Jimmy Buffett

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Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett 1.jpg
Jimmy Buffett performing, January 2008
Background information
Birth name James William Buffett
Born (1946-12-25) December 25, 1946 (age 71)
Pascagoula, Mississippi
Origin Mobile, Alabama, United States
Genres Gulf and Western, country, country pop, folk, rock
Occupation(s) singer-songwriter, businessman, film producer, actor, author
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1956–present
Labels Barnaby, Dunhill, MCA, Margaritaville Records, Island, PolyGram, Mailboat, RCA
Associated acts The Margaritas, Alan Jackson, Glenn Frey, Eagles, Zac Brown Band
Website Official website

Jimmy Buffett aboard USS Harry S Truman, January 2008

James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is an American singer–songwriter, author, actor, and businessman. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle, and the often humorous things he has experienced throughout his life. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett has recorded hit songs including "Margaritaville" (ranked 234th on the Recording Industry Association of America's list of "Songs of the Century") and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads".

Aside from his career in music, Buffett is also a best-selling writer and is involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs, "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Margaritaville". He owns the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain and co-developed the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain.

Personal life

Buffett was born on Christmas Day, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and spent part of his childhood in Mobile, Alabama. He is the son of Mary Lorraine (née Peets) and James Delaney Buffett, Jr.[1][2][3] In grade school years, he attended St. Ignatius School, where he played the trombone in the school band. Buffet's grandfather was a sailor, therefore he was exposed to sailing as a child which had an early effect on his life and later in his music. He later lived in Fairhope, Alabama. He graduated from McGill Institute for Boys in 1964. He began playing guitar during his freshman year at Auburn University before continuing his college years at Pearl River Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he received a bachelor's degree in history in 1969. He was initiated into the fraternity Kappa Sigma at the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduating from college, Buffett worked as a correspondent for Billboard magazine in Nashville, breaking the news of the separation of Flatt and Scruggs.

Buffett married Margie Washichek in 1969; they divorced in 1972. Buffett and his second wife, Jane (née Slagsvol) have two daughters, Savannah Jane and Sarah Delaney, and an adopted son, Cameron Marley, and reside in Sag Harbor, New York. They separated in the early 1980s but reconciled in 1991. Buffett also owns a home in St Barts, a Caribbean island where he lived on and off in the early 1980s while he was part-owner of the Autour de Rocher hotel and restaurant. He spends part of the summer traveling about the East Coast on his sailboat. An avid pilot, Buffett owns a Dassault Falcon 900 that he often uses while on concert tour and traveling worldwide. He has also owned a Boeing Stearman, Lake Amphibian and Grumman Albatross.[4]

His father died May 1, 2003 at the age of 83. His mother died a few months after her husband, on September 25, 2003.

In 2015, Jimmy Buffett spoke at the University of Miami's graduation ceremony and received an honorary doctorate in music degree. Wearing flip flops and aviator sunglasses he told graduates, "It's time to see the world, time to kiss a girl, and time to cross that wide meridian." (A quote from his song "The Pascagoula Run")[citation needed]


Music career

Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee, during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the folk rock Down to Earth, in 1970. During this time, Buffett could be frequently found busking for tourists in New Orleans. Country music singer Jerry Jeff Walker took him to Key West on a busking expedition in November, 1971.[5] Buffett then moved to Key West and began establishing the easy-going beach-bum persona for which he is known. He started out playing for drinks at the Chart Room Bar in the Pier House Motel.[6] Following this move, Buffett combined country, folk, rock, and pop music with coastal as well as tropical lyrical themes for a sound sometimes called "gulf and western". Today, he is a regular visitor to the Caribbean island of Saint Barts and other islands where he gets inspiration for many of his songs and some of the characters in his books.

Buffett's third album was the 1973 A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. Albums Living & Dying in 3/4 Time and A1A both followed in 1974, Havana Daydreamin' appeared in 1976, and Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, followed in 1977 and featured the breakthrough hit song "Margaritaville".

With the untimely death of friend and mentor Jim Croce in September 1973, ABC Dunhill tapped Buffett to fill his space. Earlier, Buffett had visited Croce's farm in Pennsylvania and met with Croce in Florida.[7][8]

During the 1980s, Buffett made far more money from his tours than his albums and became known as a popular concert draw. He released a series of albums during the following twenty years, primarily to his devoted audience, and also branched into writing and merchandising. In 1985, Buffett opened a "Margaritaville" retail store in Key West, and in 1987, he opened the Margaritaville Cafe. During the 1980s, Buffett played at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He briefly changed the name of the band from the "Coral Reefer Band" to the "Coral Reef Band" to honor the HLS&R's request; they thought "Reefers" was a drug-related reference. HLS&R is a charity event that provides student grants to children and young adults who compete in agriculture contests (FFA).

Two of the more out-of-character albums are Christmas Island, a collection of Christmas songs, and Parakeets, a collection of Buffett songs sung by children and containing "cleaned-up" lyrics (like "a cold root beer" instead of "a cold draft beer").

In 1997, Buffett collaborated with novelist Herman Wouk to create a short-lived musical based on Wouk's novel, Don't Stop the Carnival. Broadway showed little interest in the play, (following the failure of Paul Simon's The Capeman), and it ran only for six weeks in Miami. He released an album of songs from the musical in 1998.

In August 2000, Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band played on the White House lawn for then President Bill Clinton.

In 2003, he partnered in a partial duet with Alan Jackson for the song "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere", a number-one hit on the country charts. This song won the 2003 Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year.[9] This was Buffett’s first award of any kind in his 30-year career.

Buffett's album, License to Chill, released on July 13, 2004, sold 238,600 copies in its first week of release according to Nielsen SoundScan. With this, Buffett topped the U.S. pop albums chart for the first time in his three-decade career.

Buffett continues to tour throughout the year although he has shifted recently to a more relaxed schedule of around 20–30 dates, with infrequent back-to-back nights, preferring to play only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The title of his 1999 live album reflects this: Buffett Live: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Purchasing tickets is difficult, with most of his concerts selling out in minutes.

In the summer of 2005 Buffett teamed up with Sirius radio and introduced Radio Margaritaville, and as of November 2008 is also on XM radio channel 24.[10] Until this point Radio Margaritaville was solely an online channel. The channel broadcasts from the Margaritaville restaurant at Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida.

In August 2006, he released the album Take The Weather With You. The song "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" on this album refers to 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Also on the album he pays tribute to Merle Haggard with his rendition of "Silver Wings" and covers, with Mark Knopfler playing on the track, "Whoop De Doo." On August 30, 2007, he received his star on the Mohegan Sun Walk of Fame.[11][12]

On 8 December 2009, Jimmy Buffett released his 28th studio album entitled Buffet Hotel.

On 20 April 2010, a double CD of performances recorded during the 2008 and 2009 tours called Encores was released exclusively at Walmart, Walmart.com and Margaritaville.com.

Buffett partnered in a duet with the Zac Brown Band on the song "Knee Deep": released on Brown's 2010 album You Get What You Give, it became a hit country and pop single in 2011. Also in 2011, Buffett voiced Huckleberry Finn on Mark Twain: Words & Music, which was released on Mailboat Records. The project is a benefit for the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and includes Clint Eastwood as Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor as the narrator and songs by Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, and others.

Of the over 30 albums Jimmy Buffett has released, as of October 2007, 8 are Gold Albums and 9 Platinum or Multi Platinum.[13] In 2003 Buffett won his first ever Country Music Award (CMA) for his song "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere" with Alan Jackson, and was nominated again in 2007 for the CMA Event of the Year Award for his song "Hey Good Lookin" which featured Alan Jackson and George Strait.

Buffett released his latest album, Songs From St. Somewhere on August 20, 2013.

Musical style

Jimmy began calling his music "drunken caribbean rock 'n' roll" as he says on his 1978 live album You Had To Be There. Later, Buffett himself and others have used the term "gulf and western" to describe his musical style and that of other similar sounding performers.[14][15][16][17][18] The name derives from elements in Buffett's early music including musical influence from country and western, along with folk music and lyrical themes from the Gulf of Mexico coast. A music critic described Buffett's music as a combination of "tropical languor with country funkiness into what some [have] called the Key West sound, or Gulf-and-western."[19] The term is a play on the form of "Country & Western" and the name of the former conglomerate Gulf+Western.

Other performers identified as gulf and western are often deliberately derivative of Buffett's musical style and some are tribute bands or, in the case of Greg "Fingers" Taylor, a former member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band.[20] They can be heard on Buffett's online Radio Margaritaville and on the compilation album series Thongs in the Key of Life. Gulf and western performers include Jim Bowley,[21] Kenny Chesney,[22] and Jim Morris.[20][23][24]


Buffett has written three No. 1 best sellers. Tales from Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant?; both spent over seven months on The New York Times Best Seller fiction list. His book A Pirate Looks At Fifty, published in 1998, went straight to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller non-fiction list, making him one of eight authors in that list's history to have reached number one on both the fiction and non-fiction lists.[25] The seven other authors who have accomplished this are Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, William Styron, Irving Wallace, Dr. Seuss, Mitch Albom and Glenn Beck.

Buffett also co-wrote two children's books, The Jolly Mon and Trouble Dolls, with his eldest daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett. The original hard cover release of The Jolly Mon included a cassette tape recording of him and Savannah Jane reading the story accompanied by an original score written by Michael Utley.

Buffett's novel A Salty Piece of Land, was released on November 30, 2004, and the first edition of the book included a CD single of the song "A Salty Piece Of Land", which was recorded for License to Chill. The book was a New York Times best seller soon after its release.

Buffett's latest title, Swine Not?, was released on May 13, 2008.

Jimmy Buffett quotation on Himank/BRO signboard in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh, Northern India

Buffett is one of several popular "philosophers" whose quotations appear on the road signs of Project HIMANK in the Ladakh region of Northern India.

Film and television

Buffett wrote the soundtrack for, and co-produced and played a role in, the 2006 film Hoot, directed by Wil Shriner and based on the book by Carl Hiaasen, which focused on issues important to Buffett, such as conservation. The film was not a critical or commercial success. Among his other film music credits are the theme song to the short-lived 1993 CBS television series Johnny Bago; "Turning Around" for the 1985 film Summer Rental starring John Candy; "I Don't Know (Spicoli's Theme)" for the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High; "Hello, Texas" for the 1980 John Travolta film Urban Cowboy; and "If I Have To Eat Someone (It Might As Well Be You)" for the animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest, which was sung in the film by rap artist Tone Loc.

In addition, Buffett has made several cameo appearances, including in Repo Man, Hook, Cobb, Hoot, Congo, and From the Earth to the Moon. He also made cameo appearances as himself in Rancho Deluxe (for which he also wrote the music) and in FM.[26] He made a Guest appearance in the season two of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS in 2011. Buffett reportedly was offered a cameo role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, but declined the offer.[27] In 1997, Buffett collaborated with novelist Herman Wouk on a musical production based on Wouk's 1965 novel Don't Stop the Carnival. In the South Park episode "Tonsil Trouble", an animated version of Buffett (but not voiced by Buffett) was seen singing "AIDSburger in Paradise" and "CureBurger in Paradise". Jimmy has also appeared on the Sesame Street special, Elmopalooza, singing "Caribbean Amphibian" with the popular Muppet, Kermit the Frog. Buffett appeared in an episode of Hawaii Five-0 in November 2011. He played a helicopter pilot named Frank Bama, a character out of his novel, "Where is Joe Merchant". Another character mentioned that he preferred "margaritas"; Buffett's character replied, "Can't argue with you there."

Most recently, Buffett made a cameo in the 2015 film Jurassic World, where he is seen holding two margaritas while the dinosaurs are set loose in the park.

Business ventures

Buffett has taken advantage of his name and the fan following for his music to launch several business ventures, usually with a tropical theme. He owns or licenses the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chains. As a baseball fan, he was part-owner of two minor league teams: the Fort Myers Miracle and the Madison Black Wolf. Between his restaurants, album sales, and tours, he earns an estimated US$100 million a year.[citation needed] He opened the Margaritaville store in Key West, Florida, in 1985.

In 1993, he launched Margaritaville Records, with distribution through MCA Records. His MCA record deal ended with the release of 1996's Christmas Island and he took Margaritaville Records over to Chris Blackwell's Island Records for a two record deal, 1998's Don't Stop The Carnival and 1999's Beach House On The Moon. In the fall of 1999, he started up Mailboat Records to release live albums. He entered into a partnership with RCA Records for distribution in 2005 and 2006 for the two studio albums License To Chill and Take The Weather With You.

In 2006, Buffett launched a cooperative project with the Anheuser-Busch brewing company to produce beer under the Margaritaville Brewing label called Land Shark Lager.[28]

Another Margaritaville Casino opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey in May 2013. Buffett has also licensed Margaritaville Tequila, Margaritaville Footwear and a Margaritaville Foods including Chips, Salsa, Guacamole, Shrimp, Chicken and more.

From May 8, 2009, through January 5, 2010, Sun Life Stadium (formerly Dolphin Stadium) in Miami, the home of the Miami Dolphins, was named Landshark Stadium pursuant to an eight-month naming rights deal.[29][30] Buffett also wrote new lyrics for the team to his 1979 song "Fins", which is played during Dolphins home games.[31] Despite Buffett's partnership with the Dolphins, Buffett is a diehard New Orleans Saints fan, having attended the team's first game at Tulane Stadium in 1967 and later had Saints head coach Sean Payton served as an honorary member of the Coral Reefer Band at a concert in New Orleans on April 1, 2012, in protest of Payton's suspension by the NFL as a result of the Saints' bounty scandal.[32]

In May 2011, Buffett announced that he had entered into a partnership with game makers THQ to make a Margaritaville game for Facebook and iOS devices. The game opened in closed beta to what's being referred to as the Buffett Beta Club. The game, which requires users to download Unity Engine for use on the Facebook API, is expected to release on Facebook in December 2011 and to iOS devices by the end of January 2012.[33] While on stage in August 2012 at a concert in Cincinnati Buffett announced that a new Margaritaville cafe would be one of the new tenants at the Cincinnati Horseshoe casino opening in Spring 2013.

Charity work

Buffett has been involved in many charity efforts. In 1981 the Save the Manatee Club was founded by Buffett and former Florida governor Bob Graham.[34] It is the world's leading manatee protection organization.[35] West Indian Manatee In 1989, legislation was passed in Florida that introduced the "Save the Manatee" license plate, and earmarked funding for the Save the Manatee Club. One of the two manatees trained to interact with researchers at Mote Marine Laboratory is named Buffett after the singer. Buffett is also a longtime supporter of and major donor to the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratories.

The Singing for Change foundation was initially funded by proceeds from Buffett's 1995 concert tour, and provides grants to local charities in three main areas: children and family causes, environmental causes, and causes for disenfranchised groups.[36][37]

On November 23, 2004, Buffett raised funds with his "Surviving the Storm" Hurricane Relief Concert in Orlando, Florida to provide relief for hurricane victims in Florida, Alabama and the Caribbean affected by the four major hurricanes that year.[38]

Buffett performed in Hong Kong on January 18, 2008 for a concert that raised US$63,000 for the Foreign Correspondents' Club Charity Fund. This was his first concert in Hong Kong.[39]

On July 11, 2010, Buffett, a Gulf Coast native, put on a free concert on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The concert was Buffett's response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The concert was aired on CMT television. The 35,000 free tickets were given away within minutes to help draw people back to Alabama's beaches. The concert featured Jesse Winchester and Allen Toussaint.


Buffett's song "God's Own Drunk" on the album Living and Dying in 3/4 Time was at the center of a lawsuit in 1983 initiated by the son of the late entertainer Lord Buckley who sued Buffett for $11 million for copyright infringement claiming that Buffett took parts of the monologue from Buckley's A Tribute to Buckley and claimed it as his own work in "God's Own Drunk". The suit also alleged that Buffett's "blasphemous" rendition presented to the public a distorted impression of Lord Buckley.[40] A court injunction against Buffett prevented him from performing the song until the lawsuit was settled or resolved.

List of tours

  • 1996: Banana Wind Tour
  • 1997: Havana Daydreamin' Tour
  • 1998: Don't Stop The Carnival Tour
  • 1999: Beach House On The Moon Tour
  • 2000: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays Tour
  • 2001: A Beach Odyssey Tour
  • 2002: Far Side of the World Tour
  • 2003: Tiki Time Tour
  • 2004: License To Chill Tour
  • 2005: A Salty Piece Of Land Tour
  • 2006: Party At The End Of The World Tour
  • 2007: Bama Breeze Tour
  • 2008: Year of Still Here Tour
  • 2009: Summerzcool Tour
  • 2010: Under The Big Top Tour
  • 2011: Welcome to Fin Land Tour
  • 2012-13: Lounging at the Lagoon Tour
  • 2013-14: Songs from St. Somewhere Tour
  • 2014: This One's For You Tour
  • 2015: Workin' n' Playin' Tour
  • 2016: I Don't Know Tour


See also


  1. Eng, S.: Jimmy Buffett: The Man from Georgia Revealed, page 39. St. Martin's Press, 1996.
  2. "James Delaney Buffett, Jr. "J.D."". Billingsgazette.com. 2003-05-02. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  3. "Mary Loraine "Peets" Buffett (1921–2003) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  4. "A Plane-Crazy America". AOPA Pilot: 79. May 2014. 
  5. Corcoran, Tom (2006). Jimmy Buffett The Key West Years. Marathon FL: Ketch & Yawl Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-9788949-0-0. 
  6. "Jimmy In Key West - The Chart Room Bar". margaritavillekeywest.com. Retrieved 19 Nov 2015. 
  7. Steve Eng. The Man from Margaritaville Revealed. Page 144.
  8. Mark Humphrey. Jimmy Buffett Scrap Book. Page 120.
  9. "History | CMA AwardsCMA Awards". Cmaawards.com. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  10. "Channel Lineup - SiriusXM Radio". Siriusxm.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  11. http://www.margaritaville.com/jimmybuffett_about.html
  12. http://mohegansun.com/signature-events/mohegan-sun-s-walk-of-fame.html
  13. "RIAA Gold and Platinum Albums database". Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  14. Alanna Nash. "Margaritaville Madness." Entertainment Weekly. 13 July 1990. Retrieved 25 July 2009. "Buffett, 43, who crafts a sunny variant of calypso, salsa, country, and Memphis soul described as 'yacht rock' or 'gulf and western'..."
  15. "Jimmy Buffett" at the Mississippi Writers Page. 5 August 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009. "...he began to mix country, folk, and pop music styles with tropical and coastal lyrical themes to create a musical sound sometimes called 'gulf and western.'"
  16. Lori Hoffman. "Booming Buffettville." Atlantic City Weekly. 21 August 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2009. "[Buffett's] music is described as having a 'gulf and western' sound."
  17. Mark Humphrey with Harris Lewine. The Jimmy Buffett Scrap Book. Citadel Press, 2000. p. 68. ISBN 978-0806520995. "[ Jerry Jeff Walker said] 'I am responsible for all that island junk he does so well -- that golf-Gulf-and-Western thing.'"
  18. Music Achievers: Jimmy Buffett at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 July 2009. "Refers to his style of music as 'Gulf and Western.'"
  19. *Harrington, Richard. "Jimmy Buffett: Oh, the Stories He Can Tell." Washington Post 17 December 1989, G1. Cited in Dawn S. Bowen. "Lookin' for Margaritaville: Place and Imagination in Jimmy Buffett's Songs." Journal of Cultural Geography. Spring/Summer 1997. Vol. 16, Issue 2. p. 99. Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Music samples". Archived from the original on 2001-03-03. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  21. Jim Bowley news[dead link]
  22. Kim Lyons. "Big big country." Trib p.m.. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2009. "Jimmy Buffett might have popularized the laid-back tropical 'gulf and western' sound, but Kenny Chesney has put his own toes in the sand, riding those ocean breezes to a million-dollar payday."
  23. "J. Micheal Laferty | Vagabond Moon | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  24. "Jim Morris | Laid Back And Key Wasted | CD Baby Music Store". Cdbaby.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  25. Anthony Decurtis (1999-02-21). "MUSIC; Jimmy Buffett, Traveling Salesman of Leisure - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  26. "Jimmy Buffett". IMDb.com. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  27. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl". IMDb.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  28. "OMB No. 1513-0020". Ttbonline.gov. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  29. Dolphin Stadium's New Name[dead link]
  30. "Sun Life Stadium :: History". Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  31. "Fins For The Fish Song". Archived from the original on 2009-11-24. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  32. Chase, Chris (2011-04-20). "Sean Payton played bongos for Jimmy Buffett | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  33. Shaul, Brandy (2011-11-10). "MargaritaVille Online: Jump into a life of tropical relaxation on Facebook". Blog.games.com. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  34. "Save the Manatee Club". Savethemanatee.org. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  35. "Navigate with Care Manatees are There". Newsblaze.com. 2007-05-29. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  36. "Singing For Change Foundation: Jimmy Buffet [sic] Helps the Community". Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  37. "Jimmy Buffett's MARGARITAVILLE.com -- Online State of Mind". Archived from the original on 2006-03-26. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  38. "Jimmy Buffett: Surviving the Storm - Hurricane Benefit". Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  39. "Jimmy Buffett Hong Kong concert organizers apologize to Buffett fans". Thomas Crampton. 2008-01-31. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  40. "Jimmy Buffett Sued Over Song" Miami Herald 30 August 1983: 1A.

External links