Morning Song – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
In September 1972 Jim Croce had a #8 hit with “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, the kind of story-song you hear in bars—and that gets better with every retelling—about a high-flying big, bad man who gets his comeuppance when a younger, hungrier, faster gunslinger comes to town.
1973’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” isn’t exactly the same song. It’s set in Chicago, not New York. The preferred game of chance is dice, not pool. And it has a boogie-woogie piano to set the tone instead of a percussively strummed guitar. But other that that, it’s pretty much the same story.
“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” hit #1 on the Billboard charts in July 1973. It’s not plagiarism if you steal from yourself.