“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Jim Croce
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”

Story by Ingrid Croce

Written and Recorded by Jim Croce

This song began at Fort Dix, New Jersey and was completed at our home in Lyndell, Pennsylvania in 1971.

Since I opened Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar in 1985 in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego as a tribute to my late husband Jim Croce, 30 to 40 guys have come in over the years and claimed to be the authentic Leroy Brown. Who’s to say who’s the “real” Leroy Brown? But what I do know is that the real story began back in December 1966.

It was then that my father became very ill and Jim was able to get a transfer for “heart-ship” leave from Fort Jackson, South Carolina to Fort Dix, where he met Leroy Brown.

This is how Jim told his story, “Leroy Brown is somebody I met in the United States Army when I was in Basic training in the Army National Guard in Fort Dix where I had the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of being a field Communications crewman, which is a wire man. That’s a big long name for ‘target.’ I was climbing these polls and running this wire and it was a great experience. I’ve used it often in my daily life.

Leroy was stationed down there at Fort Dix and about a week after we got there, we were sittin’ around talkin’ and one night he said he didn’t like it there anymore and he was gonna go home. So he did. He went AWOL. He came back at the end of the month to get his pay, which was kind of a mistake.

When he got out of the stockade, it was a lot of fun to just sit down and talk because he had opened up. It was like an enlightening experience for him and, after getting out of the cage, Leroy just turned into a completely different person. I mean he’s probably doing books today or somethin’, giving lectures on some corner. I used to just listen to him talk and to see how ‘bad’ he was, I knew someday I was gonna write a song about him.…”

“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”

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’s 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’s a gambler

And he likes his fancy clothes

And he likes to wave his diamond rings

In front of everybody’s nose.

He’s got a custom Continental

He’s got an Eldorado too

He’s got a 32 gun in his pocket for fun

He’s 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 ooh that girl looked nice.

Well he cast his eyes upon her

And the trouble soon began

’Cause Leroy Brown, he 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,

Yeah, badder than old King Kong

And meaner than a junkyard dog.

Words and Music by Jim Croce. © 1972 (Renewed 2000) TIME IN A BOTTLE PUBLISHING and CROCE PUBLISHING. All Rights Controlled and Administered by EMI APRIL MUSIC INC. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

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