I Got A Name

Album: I Got A Name (1973)
Charted: 10
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  • This was the theme song for the 1973 movie The Last American Hero, starring Jeff Bridges as a stock car racer. The movie is based on the true story of the stock car driver Junior Johnson. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Julian - Oakland, AR
  • This is a rare song that Croce recorded but did not write. Ingrid Croce, who was married to Jim from 1966 until his death in 1973, told Songfacts: "It was written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox. And they were wonderful guys, really nice people. Jim had been selected to sing this song for this particular movie. He really enjoyed this opportunity, because he went into the recording studio and it was a little awkward for him not to hold his guitar - his guitar is kind of like a bar for the bartender, having that prop between him and the audience was just a real security, it made him feel very comfortable. So putting down the guitar to sing, just to sing the song in the studio, was a very unusual thing for Jim, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a brand new start for him in some ways, to use his vocals in a different way. I think it's one of the most powerful songs he does on that album for sure. I loved it."
  • Explaining how this song was a good fit for her husband, Ingrid says: "More people think he wrote that song. His voice was so unique... the timbre in his tone and his warmth and his generosity, everything came through that voice. So when he took a song, he'd make it his own, and I think he did a great job with 'I've Got A Name.' So many people like to think of Jim with that song that I hate to tell them it isn't his."
  • The album was produced by Terry Cashman and Tommy West, who had a hit as Cashman & West with "American City Suite." Says Cashman: "We recorded it because Jim was going to get a lot of money to record the song, and if it was released as a single, it would be the main title of a movie called The Last American Hero. So it wasn't a song that Jim wrote on the guitar with Maury [Muehleisen]. Tommy and Jimmy and Maury and myself came up with the arrangement together. It was a different kind of animal. We did that song with just the tracks for us, and then recorded Jim's voice over it, which is the way most people did records in those days. But most people think that Jim wrote that song because it sounds like the other songs, and then the production of course is a little bit more elaborate. It was different in that way, but Maury has a big guitar part and it certainly sounded like one of his records. And it became one of his most popular records. You know, a lot of people have covered that song, and it's been used in a number of other movies." (from a Songfacts interview with Terry Cashman)
  • This was the last song Croce played before his death. He performed it as an encore at show in Natchitoches, Louisiana at Northwestern College. The crowd was small, as many folks stayed home to watch the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match that night. Croce's plane, taking off in the dark after the concert, clipped a tree and crashed, killing all six people on board.
  • Quentin Tarantino used this song in his 2012 film Django Unchained. The film is set in 1858, but features some modern music, including cuts by Rick Ross and John Legend. The song was used in a scene were Django (Jamie Foxx) has been freed.

    Other films that have used the song include The Ice Storm (1997) and Invincible (2006).
  • Lena Horne sang this in 1976 on the first season of The Muppet Show. Horne's appearance earned the show a great deal of credibility, making it easier for the show's producers to find guests willing to perform with puppets.
  • Jim Croce's son A.J. Croce recorded the song for a 2018 Goodyear tire ad that pays tribute to famed racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr, whose father, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a car crash at age 49.

    Both A.J. and Earnhardt Jr. lost their fathers young, and Croce said that the similarities between Earnhardt Jr.'s life and his own made contributing to the commercial appealing to him:

    "There aren't a lot of people that grow up in the shadows of a famous musician, or race car driver," he explained to ABC Radio. "I get what he lived through, and he gets what I lived through."

Comments: 12

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 23, 1973, Jim Croce had three records on Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    His "Time In A Bottle" was in it's first of two weeks at #1 on the chart, "I Got A Name" was at #34, and in it's first week on the Top 100 at position #77 was his "It Doesn't Have To Be That Way"...
    Six weeks earlier "I Got A Name" had peaked at #10 {for 1 week} and it spent seventeen weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1972 and 1976 the South Philadelphia native had ten records on the Top 100 chart, five made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, besides the above "Time In A Bottle", his other #1 record was "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" for 2 weeks in July of 1973...
    Sadly, three months and three days earlier on September 30th, 1973 James Joseph Croce passed away at the young age of 30 {a airplane accident}...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Jim from Pleasant Hill, CaThe only flaw in this song is the grammar. It would have been phonetically nearly identical to name & sing it as "I've Got A Name" vs. the Ebonics-style wording.
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaThis was a song that reminds me of my father. When he died 6 years ago after his funeral, I went home and played this song in his honor and balled my eyes out. I remember when I was 9 he took me to the race movie THE LAST AMERICAN HERO and this was the ending song. My father build high performance race cars for a living and I use to love to go to the races with him, that was our thing. It is hard for me to see races live or on TV without him. I will always love this song..Peace, Jim
  • Cynthia from Scranton, Pai absolutely love this song. im only 16 but jim croce is one of my favorite artists. his death proved that only the good die young. RIP Jim! say hi to papou for me in heaven!
  • Jeff from Casa Grande, AzI always imagined driving in my car with a girl I really liked and singing this song together as it played deafening loud on the stereo. Sort of like a pre-curser to marriage. And, having her follow me and my father's name into the future generations. I think that is what this song is all about, simply passing on the family name. The whole heritage of it all. And, it all begins for you with you father. And, it is something that you pass on to your sons. Like a torch, knowing that someone else carries it forward, you can rest.
  • Barry from New York, NcThe version of the song in the movie THE LAST AMERICAN HERO is not the one that is found on the record. An earler (and rather tentative) alternate version of I GOT A NAME was recorded for the motion picture soundtrack.
  • Zachariah from Detroit, MiWho cannot really listen to the lyrics of this song and not feel like standing up to shout, "I got a name!"

    When you feel down, go for this and leave the Stephen Crane.
  • Chris from Chicago, IlThis song really touches me.Jim Croce was a great talent!
  • Richard from Houston, TxThis is played at the beginning of the 2006 movie Invincible.
  • Michael from Ephrata, WaJim Croce's music has always meant a lot to me. I've made friends through his music and some of his songs have gotten me through some very depressed times in my life. I'm too young to remember that much about him personally but he must have been a really great guy.
  • Frank from Westminster, ScThis song was climbing the charts at the time of his death. I'll never forget it. I was at a friend's house, playing pool, when the report came on the radio of the plane crash. It hit me the way I imagine that newspaper headline in February 1959 must have hit Don McLean.
  • Luke from Mesa, AzThis is one of the only songs in Jim Croce's catalog that he didn't write
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