St. James-Spencer Summary
song title=Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
arithmetic mean speed/average expected tempo=147 4/5 bpm
average beat=~0.4095 seconds
bit rate=256 kbps
sample rate=44.100 Hz
seller=iTunes® by Apple@
measurement=Seiko®, Online Sports®
measurements, synthesis and maps=/isesq/
/Ian Andrew Schneider/
St. James Charter School of New Jersey, a division of
December 21, 2009
|“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”|
|Single by Jim Croce|
|from the album ‘Life and Times’|
|B-side||A Good Time Man Like Me Ain’t Got No Business (Singin’ The Blues)|
|Genre||Folk, Folk rock|
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is the title of a song written by American folk rock singer Jim Croce. Released as part of his 1973 album Life and Times, the song was a Number One pop hit for him, spending two weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1973. Croce was nominated for two 1973 Grammy awards in the Pop Male Vocalist and Record of the Year categories for “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”.
The song is about a man from the south side of Chicago who, due to his size and attitude, has a reputation as the “baddest man in the whole damn town.” One day, in a bar, he makes a pass at a pretty, married woman, whose husband proceeds to beat Leroy brutally in the ensuing brawl.
Croce tells a nearly identical story (tough guy who everybody fears is brutally beaten when he meets an even tougher guy) in his hit single “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim.”
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 explained the chorus reference to Leroy Brown being “meaner than a junkyard dog”:
Yeah, I spent about a year and a half driving those $29 cars, so I drove around a lot looking for a universal joint for a ’57 Chevy panel truck or a transmission for a ’51 Dodge. I got to know many junkyards well, and they all have those dogs in them. They all have either an axle tied around their necks or an old lawnmower to keep ’em at least slowed down a bit, so you have a decent chance of getting away from them.
The song inspired Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury to write the song “Bring Back That Leroy Brown” for the band’s third album, Sheer Heart Attack, released a year after Croce died.
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was released in April 1973 and peaked at number one on the American charts three months later. It was still on the charts on September 20 when Croce died in a plane crash in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It also reached #19 on the Australian (Go-Set) Singles Chart in 1973.
Frank Sinatra recorded a cover version of the song, which reached number 83 on the pop charts. Country music artist Anthony Armstrong Jones released a cover on Epic Records in 1973, reaching #33 on the U.S. county charts with it.
measurements made in accordance w the matherton experiment, 2009, declassified 8/12/2016.