Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

Album: Life And Times (1973)
Charted: 1
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  • Well the South side of Chicago
    Is the baddest part of town
    And if you go down there
    You better just beware
    Of a man named Leroy Brown

    Now Leroy more than trouble
    You see he stand 'bout six foot four
    All the downtown ladies call him "Treetop Lover"
    All the men just call him "Sir"

    And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
    The baddest man in the whole damned town
    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

    Now Leroy he a gambler
    And he like his fancy clothes
    And he like to wave his diamond rings
    In front of everybody's nose
    He got a custom Continental
    He got an Eldorado too
    He got a thirty two gun in his pocket for fun
    He got a razor in his shoe

    And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
    The baddest man in the whole damned town
    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

    Now Friday 'bout a week ago
    Leroy shootin' dice
    And at the edge of the bar
    Sat a girl named Doris
    And oo that girl looked nice
    Well he cast his eyes upon her
    And the trouble soon began
    And Leroy Brown learned a lesson
    'Bout messin' with the wife of a jealous man

    And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
    The baddest man in the whole damned town
    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

    Well the two men took to fighting
    And when they pulled them off the floor
    Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle
    With a couple of pieces gone

    And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
    The baddest man in the whole damned town
    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

    And it's bad, bad Leroy Brown
    The baddest man in the whole damned town
    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

    Badder than old King Kong
    And meaner than a junkyard dog

Comments: 25

  • Leroy from ManilaI am named after the song, just want to know what's the story behind it
  • Lynn Oliver from From GeorgiaI think I heard a song from Jim Croce about politicians. Still waiting for it to come up on my brother's music list again.
  • Al F from MassachusettsAs an adolescent, I used to accompany my father on odd painting and wallpapering jobs. While working, we listened to music from his "paint radio" - a bible-sized thing covered with drops of paint. "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" was one song I distinctly remember. My father was adamant the lyric was "baddest man in the whole down town." I said, "No Dad, it's "DAMN town". I know he has been a bit hard of hearing, but back then, mostly, I think he was just being a Dad. A "damn good one", too!
  • Jack from IowaIf you listen closely to the song (and I have heard it hundreds of times because my two year old loves it), you will see that the winner of the fight isn't mentioned in the song. Nevertheless, the assumption in several writeups is that Leroy lost but listen to the song. If we look at the clues in the song then the winner is clear. They are both pulled from the floor. Leroy is still alive and is just missing a few pieces and Jim Croce still says he is the baddest man in the whole damn town. It's pretty clear to me that Leroy won the fight. Unfortunately, Jim Croce died before he could record a sequel to the song where we would see all see that.
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenMore or less the same song as "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," but both are great.
  • Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaI was in high school when this song came out. At that time, my parents and another couple would go out to their company dances and events together, and my mom told me later that on their way home afterward, she and the other lady would sing this song at the top of their lungs, usually under a little bit of "spirit"ual influence. I always think of that when I hear this song, and it's such a wonderful memory.

    I also saw early on the similarities between this song and "Don't Mess Around With Jim", but each song can stand on its own as a great song.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaWish I could have seen Jim and met him. Love the piano on this tune. Who played it?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAmazingly Frank Sinatra covered this record and even charted with it, peaking at No. 83 on Billboard in 1974...
  • Jas from Clifton, TxUmmm Drew, you definitely should not have taken the red pill. In fact, I'm a little weirded out by that whole comment. Forced labor? Bonnie & Clyde? Before you start the usual of how people don't understand you as an artist because they are somehow not up to your level, consider that you're taking a pretty good story/song written by one of the great singer/songwriters of all time and injecting it with stuff Timothy Leary wouldn't even touch. Just enjoy this wonderful song.
  • Drew from B'ham, AlKnow what would make for an interesting story? If either "Slim" McCoy or "Big Jim" Walker is the jealous fellow who draws his knife on Leroy Brown. I think Big Jim is more of the type that would react like that. Moreover, a story in which "Slim" visits them both in the hospital & leads them out to teach them respect via forced labor to build character. To top it all off, the character building labor lying in the criminal path of Billy Joe & Bobbie Sue, who are similar to Bonnie & Clyde, but organized like Al Capone. Other criminals y'all can think of who were weaned to be mean could be thrown in.
  • Jas from Clifton, Txtaylor in columbia, there is no such thing as "a-wall." It's AWOL, or Absent Without Official Leave. That aside, I have always loved listening to Jim Croce. He was one of the true great songwriters in the world, and he was a man above the times. While the US was in chaos and every other person on the street wanted to be a singer and make some great political statement, Jim Croce was able to look past that and simply write about what he saw without pretending to change the political scene with a song. That's an artist in the purest form. He just loved music and he wanted to share it with the world. This is a great song that almost everybody knows.
  • Bianca Sanchez from Alburquerque, NmGreat song!!!!!!!!!

    My Dad told me that when he was in Middle School he was singng this while walking down the hall and when he said "baddest man in the whole 'Damn' town all the teachers started looking at him, and teachers could paddle you then for saying something like 'damn' so he says "I said 'baddest man in the whole 'down' town"
  • Derek from Cambridge, New ZealandVinnie Jones, the former soccer player for England, and now actor, recorded this song in 2003, and actually made a fairly decent effort!!!
  • Darrell from Eugene, United StatesThis song is NOT about the main character of a series of well-known children's detective novels (Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown), and Jim Croce probably never picked up an Encyclopedia Brown book in his entire short life. I should know. When I was kneehigh to an idiot, I loved those books. I still have them all.
  • Taylor from Columbia, United StatesIt says that he wrote that song while he was in the army, he was stationed at Fort Jackson in Columbia South Carolina...Leroy Brown was a big black guy in his company who went a-wall and went back to chicago and got into a bar fight and arrested, thats how they caught up with him, so Jim decided to turn the story into a song...which is my favorite karyoke jam
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaYes, I agree with you Jamie (Bethesda), but in "You Don't Mess Around With Jim" if you listen close at the end he says "You don't mess around with 'Slim'".
  • John from Yardley, PaJim and his wife lived in the Philadelphia area when he was getting pretty famous. The line" meaner than a junkyard dog" came to him when he and a friend were walking in Philadelphia and came upon a junkyard. The dog behind the gate started barking and going nuts when the two approached. Jim's friend remarked something like" man, that's one mean junkyard dog". The rest is history.
  • Bobodobo from Los Angeles, CaI love Jim Croce but I never cared much for Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. To me it seems like a carbon copy of Jim Croce's earlier but less popular song, "Don't Mess Around With Jim" - the story line and verse/chorus layout is exactly the same. I also thought the sparse instrumentation (acoustic guitar lead, bass and drums only) and scat singing on DMAWJ was more effective that the honky tonk piano on BBLB.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThis was a prime example of Jim Croce's outstanding songwriting. My favorite line was "Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone."
  • Donald from El Dorado, ArIn some states this song was banned, from being played on radio. Because it glorified gangsters.
    The 1970's was a decade of the Me! generation. All of the hippies and flower children made an affect, on the way the 1970's became. Women exchanged dresses for bell bottoms and men let their hair grow long. It was a real crisis.Not to mention crooked politicians and hard times.
  • Sean from Toronto, CanadaThis song was referenced in the "Friends" episode "The One With All The Resolutions" (and had the second line of the chorus sung by Jennifer Aniston), and also sung by Coby Bell and Skipp Sudduth in the "Third Watch" episode "Sunny, Like Sunshine".
  • Jay from New York, NyLeroy Brown is bad because everyone thinks he is bad. He's big and looks tough. No one had ever challenged him to a fight; they took one look at him and decided it was better not to risk it. It turns out that he was not as tough as his reputation.
  • Jamie from Bethesda, MdIf Leroy Brown is so "Bad"....why does he get his Ass kicked at the end of the song by some other guy. Maybe the song should be about the guy the Kicks Leroy Brown's Ass. Just a thought...Im almost sure the same thing happens in the song about 'Jim"
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI love this song I am a huge Jim Croce fan
  • Ayns from Vancouver, CanadaIt was sung in Chinese in the movie Sneakers.
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