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
Format7" 45 RPM
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 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] 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.[3] 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."[4]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single (ABC-11405)[5]

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

Chart performance[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. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top Pop Albums 1955-1985, Record Research Inc., 1985, p. 88, 505.
  4. ^ Eskow, Gary. "Classic Tracks: Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle"". Mixonline. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Jim Croce - Time In A Bottle". Discogs. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Time in a Bottle (song by Jim Croce) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. ^ "Australian Top 100 Singles - Week ending 27 October 1974". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 20, No. 23, January 19 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  9. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 20, No. 23, January 19 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  10. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1974 Archived December 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The RPM Year-End Charts: 1974". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Gold and Platinum Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]