1984. Retrieved April 30, 2018 – via Google Books. Last year's Mateus ad centered around Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," and the current spot continues on a similar note with its "Spend the good times with Mateus" ...
  20. ^ "Beverage World". Keller Publishing Corporation. April 30, 1985. Retrieved April 30, 2018 – via Google Books. The major advertislng support for Mateus during the past growth year was the 'Time in a Bottle" television spot, with its message. "Spend the Good Times with Mateus."
  21. ^ Board, Josh (May 26, 2011). "MOVIE REVIEW: The Hangover Part II". SanDiego.com. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  22. ^ O'Connell, Sean (May 23, 2014). "How Did They Film Quicksilver's Amazing X-Men: Days Of Future Past Scene?". Cinema Blend. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  23. ^ "Apple enlists help of Cookie Monster to highlight 'Hey Siri' in new iPhone 6s ad". Apple Insider. Retrieved March 16, 2016.

External links[edit]