Jim Croce – Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels) | Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live

 

Lyrics
Operator, oh, could you help me place this call?See the number on the matchbook is old and fadedShe’s living in L.A.With my best old ex-friend, RayGuy, she said she knew well, and sometimes hated
But isn’t that the way they say it goes?Well, let’s forget all thatAnd give me the number if you can find itSo, I can call just to tell ’em I’m fineAnd to show I’ve overcome the blowI’ve learned to take it wellI only wish my words could just convince myselfThat it just wasn’t realBut that’s not the way it feels
Operator, oh, could you help me place this call?‘Cause I can’t read the number that you just gave meThere’s something in my eyesYou know it happens every timeI think about a love that I thought would save me
But isn’t that the way they say it goes?Well, let’s forget all thatAnd give me the number if you can find itSo I can call just to tell ’em I’m fineAnd to show I’ve overcome the blowI’ve learned to take it wellI only wish my words could just convince myselfThat it just wasn’t realBut that’s not the way it feels, no, no, no, noThat’s not the way it feels
Operator, oh, let’s forget about this callThere’s no one there I really wanted to talk toThank you for your timeAh, you’ve been so much more than kindYou can keep the dime
But isn’t that the way they say it goes?Well, let’s forget all thatAnd give me the number if you can find itSo I can call just to tell ’em I’m fineAnd to show I’ve overcome the blowI’ve learned to take it wellI only wish my words could just convince myselfThat it just wasn’t realBut that’s not the way it feels
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: James J. Croce
Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels) lyrics © H&r Lastrada Music, R2m Publishing, Wingate-music Corp.
Jim Croce Operator Album Cover

Jim Croce’s operator is a novel with four verses. So much human frailty in this richly textured song. The starkly upbeat chords contrast a lyric replete with love, loss, and heartbreak. Some of the references to phone booths, operator assistance, and the cost of each call being only 0.10 are specific to the song’s period. Yet, the song’s primary story structure transcends time and period.

Jim Croce’s quote about Operator

“I got the idea for writing “Operator” by standing outside the PX waiting to use one of the outdoor phones. There wasn’t a phone booth; it was just stuck up on the side of the building, and there were about 200 guys in each line waiting to make a phone call back home to see if their Dear John’s letter was true and with their raincoat over their heads covering the telephone and everything. It seemed that so many people were going through the same experience, going through the same kind of change, and to see this happen, especially on the telephone and talking to a long-distance operator- this kind of registered. And when I got out of the army, I was working in a bar where there was a telephone directly behind where I was playing, and I couldn’t help but be disturbed by it all the time, and I noticed that the same kind of thing was going on. People checkin’ up on somebody or finding out who was Ð what was goin’ on, but always talking to the operator. And I decided that I would write a song about it. But I didn’t start getting the idea for the song itself, the real outline of it, until I was doing the construction work after I got out of the music business the first time, and I started carrying a cassette machine in the truck. One afternoon, I started  Operator’ on the way back, just singin’ into a cassette machine. But it’s-it’s one of those songs that kinda comes out of experiences you watch for a long time, just to see if they’re valid. I kinda like to write songs about things that many people have experience with because it makes the songs communicate.”

 

Last IMage of Jim Croce taken on the runway after last show prior to crash.

Last-Image-of-Jim-Croce and Maury Muehleisen taken-on-the-runway-after-last-show-prior-to-crash.

On September 20, 1973, at the height of his popularity and the day before the lead single to his fifth album, I Got a Name, was released, Croce and five others died in a plane crash. His music continued to chart throughout the 1970s following his death. Croce’s wife, Ingrid, was his early songwriting partner. She continued to write and record after his death, and their son A. J. Croce became a singer-songwriter in the 1990s.

SONG
Operator (That’s Not The Way It Feels)

ARTIST

ALBUM
Have You Heard: Jim Croce Live

LICENSES

[Merlin] Magnetic (on behalf of Croce Music Publishing); MINT_BMG, Abramus Digital, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, CMRRA, UMPG Publishing, LatinAutorPerf, and 2 Music Rights Societies

 

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