July 21, 1973 - Jim Croce started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.
Croce said his inspiration for the song was a friend he met in his brief time in the Army: I met him at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We were in lineman (telephone) school together. He stayed there about a week, and one evening he turned around and said he was really fed up and tired. He went AWOL, and then came back at the end of the month to get his pay check. They put handcuffs on him and took him away. Just to listen to him talk and see how 'bad' he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.
Croce told a variation of this story on the Helen Reddy show in July 1973: This is a song about a guy I was in the army with... It was at Fort Dix, in New Jersey, that I met this guy. He was not made to climb the tree of knowledge, as they say, but he was strong, so nobody'd ever told him what to do, and after about a week down there he said "Later for this" and decided to go home. So he went AWOL, which means to take your own vacation, and he did. But he made the mistake of coming back at the end of the month to get his paycheck. I don't know if you've ever seen handcuffs put on anybody, but it was SNAP and that was the end of it for a good friend of mine, who I wrote this tune about, named Leroy Brown.
Croce was nominated for two 1973 Grammy awards in the Pop Male Vocalist and Record of the Year categories for "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown". It was his last number-one single before he was killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1973.