Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” is 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. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1973.
This animated video was drawn “in a simplistic, funky-looking style” and with goofy sound effects added (probably by the Sonny and Cher producers), Wilson’s animated films for Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” (top), Jim Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (above), and The Kinks “Demon Alcohol” (below, sung by Wayne Carpenter) enhance songs already rich with narrative. This, the blog Media Funhouse points out, was by design: “Wilson was wise to concentrate on the ‘story songs’ of the time, in order to create repeating characters and have the viewer ‘connect’ with the piece in a very short span of time.” In most cases, Sonny and Cher’s vocals were dubbed over the original tracks, but in many of the animations that surfaced on VHS in the eighties and now appear on Youtube, the original songs have been restored, as in the two above. If you grew up with the show, you’ve surely seen at least a couple of these early music videos, a form Wilson is widely credited with pioneering. Beginning in the second season, Wilson’s company, Fine Arts Films, produced a total of fourteen animated shorts for the show.
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 his death on September 20 of that year.