Jim Croce – Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)

This is one of the first songs I remember hearing. I’ve always liked the song and it remains my favorite of Jim Croce. It peaked at #17 in the Billboard 100 and #11 in Canada. Jim’s songs were about everyday people. Jim and Maury Muehleisen guitars blended perfectly with each other.

Jim Croce quote about Operator

“I got the idea for writing “Operator” by standing outside of 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 theirÔDear John’ letter was true, and with their raincoat over their heads covering the telephone and everything, and it really 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 something like the telephone and talking to a long-distance operator-this kinda registered. And when I got out of theArmy 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 really 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. I started ÔOperator’ on the way back, one afternoon, just singin’ into a cassette machine. But it’s-it’s one of those songs that kinda comes out of experiences that you watch for a long time, just to see if they’re really valid. I kinda like to write songs about things that a lot of people have experience with because it really makes the songs communicate.”

 

Operator

Operator, well could you help me place this call?
See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded
She’s living in L.A. with my best old ex-friend Ray
A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

Isn’t that the way they say it goes? Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine and to show
I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels

Operator, well could you help me place this call?
Well, I can’t read the number that you just gave me
There’s something in my eyes, you know it happens every time
I think about a love that I thought would save me

Isn’t that the way they say it goes? Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine and to show
I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels
No, no, no, no that’s not the way it feels

Operator, well let’s forget about this call
There’s no one there I really wanted to talk to
Thank you for your time, ah, you’ve been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime

Isn’t that the way they say it goes? Well, let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine and to show
I’ve overcome the blow, I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real, but that’s not the way it feels