Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)

Album: You Don't Mess Around with Jim (1972)
Charted: 17
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  • Ingrid Croce opened Croce's Restaurant & Jazz Bar in 1985. Jim would have loved this place. Located in the Gaslamp district of San Diego, it featured live music, spectacular food, and amazing wine. Ingrid brought good company together for many years, as she and Jim used to host gatherings in their Pennsylvania farmhouse where Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor were known to drop by. Ingrid kept Jim's photos, lyric sheets and guitars on display for patrons to enjoy and to keep the spirit of his songs alive. Croce's closed in 2014.

    Photo courtesy of Ingrid Croce

Comments: 26

  • Jack Sutherlin from Dallas, TxI absolutely love this song, but why does it sound like it was recorded underwater?
  • Leo Brussel from Los AngelesI have a very specific recollection of where I was when I heard of Jim's plane crash. I was in my blue VW bug waiting in line at a Jack-the-box late at night. When I got to the window, there was a cousin of mine that I didn't know to well and only saw at family gatherings. I didn't know she worked there. I asked her if she had heard about Croce. She had not.
    I drove away, eating my Bonus Jack, listening to Operator which a station was playing in his memory.
  • Tricia from San Antonio I was just wondering why it’s never mentioned that the guitarist in many of Mr. Croce’s songs was killed along with Jim. I along with millions, can remember EXACTLY where I was when I heard of their deaths. I cried like a baby. This truly was when the music died.
  • Shane from Bethlehem, Pa22 years old at the time of this writing (in 2020) and I absolutely love Jim Croce. So to answer the above question from Jeff (if you ever see this), yes, young people relate to this song. His storytelling abilities and guitar playing are magical. My dad's neighbor was the twin sister of Jim Croce's wife, and he said he was so surprised to see her on the inside of an album cover because he thought it was his neighbor at first! Anyway, I've loved reading some of these comments and seeing the different ways in which music touches people. Back to learning this on guitar!
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaSo identify with a lot of the lyrics. I was loosing some dear friends to a divorce when this song, and to this day it reminds me of that. the lyrics SO I can call just to tell them I'm fine, and to show, I've overcome the blow, I've learned to take it well , I only wish my words could just convince myself that it just wasn't real, but that's not the way it feel. evey time I loose someone out of my life those last two lines become my reality, Thank you Jim and Murry.
  • Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaOne of the best phrases in all of rock and roll -- my best old ex-friend Ray.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenGreat song. Only thing I would have changed would have been to have it fade out after the sad "You can keep the dime..." Repeating the chorus after that didn't make any sense, since he no longer wanted to place the call.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny*** 'You can keep the dime' ***
    On June 15th 1973 Jim Croce performed "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special', he was also the show's guest host...
    Eight months earlier on October 8th, 1972 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #78; and on December 3rd it peaked at #17 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #11 on both the Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and in Canada...
    Between 1972 and 1976 he had ten Top 100 records; four made the Top 10 and two reached #1, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (for 2 weeks in 1973) and "Time In A Bottle" (for also 2 weeks and also in 1973)...
    R.I.P. Mr. Croce (1943 - 1973).
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxCroce and Buddy Holly died for similar tragic reasons: Both were fast-rising singers who were forced to go on the road more than artists of their status should have had to. Both were being cheated out of royalties by their labels and needed the money from the appearances to stay above water.
  • Joe from Ontario, CaMy Mom was an operator and my Dad's name is Ray, born and raised in LA of course...they loved this song!
  • Jeff from Boston, MaI wonder if young people today could relate to this song. They have no experience with phone operators or pay phones. But who among us can't relate to the experience of trying to hold it together when talking to your ex who dumped you when really you are collapsing inside?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyEvery time I heard this song I always anticipate the lyrics 'You can keep the dime'; what a great ending to a great song!!!
  • Edward from Birmingham, AlI was in the Navy when this song came out. I know what it is like putting scarce change in the pay phone, trying to talk to your sweetheart--then running out of change and having to say goodbye. This was the early 1970's, Vietnam times. I can relate. This sweet song takes me back every time.
    Ed, Alabama
  • Kerri from Manchester, NhThis is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. This song defined my experience of moving to LA after my father tried to take his own life... "Over coming the blow" I was the one "Living in LA with my best old ex friend whos love I thought would save me"
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI was ten years old when this song was popular. My older sister loved Jim Croce and told me how he died. She always sang along with "Time In A Bottle." Over my years, as I have listened to Croce's songs, I have been able to appreciate the depth of his lyrics. They can bring tears to my eyes. Over twenty years ago, I really began paying attention to the lyrics of "Operator" and I have been captivated by that song ever since. John Martin, 46
  • Meg from Blahblahblah, LaI really love this song and everything Jim Croce has done. He was an amazing artist with an amazing voice. This has to be my favorite of his. And Aiedail, a lot of people do die in plane crashes, but do many people outside of Jim Croce fans know how he died? Or do they even know he exists. Probably not. He was a great guy and great artist. His voice is so haunting and beautiful. It's a shame he couldn't continue making good music.
  • Pat from Austin, TxI got quite a bit out of the DVD "Have you seen Jim Croce Live" because Ingrid his wife does an entire audio track talking about the various songs and how they came about. Jim also does as he sings them. The DVD is excellent. On to the background to this song. As Ingrid tells it Jim would use a compilation of many different stories from people to make up a song. The inspiration from this one came while he was in the Army and listening to his buddies make calls home. One of my favorites
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnJim Croce was one of my favorite male singers. It's unfortunate he died so young in a plane crash but Operator is one of his best works. It's more of a folk song.
  • John from Woburn, MaThis song definitely flew to the top of the list of my favorite songs when i heard it. Get it? Flew? Because he died in a plane crash?lol, i love irony
  • Frank from Westminster, ScSomething that Buddy Holly and Jim Croce had in common, other than being amazing, innovative musicians and dying in plane crashes: At the time of their deaths, both were scrambling and hustling to make money because lousy, no good, scumbag music-industry @#$%&*'s had their earnings tied up and they had to go out and make more $.
  • Kelli from Cedar Rapids, IaA) Musicians fly a LOT....constantly traveling.
    B) Musicians often take crappy puddle jumpers
    That's my theory of why so many of them die that way.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaAiedail, Jim Croce was more than a famous person, and he DEFINITLEY did not deserve to die in any way that soon, especially in a plane crash.
  • Andrew from Springfield, MoSad that his career ended so soon.
  • Aiedail from Carnation, Wayeah, a lot of people die in plane crashes. we just hear about the famous people
  • Keith from Slc, UtCroce managed to capture the truly devastating feeling that you get when you want to talk to someone, but they have turned to someone new, ending with the "Aw . . .forget it" type of end to the attempt.
  • Cadence from Sacramento, CaAll the great muscians die in plane crashes! What's up with that?
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