Goodbye Margaritaville

Well, shit fuck damn. Jimmy Buffett has up and died. One of the better performers ever. Saw several times, but the most memorable was at Red Rocks. which was twice, because the first one was killed by a storm.

Also once saw Jimmy play a whole show from a chair on the end of the stage because he had a bad leg, but was determined to go on. The enthusiasm was real. On a Livingston Saturday Night. Ten will get you twenty, and that’s alright.


175 replies
  1. Alzero53 says:

    Amazing! We agree on something and have common ground in Jimmy Buffet! I first heard him on KSAN in San Francisco when White Sportcoat came out and they put Come Monday into their rotation.
    I think Railroad Lady is one the best story songs ever written and I’m amazed it was never covered by anyone else. The obits say Latitudes/Attitudes was his breakthrough, but what about A1A? That was the Album of the Summer when it was released in my part of the country.

    • HWeinberg3 says:

      I always thought of Railroad Lady as a Jerry Jeff Walker song and looking for youtube videos of JJW & Jimmy Buffett I didn’t think twice when they were doing Railroad Lady. Anyway, turns out Willie Nelson wrote it.

      • Ian_29SEP2018_1309h says:

        No, Buffett and Jerry Jeff wrote it

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. You’ve also had other usernames here, including “Ray Ray” and “Ray Buzz,” neither of which meet the 8-letter minimum standard. PLEASE FIX THIS BECAUSE YOU’RE EASILY CONFUSED WITH OTHER IANS. Thanks. /~Rayne]

      • Ralph H white says:

        Jerry Jeff says on the intro to “Railroad Lady” on his album that he and Buffet wrote it traveling on the train from New Orleans to Memphis. Just saying. Jerry Jeff was a good friend of mine. He and Buffet lived together in Key West in the late sixties. JJ told me Buffet was a good friend and a good guy. Two guys who sang my life and now both are gone.
        The cover photo on my Facebook page is of me and my good friend Ron Kimble, an Atlanta music legend, playing on the main stage at the world famous Flora/Bama lounge in Perdido Key. I’m playing harmonica and Ron is singing Buffet’s classic “A Pirate Looks at Forty”. One of my favorite memories.

    • J R in WV says:

      I was in Key West from 1970 through 1973, when it was still a little shrimper town, and Jerry Jeff and Jimmy Buffet were literally singing for drinks and tips.

      Back then the Navy owned the harbor, so there were no moorings for the cruise lines, and Key West was literally a Cubano shrimper village…

      When Wife and I went back , we learned you can’t go home again. R I P Mr Buffett…

  2. Alzero53 says:

    To expand on my previous remarks, Jimmy had the potential in my view to become one of the great songwriters of his generation before his head was turned by the whole Cheeseburger in Paradise thing. The whole turn towards the commercial success of the Parrrothead phenomenon was the victory of his celebrated business sense over his artistic sense. Songs from his first two records still have the capacity to touch us: can you listen to Livingston’s Gone to Texas and not feel a tug on the heartstrings? Even Come Monday his first commercial hit was a song of depth and emotion, telling the story of a lonely man on tour who is missing his home and his love.
    He will be missed by many…….

    • 3balls2strikes says:

      I agree. Margaritaville was the best thing that happened for him, and (from an artistic standpoint) maybe the worst- he became (quite consciously) a caricature of himself, making himself very, very rich while remaining- by all accounts- a good person.
      Along with the two songs you mentioned, Havana Daydreamin’ and He Went To Paris are two particularly fine pre-Margaritaville songs.

      • Peterr says:

        He’s had plenty of post-Margaritaville songs that have flown under the top 40 radar, but reflect the kind of powerful songwriting you both are talking about. For instance, “Bubbles Up” is one of his last songs, and it is as emotionally powerful as the songs mentioned here.

  3. jdalessandro says:

    He made a billion dollars and made millions happy. Unlike so many billionaires we might mention. How great was that?

  4. Tetman Callis says:

    When I was a teenager, living on Colorado’s Western Slope, driving a VW Bug with a broken radio, I used to sing the songs from Buffett’s “Living & Dying in 3/4 Time” as I drove around. I knew them all, except the one about the drunken bear.

  5. Zirczirc says:

    And now I must confess, I could use some rest
    I can’t run at this pace very long
    Yes, it’s quite insane, I think it hurts my brain
    But it cleans me out and then I can go on

  6. Peterr says:

    Saw him at an amphitheater in St. Louis in the early 90s . . . great great show. When he sang his new stuff, he had the crowd in his hand, quiet for the soft parts and laughing at the funny parts; when he sang his old stuff it was like he had a choir of thousands as his backup singers.

    • Peterr says:

      From the end of his NYT obit:

      In a 1979 interview with Rolling Stone, Mr. Buffett was asked about a previous remark in which he somewhat incongruously cited the wholesome choral director Mitch Miller and the marauding Gulf Coast pirate Jean Lafitte as two of his greatest inspirations.

      “Mitch Miller, for sure,” Mr. Buffett said, doubtless in acknowledgment of the way his own fans sang along with him at concerts. “In the old days: “Sing Along with Mitch?” Who didn’t?”

      “But Jean Lafitte was my hero as a romantic character,” he continued. “I’m not sure he was a musical influence. His lifestyle influenced me, most definitely, ’cause I’m the very opposite of Mitch Miller.”

      (Gotta say that the tone of his obit in the NYT is a bit strange, as their usual formality (“Mr. Buffett”) was at odds with the subject of the story.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Always true to form, and its own priorities, is the NYT. Buffett became a well-to-do outsider, and the Times caters to insiders.

      • Harry Eagar says:

        Stylebooks rule. The Wall Stret Journal did a front page piece on Meat Loaf and referred to him on second reference as Mr. Loaf

  7. dar 5678 says:

    Jimmy Buffett was without peer. There were zero other entries in his genre (musical or sociological), he inhabited it completely, and at least from a distance, appeared to be living exactly the ideal life of the public character embodied by his person.

    Can’t help but respect that, regardless of how you feel about the music.

  8. Troutwaxer says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of his music, but I really enjoyed his autobiography and read it 3-4 times. I suspect that if I had boatloads of money I’d live my life a lot like he lived his, (except that I’m not particularly musical.)

  9. Bobster33 says:

    I spent a couple of weeks at a health spa eating sprouts, raw vegetables and sipping wheatgrass. After the first week, I heard Jimmy’s song Cheeseburger in Paradise and realized that he wrote the song after going to one of these places himself. I like mine with lettuce and tomato . . . .

  10. Bobby Gladd says:

    I got puked on at a Jimmy Buffett concert one time.

    He came to the MGM Grand back when we lived in Las Vegas. Those “parrotheads.” I swear, the average BAC in Vegas that week had to have started with an integer. He would ride around Las Vegas on a bicycle with a video camera, and then play some of the stuff on a big screen overhead during a break in the show. He said “you people are my entertainment.”

    This plastered chick in a row up behind us was frantically trying to get out into the aisle mid-set. She didn’t make it. We got hurled on.


  11. Rayne says:

    You beat me to it, bmaz, have been mentally drafting a post since I read first thing this morning Jimmy had died. I’d been worried he was flirting with the Great Beyond because of his poor health this year and a recently cancelled concert.

    My spouse is and has been a Parrothead since the late 1980s. I’ve been to a number of Buffett’s concerts, done my share of pre- and post-concert partying, visited his Margaritaville bar in NOLA back in the early 1990s. I’ve got the Hawaiian shirts in my closet and the concert t-shirts.

    Both of my kids were raised on Buffett tunes. They’re not big fans but Buffett was the background soundtrack to their childhood years. First message I received this morning was from my oldest who asked me to hug their dad because Buffett had passed.

    I found it rather surprising because the same child got a dose of unwanted Buffett at the worst possible time from my spouse. Immediately following the breakup of a high school romance, while still deep in the snot-snobby teary zone, my spouse spent a few quiet minutes with them commiserating with them over their heartbreak. Spouse reached deep into his store of philosophy and told them, “Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free.

    Fucking Buffett. Of all times, the man whipped out Buffett.

    At the time my eldest was rather angry about this useless pop culture reference. But for years now we’ve laughed about it and the general ineptitude their excessively-analytical humanities-incapable engineer father has when it comes to love.

    I’m not a Parrothead. Buffet’s tunes filled a party-shaped niche. I know my spouse’s taste in music is fairly narrow but he’s acknowledged he’s not gifted in the arts.

    I do have a favorite Buffett tune, though, and if memory serves it was Buffett’s favorite as well. I think this one is the one he’d have sung on the way over the rainbow.

    Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic
    But I’ve had a good life all the way.

    Lifting a beer to you today, Jimmy, with a tequila chaser.

    • bmaz says:

      I woke up in the middle of the night, and only had enough energy for a couple of paragraphs. But Buffett really was that fun. Will be sorely missed.

      And Son Of A Son is a great song.

    • Peterr says:

      Most of Buffett’s hits are definitely fit the party-shaped niche, but he’s got a lot of quiet reflective ballads that are at least as good. (Your favorite and “Come Monday” are a couple of examples.) His catalog is stunning in its breadth, and the Sirius XM “Radio Margaritaville” station has been playing nothing but those quiet ballads since the news broke.

      Just getting ready to put a brisket on to smoke for a good Labor Day Weekend feast tonight, and we’ll be raising a few glasses to Jimmy ourselves.

  12. biff murphy says:

    Saw Jimmy in Mansfield Ma. a few times.
    People would truck in sand and make beaches for volleyball games, some turned their pickups into little pools, and still others set up grass bars with the whole works and started making margarita’s. A good time was had by all.

    Jimmy always brought the party, RIP Jimmy.

  13. Overshire says:

    Saw him multiple times in Florida in the 80s, and they were all good shows. My fondest memory, though, is the pop-up show in W Palm Beach.
    Seems Jimmy had found a boat he liked and signed a contract to buy it, but then his accountant told him he didn’t have that much cash available, it was all tied up for a couple months. So he scrambled a bit, and told his agent to book him a show somewhere, and fast.

    West Palm’s Municipal Auditorium was available one night the next week, word of mouth sold plenty of seats, and Jimmy showed up alone, to a bare stage set with nothing but a stool, a guitar, and a microphone, with no set list or plan. He sat on the stool, explained the situation, and thanked us all for letting him buy a new boat. Then he spent three hours taking requests, telling stories, singing songs he’d forgotten, letting the audience take over vocals when his memory slipped, and generally having a great time. It was a wonderful, intimate evening, a very welcome change from the raucous, drunken spectacle of the more typical Parrotheads/Coral Reefer shows, and a night I’ll always remember for letting us meet the man behind the hype.
    RIP, Jimmy.

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    “Headin’ out to San Francisco
    For the Labor Day weekend show
    I got my Hush Puppies on
    I guess I never was meant for glitter rock ‘n’ roll”

    Just added tequila to the shopping list, a commemorative margarita will be raised today.

  15. David F. Snyder says:

    In his book A Pirate Looks at 40 he said that Margaritaville is Austin. He awoke from a gig here with a hangover and walked down to a Tex-Mex food café (Gueros North, locals say), and tried his first Margarita. Said it was the drink of the Gods, and wrote the song a little later. Rest in peace, Jimmy.

    • Fly by Night says:

      Saw an interview where he said he wrote that while sitting at the gate in the Austin airport waiting for his flight.

  16. hollywood says:

    Saw him in the 70s with Steve Goodman (RIP) at the Santa Monica Civic. Great show.
    Back then he was part of a group of renegades that included Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison and Elizabeth Ashley.

    • bmaz says:

      The first night I ever slept in Santa Monica, I wandered in to the Civic and saw Charlie Daniels Band. Fantastic.

      Was literally just wandering around down there.

      • hollywood says:

        The Civic is/was a great venue. Saw Elton John there, Traffic, Steve Miller, Springsteen (twice), Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Delaney & Bonnie with Dave Mason and Leon Russell, Jim Croce, the Kinks, the Clash, BeBop Deluxe and quite a few others.

    • Issaquah says:

      I too am thinking about the Steve Goodman connection. There is a great YouTube performance of Banana Republics that he introduces with ‘’ I wrote this after a busman’s holiday to St. Croix with Jimmy Buffett .” One can only imagine.

  17. gruntfuttock says:

    Jimmy Buffett had flown under my radar until today but I have followed the links above and have liked what I heard. What I really enjoyed, though, more than the music, was his eye for a nice turn of phrase. For example: ‘I made enough money to buy Miami but I pissed it away so fast.’.

    Heh :-)

  18. Chirrut Imwe says:

    True story – we decided to have margaritas last night out of the blue (not our usual adult beverage). Then woke this morning to the news…

    Best Red Rocks concert for me was the David Byrne American Utopia tour.

  19. soundgood2 says:

    A great and glorious good bye to one of the good ones who inspired his followers to join him in music and a general good time for all, may we continue to have more like him.

  20. Bruce Fuentes says:

    Never was a fan. Though he was fairly liberal, his music idealized a white-dominant, paternalistic, colonial view of the tropics.

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah, that. I’ve always hated his song Volcano for that reason — although treating the volcano as a metaphor for racism kind of works, it wasn’t what he was thinking about when he wrote it.

      I appreciated He Went to Paris the most of his oeuvre because it was about an old dude who’d fought fascists and his personal losses, not about colonialism.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Every expat occasionally needs a lighthearted taste of home. Buffett was one of mine. Thanks, Jimmy. He was very talented, eschewed the record industry for his own distribution, and worked like hell. He was very disciplined and had a good business sense. A busman’s holiday with him would have been just that.

  22. punaise says:

    Trump is all shook up:

    Wastin’ away again in Mar-Subpoenaville
    Searchin’ for my lost boxes of docs
    Docs, docs, docs
    Some people claim that there’s a lawyer to blame
    I agree with that
    And I know it’s all you lawyers’ fault

  23. bloopie2 says:

    Great musicians are really something. Some are awesome entertainers when they perform (Sinatra); others seem to grow cults around themselves (Buffett); still others write or perform everlasting music (Beethoven). I’m glad we have the capability these days (and will going forward) to revisit them at will; our systems for bringing those performances alive to us (Sirius, YouTube) are an absolute wonder in themselves.

    Excuse the maudlinity (?) of this comment; I am definitely old enough to remember when Jimmy hit it big, and perhaps that fact is giving me pause.

  24. DChom1234 says:

    Nice tribute by 11x World Surfing Champion and the greatest professional surfer of all time Kelly Slater:

    I grew up listening to @jimmybuffett with my family. His music basically outlined the lives we desired…fishing, diving, dreaming about being in the tropics, playing music, and just living the dream. I met Jimmy in France in 2010 about 8 years or so after my dad died and the first day I told him how much he reminded me of my own father and from that moment on he kind of became a surrogate to me, occasionally calling me from some far off land telling me he missed me and I had to come visit him wherever he was. He told me life was too short not to take every good opportunity that came along and go live it. I’m not sure I’ve met many people with as positive an attitude who were as welcoming and giving as Jimmy has been to me, just one of the many thousands of friends he’s had around this world. He laughed about making a living out of 3 chord songs and once told me, ‘Ya know, if Jack (@jackjohnson) would just let me do his marketing I could make him a looooot of money!’. Yesterday Jimmy passed on to the next life. And I’m having a tough time accepting that. But I do feel blessed to have had some really incredible memories every single time I hung out with him, whether it was him flying me to my brother’s bachelor party in Key West, joining us for a surf and a dinner in Hossegor, making me play a song with him at his restaurant, or giving me his guest house in Palm Beach for the night and taking me for a round of golf the next day. I really don’t want to believe such a fine man is gone but I’m thankful and lucky for the times we had. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, Jimmy, and I know you’d be smoking a joint with a drink in your hand and a huge smile on your face like any good pirate would. Thanks for being one of the good guys. It was a real dream to know you. 🥲

  25. P J Evans says:

    And somewhat OT: Bill Richardson has died. Governor of NM, Energy Secretary, UN Ambassador, congressman…

    • SMF88011 says:

      I didn’t see this until I posted it below. Richardson was a great person. The first time I met him was when he was Sec. of Energy and he visited LANL. After that, I saw him a few times and was quite friendly to me. He actually remembered meeting me at TA-3, SM-30 when I helped him login to a computer so he could check email.

  26. Lika2know says:

    Many fond memories of sailing to Jimmy’s music. He was a wonderful storyteller, with or without a melody.

  27. punaise says:

    Not sure how much crossover there is with the ParrotHead crowd, but things are getting gnarly at Burning Man:

    ‘Conserve food and water’: No access in or out of Burning Man after storm

    Burning Man conditions are bordering on disaster with over 70,000 people trapped and sheltering-in-place after rains turned the playa into an undrivable mud pit.

    As rough as it sounds, conditions could become even worse. AccuWeather is predicting an 84% chance of rain for Black Rock City on Saturday with a 24% chance of thunderstorms. Both rain and thunderstorms are even more likely on Sunday.

  28. ExRacerX says:

    Not a huge fan of his music, but Jimmy could really craft a line—it’s hard to beat, “I blew out my flip flop
    Stepped on a pop top
    I broke my leg twice, I had to limp on back home
    But there’s booze in the blender
    And soon it will render
    That frozen concoction that helps me hang on
    Hang on, hang on, hang on…

    jimmy was the quintessential Everyman poet/raconteur/free spirit.

  29. rosalind says:

    when he cancelled his tour in the spring i’d been bracing myself. his shows were some of my favorites to work every year. the Parrotheads were overall happy drunks with a great party scene, with just as relaxed and fun vibe backstage.

    ah, sanding and varnishing the sailboat drinking cheap beer with Jimmy on the boom box. heaven.

  30. SMF88011 says:

    We also lost Bill Richardson today. I remember meeting him at LANL when he was the Sec of Energy. Nice guy.

  31. Alan Charbonneau says:

    I saw Buffett at the Greek Theater and Universal Studios (I think). It was a great pair of shows. He was phenomenally talented, an author of best selling novels and he teamed up with Herman Wouk to produce “Don’t Stop The Carnival“, from Wouk’s 1965 novel.

    I had something like 10 or 11 of his albums (vinyl). I haven’t had stereo hearing since 2003 and rarely listen to music anymore, but I loved having Buffett in the background for most of the late 70’s through the 90’s. I will miss him for sure.

  32. GSSH-FullyReduced says:

    Nice bmaz&rayne. Thanks for this tributepost.
    While bareboat charter sailing in the BVIs, we beat to weather for Anegada specifically to see Cow Wreck Beach and drink up the Jimmy Buffett Libation Salvation nostalgia so many have enjoyed over the decades. And happy to continue supporting No Shoes Radio’s Kenny Chesney as he profits from Master Buffett’s successes and blazes his own musical rum-line around the globe.
    RIP Jimmy.

  33. Steve in Manhattan says:

    I didn’t particularly like the music, but I understand why many do. Many friends have taken me (sometimes willingly) to Parrothead gatherings. Sail on Jimmy.

  34. FrankM78 says:

    I saw him one time, at Fiddlers Green in Colorado. He did a great rendition of Vanilla Fudge “You keep me hangin on”, with the crowd singing along.

  35. Challenger says:

    In the summer of 78 Jimmy Buffet and his band played Paradise Bowl, on the top of Grouse Mountain, the local ski mountain to Vancouver B.C. Jimmy had recently broken his leg in a baseball game and was in a full leg cast, didn’t slow him at all. Amongst all his great songs was an incredible cover of Warren Zevon’s, Warewolves of London. This outdoor concert was amongst the best I have seen. I think tickets cost $10.and included the gondola ride up, or you could hike up and see him for free like we did. Remember those days.

  36. Estragon says:

    I am at phish in Denver tonight, I will report back on all tributes and covers. Scuttlebutt is that they will play gumbo. Condolences to all the fans out there.

  37. rattlemullet says:

    I saw him play at the Cellar Door in Georgetown, Washington DC in 1973. He put on a good show. Looking back I am glad I got to see him early in his career. RIP

  38. Regnad Kcin says:

    I was in college in Atlanta in 1974 when a few friends and I went to the Great Southeast Music Hall to see Billy Joel. When we walked up to the box office, we were told Joel had canceled at the last minute (throat infection) but that Jimmy Buffett, his opening act, would perform. We’d never heard of the guy but, as we were already there, figured what the hell, how bad could it be? Especially after a few buckets of beer (and yes, that’s how they sold it at the Great SE). We got seats on the front row, right under the stage, the audience numbering less than 50 or so. Buffett came out minutes later, just him and his guitar. When he saw the small crowd, he pulled his stool right to the front of the stage and proceeded to play pretty much everything he had written to that point, including all of White Coat and a Pink Crustacean, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, and A1A. He made sure everyone in that audience had as much fun as he seemed to be having, and by the end of the night he had 50 new best friends. Creative Loafing magazine later called that “the concert 50 people saw, and 5000 claimed to have seen.” Amazing!

  39. ChicagoDD says:

    Had one hell of a great hang one eve way back at the Full Moon Saloon, a (the?) Key West joint he (and Hunter Thompson) was known to frequent….. Wonderful place; it gave you a direct sense of how chill and relaxed a guy he was if that was the vibe he went for, beyond unassuming, mellow .

    • 90’s Country says:

      Jimmy Buffet had already left Nashville when I arrived so I never met him…but I was there for his induction in Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Mike Reid was inducted the same night. Mike was All American football player at Penn State, all pro at Cincinnati. The way these nights work is somebody famous presents a pared down version of inductee’s biggest song. When I was inducted LeeAnn Womack did acoustic version of I Hope You Dance. So Trisha Yearwood did a stunning version of Mike’s I Can’t Make You Love Me. So good. To die for. When Buffet’s time came Big and Rich sang a medley of his hits. Buffet’s acceptance speech starts out “So everybody else gets great renditions of their hits and I get these bozos?”
      I’ve had a rough day. He was only 75. I bought 1A1 in Southern California when I was 28 or 29. Thursday is birthday #73. Wish I’d been as close to him as Kelly Slater. Wish I’d been able to surf like Kelly in my 20’s. If wishes were horses…

      • Peterr says:

        Your “he was only 75” line really hits home. I’m not there yet, but still. It’s one thing to say farewell to Tony Bennett, as he felt like an older generation. But Jimmy . . . damn. He certainly didn’t feel like he was 75.

        And happy birthday to you, in advance of the big day.

      • Ralph H white says:

        Check out Jerry Jeff’s version of Reid’s tune “Eastern Avenue River Railway Blues”. Reid’s best imo.

  40. Peterr says:

    Poured myself a glass of a festive adult beverage about an hour ago (5pm Central Time), in Jimmy’s honor.

    • rosalind says:

      weather improved, ran next door for a couple of “Jimmy Buffett Memorial Margaritas”, watching the sailboats out on the water. fair winds, JB.

  41. Peterr says:

    Jon Pareles has been the NYT’s chief pop music critic since 1988, and his look at what made Jimmy’s music stand out ends with this:

    The backdrop to Buffett’s party tunes is often one of relief, not entitlement. He sings about mistakes, regrets, work, longing, nostalgia and, beginning decades ago, the inevitability of aging: “I can see the day when my hair’s full gray/And I finally disappear,” he sang on his 1983 song “One Particular Harbour,” a staple of his live sets.

    So the drinks and parties and vacations and boat trips, or finally being able to settle down in that place by the beach, became consolations for past troubles — even if those troubles were self-made. Buffett helped listeners feel like they’d earned the good times just by holding on long enough to enjoy them. The party was justified — reason enough to order another round.

    The “relief, not entitlement” line is spot on, and that penultimate sentence nails it and brings it home.

  42. Tracy Lynn says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Jimmy Buffet’s until I went to the Cheeseburger in Paradise concert with a friend, her boyfriend, and his best friend. They had an extra ticket and invited me to make up the foursome.

    JB had recently broken his leg but he was out there and What. A. Concert!

    He stood most of the time (because of the gigantic cast on his leg, maybe?), and he entertained us all with stories, songs, poems, it went on and on.

    I remember that the Coral Reefers (his backup band) took a break and he finally sat down with his guitar and performed the entire time the band was on break. He fed off the audience and we fed off his energetic performance. He was onstage the entire time.

    My condolences to his loved ones.

  43. Condor says:

    Like bmaz, I saw him at Red Rocks — Summer of 1978 and 1980. Broke kid from the mountains — snuck in to both over the back (rock climb)…

    I left the fold for over four decades… but goddesses, will he be missed.

    What an… original human.

    Travel well; travel light, Jimmy.


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      • Condor-1984 says:

        Well — this is a great coincidence!

        I was still finishing as an undergrad at Boulder; dirt poor — but happy.

        In a ripped flannel shirt and some old shorts… and a blond pony-tail. I bet you a buck we were just a few rows apart… but the haze of those days… man, we (I) would have never known it….

        Here’s to Jimmy — and to you, bmaz!


        [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          We went to so many shows at Red Rocks. My favorites were Buffett, the Blues Brothers and the Dead. Just a magical place. Wish had known you then.

          • Condor-1984 says:

            Tangent — I am now rather ashamed to admit that… in the summers of 1977-78… I saw every single Red Rocks show (except Captain and Tennille, I think), by rock-climbing (all of us did it — without ropes or help) over the back of the amphitheater… and not dying. [But some others did fall, and die — mostly just broken legs, though.]

            Even so, it was still… stealing, albeit from Barry Fey, and Feyline Productions, that ran the venue back then — and of course, from the artists. [But it did take a fair bit of athleticism, and skill, to make the free-climb.]

            Back then, as a high school senior in ’77, either Jackson Browne, James Taylor or Carlos Santana were my best shows… in my now hazy memory.

            Bmaz, I do think we would have been fast friends back then, for certain. And now (mostly retired in Chicago) I keep a winter place in Verrado, AZ… so I may look you up in January/February, if you’re up for it.

            Until then, do travel well — and do travel light, man!


            • bmaz says:

              Absolutely. And, yeah, Santana too. Just magical. I used to know Barry Fey A bit. What an asshole. We had a place here known as Feyline Fields (also known as Compton Terrace at one point after a very famous alt rock DJ) in a couple of different locations.

        • Fran of the North says:

          Although I didn’t make the Buffet concert at RR, I too was a Buff, finishing UG in 1980. Perhaps we hung out together at the fountain outside the UMC.

  44. JT Utica says:

    I know what you mean – He got me through high school in the late 70s, and I also first saw him at Red Rocks in the Summer of 79. What an awesome show. I will remember him in the bottom of every Cuervo bottle.

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  45. Allagashed says:

    Saw Buffet in 1980-ish, in a Daytona Beach strip club. He was right up front, with a bunch of friends, throwing money at the girls. We, being barely legal kids, were sitting in the back of beyond. When the waitress finally made her way back to us, we said, “That guy looks just like Jimmy Buffet”. She replied, “It is! Look, he signed my boob!” She then proceeded to pull down her top and show us Buffet’s autograph. He had taken taken a black sharpie and signed her left boob. To a bunch of 18 year old kids, it was a priceless moment. Hopefully the man’s journey over the rainbow was a painless one.

  46. missinggeorgecarlin says:

    I have a JB story. Back around 2000-01, I was living in Orlando and had a friend (Jon) who worked at the “O-rena” where the NBA team played. JB was coming for a concert and my ‘big Boss’ (Mike, who was also my friend) was a huge fan. So I asked Jon and he got me some good seats for Mike.

    I also went to the show and before it started, Jon and I were walking around the parking lot. Who comes up to us on a golf cart (alone)? JB himself! He was cruising around the parking lot, hanging out w/his fans! :) Lots of famous people would NEVER do that. Tells ya something about the guy imho…..

  47. dakine01 says:

    First time I ever saw Jimmy, he played one of the small auditoriums at WKU in ’73 or ’74.

    He opened for the Eagles at Aloha Stadium in early ’79 then a solo acoustic show/tour at the Waikiki Shell early ’82. Neil Young came on for a couple of songs at the end.

    Concert on the Boston Common in summer of I think ’85 then a couple of years in the mid 90s at Meadows Music in Hartford.

    Never a bad time.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The mainstream media seems locked into the same storyline: “Jimmy Buffett made escapism into an empire,” perhaps because the two are incompatible. Had been an escape artist, he would not have built an empire. Had his empire been what he valued most, he would not have toured relentlessly, pleasing himself almost as much as his fans. He would have built a sandbox for his guitar in his living room and enjoyed oblivion more than his muse.

      He didn’t. He was a talented writer, songwriter, entertainer, businessman, sailor, pilot, dad, husband, neighbor, colleague, and friend. He was a tireless storyteller and performer. His escapism was a temporary relief that made more palatable the hard knocks that waited outside the front door.

      • bmaz says:

        Buffett seemed like he just loved playing. As in didn’t care if it was for 50 people or 50,000 people. He just liked playing.

        • Rayne says:

          Accurate, so accurate. One of the several concerts I’ve attended was at the very end of his 1992 Recession Tour which bizarrely enough I caught while on my deferred honeymoon. Even more bizarrely, my parents and my uncle and aunt came with us.

          My folks aren’t musically inclined; like my spouse, they have very narrow tastes in music. Pop liked Charlie Rich and Chet Atkins while Mom like Tom Jones and the 5th Dimension. With that in mind they still managed to figure out my spouse of then two years was a Parrothead and that Jimmy Buffett was going to give a final tour performance in a hotel ballroom on the big island of Hawaii.

          Dad bought tickets for us all, surprised us with them (must say they were the cheapest tickets for any Buffett concert we’d ever caught). The performance wasn’t on the tour list though we’d known Buffett had been playing the islands as he wrapped up his tour season.

          The venue was a ballroom of a local hotel — I don’t even know if the hotel is still open now. Because the venue was so small, the audience waited outside on the hotel’s lanai where we ordered drinks while we waited.

          We sat around a table on the far side of the lanai because it was too noisy near the ballroom door. As we chatted, what looked like a group of stragglers came along side our end of the lanai and walked around the table. My spouse said, “It’s Jimmy!” and stood and reached for his hand. Jimmy gave us all a quick high-five as he strode around the table with his band and crew; they made their way to a small side door without drawing any attention to themselves though I don’t know how it happened with my spouse’s exclamation. I guess the Parrotheads were louder than we realized.

          There weren’t but a couple hundred people in that ballroom that night, and it was every bit as good as any of the concerts I’ve seen at larger venues like Pine Knob, the Silverdome, and Cincinnati on the waterfront. Buffett just looked like he was having fun.

          • ChicagoDD says:

            Rayne, your folks might have have slightly limited breadth in their taste, but Chet Atkins is literally a towering figure for guitar players, preposterously good, no one like him, ever – as well as being probably the top producer in Nashville for many years. You want to hear some gorgeous Chet playing, get the duo album he did with the brilliant Canadian guitarist Lenny Breau. Seriously, money back guarantee. Met Atkins once, very nice guy. Aked him if he ever taught and he said no but, hunt up this guy Lenny Breau… And tho Tom Jones’ hit tunes were really goofy, ask any really good singer (rock/blues/pop/etc) you know, and they will tell you, he can really, seriously, sing, has a heck of an instrument.

            • Rayne says:

              Oh, don’t get me wrong, I like Atkins and appreciate his artistry as well as Charlie Pride, and I’ve mentioned in previous comments how much Tom Jones I’ve listened to as a kid. But imagine growing up in a household with that little music, especially when your parents expect you to become a musician (I had years of violin lessons).

              Okay, maybe the folks had some occasional odd bits in their collection of LPs like Martin Denny’s Quiet Village and Christmas albums like Sing Along with Mitch and Burl Ives, but come on. Not one lick of classical music, and nothing much new after the early 1970s.

                • Rayne says:

                  You used the F-word, SL. I wouldn’t take my violin to F-word even if there were Baby Sharks in the Orca-stra.

                  Until something changes and DeSantis is booted and the FL-GOP gets its butt kicked, I can’t even think about vacation in F-word.

              • ChicagoDD says:

                Rayne, yep, I knew you weren’t trashing Chet/Tom J, just wanted to put in a good word for them as many might view Jones’ capabilities/catalog as total cheese (per his hits alone), tho I must acknowledge that if you catch me listening to Its Not Unusual – on purpose – for musical enlightenment, I’ll know I’ve blown some species of fuse or gasket. Cool to hear you play (played?) fiddle; I’ve made the better part of my living for decades playing/teaching guitar and have a professional fiddle player in the family. I know there are other musos occasionally comenting here as well, no doubt good ones… Just heard a killer fiddle player last PM at Ravinia near Chicago, Indian classical player capable of playing hybrid world music playing with John McLaughlin’s Shakti, great improvisor.
                Last note: A cpl beautiful violin concertos if you’re not hip to them and can handle 20th century classical music (not too abstract, modern, but tonal as opposed to atonal): Prokofiev’s and Samuel Barber. Lovely works, tho the last movement of the Barber seems ridiculously hard chops-wise. Cheers.

  48. Thomas Paine says:

    Jimmy Buffett was one of my hero’s. He may be the closest real human to “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski we will ever see. Jimmy loved people and life and knew how to “Abide” this troublesome world. (One difference – he was much better with money than the Dude.)

    RIP, Pirate ! May you encounter only fair winds and following seas ! I hope to meet you in a mystical bar in Margaritaville someday.

  49. SVFranklinS says:

    Back in college in 1980 or so, there was a small group of Parrotheads down the hall in the dorm. They played JB all the time, so I heard the songs over and over.
    One long winter holiday weekend, deep in the Michigan cold and snow, they decided to bundle into a car and drive to Key West – just enough time to get there, cast a line or two, take photos, and turn around and come home just in time for class.
    I thought it was crazy. But I admired that they actually did it.
    I had just gotten back from an exchange program in Berlin and did some touring around the (then Soviet) Eastern Bloc, and thought the freedom to drive across 6 states from Winter to Summer on a whim to the tune of Cheeseburger in Paradise was something in dramatic contrast to what I’d seen.
    Never lost that impression of how diverse America is, how much we take freedom for granted, and what that all means.
    I always associate JB with those early songs and those Parrotheads; I never heard him do anything later, but he certainly made his mark.

  50. Bay State Librul says:

    “If the phone doesn’t ring — it’s me.”

    Jimmie’s way with words.
    The only time I saw him, was in my dreams, at the Cancun Airport.

  51. Kope a Pia says:

    There is a lot of real life in Jimmy’s songs, I heard his Hawaii live modified version of this one yesterday on the radio. RIP Jimmy Buffet

    I really do appreciate the fact you’re sittin’ here
    Your voice sounds so wonderful
    But yer face don’t look too clear
    So bar maid bring a pitcher, another round o’ brew
    Honey, why don’t we get drunk and screw
    Why don’t we get drunk and screw
    I just bought a water bed, it’s filled up for me and you
    They say you are a snuff queen
    Honey I don’t think that’s true
    So, why don’t we get drunk and screw
    Why don’t we get drunk and screw
    I just bought a waterbed it’s filled up for me and you
    They say you are a snuff queen
    Honey I don’t think that’s true
    So why don’t we get drunk and screw
    Yeah, now baby I say, (Lord!)
    Why don’t we get drunk and screw

    • Rayne says:

      Yeah. That one. Now imagine trying to explain to a five-year-old why it’s not a song they should sing at school.

      • Kope a Pia says:

        A parents job is never easy!

        I did feel that Buffets live Hawaii revised song was somewhat disrespectful of the Hawaiian culture but today is the celebration of his life. A New Orleans street musician that sang mostly feel good songs about a relaxed lifestyle and ended up parlaying that into a billion dollar empire.

        His family has said he had a rare but often re accruing skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma, living in Paradise can have that downside.

        • bmaz says:

          Mrs. bmaz has bought me like 20 different sunscreens. And my across the street neighbor, another, yet younger, private defense atty, so we got along quite well. Saw each other in court all the time, not just out by our mailboxes. But he died after one month from aggressive melanoma diagnosis. Almost unfathomable. I have made it all these years, and he, unfairly, did not. Skin cancer is real, and a problem. Pay attention to it.

          • theartistvvv says:

            Indeed. Worked construction some summers in HS and college, partied on the beach at Diversey Harbor for about 10 years.

            Had a Mohs Surgery last winter – gotta nice 1/4″ by 3″ horizontal scar on my forehead makes me look kinda pirate-ish. New scars don’t tan, y’see.

            Never a handsome guy, at least now I look tough. Or accident-prone.

            • tinaotinao says:

              Be careful with mohs surgery, Me Da had squamous cell carcinoma the dermatologist missed and by the time he dealt with it it had taken root internally, which they told us it doesn’t do. A surgeon my sister worked with at the hospital that did the biopsy, finally, after his oncologist for leukemia said it was a flare up of the leukemia with enlarged lymph nodes, gave us the diagnosis of internalized squamous cell tumor said, “All ways, always get a dose or two of radiation after mohs surgery to make sure.” The tumor by that time had grown, due to it’s aggressivness. After a few weeks of chemo and radiation, he told my sister and I that it was time to let him go. He went on hospice and died shortly there after.

  52. RipNoLonger says:

    Paul McCartney
    It seems that so many wonderful people are leaving this world, and now Jimmy Buffett is one of them. I’ve known Jimmy for some time and found him to be one of the kindest and most generous people.

    I remember once on holiday when I had forgotten to bring my guitar and was itching to play. He said he would get me one of his, but I said, ‘I’m left-handed’. So, Jimmy had his roadie restring one of his guitars which he loaned me for the duration of the holiday. He then followed this act of generosity by giving me my own beautiful left-handed guitar that had been made by one of his guitar-making pals. It’s a beautiful instrument, and every time I play it now it’ll remind me of what a great man Jimmy was.

    He had a most amazing lust for life and a beautiful sense of humour. When we swapped tales about the past his were so exotic and lush and involved sailing trips and surfing and so many exciting stories that it was hard for me to keep up with him.

    Right up to the last minute his eyes still twinkled with a humour that said, ‘I love this world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it’.

    So many of us will miss Jimmy and his tremendous personality. His love for us all, and for mankind as a whole.

    Last, but not least, is his songwriting and vocal ability. If someone made an interesting remark he repeated it in his gorgeous Louisiana drawl and said, ‘That’s a good idea for a song’. Most times it didn’t take too long for that song to appear. I was very happy to have played on one of his latest songs called ‘My Gummy Just Kicked In’. We had a real fun session and he played me some of his new songs. One, in particular, I loved was the song, ‘Bubbles Up’. And I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever. He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life when you’re confused and don’t know where you are just follow the bubbles – they’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.

    So long, Jim. You are a very special man and friend and it was a great privilege to get to know you and love you. Bubbles up, my friend.

    Love, Paul
    3:22 PM · Sep 2, 2023

    • Just Some Guy says:

      Wonderful sentiment, but “Louisiana drawl” really takes me out of it, since Buffett was born in Pascagoula and grew up in Mobile. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

      My father died at 78 years old in May, and he was a life-long Buffett fan. I was surprised to read in Buffett’s obituary that they both attended Auburn at the same time, which I’m sure my dad knew about after-the-fact — though I don’t think they would have had any reason to know each other then, as my dad was two years older, even at a small school out in the middle of nowhere as AU was at the time. But knowing Buffett would have definitely been a better fit for my dad than knowing the other “celebrity” he did remember from his Auburn days, Alabama’s awful Governor Kay Ivey — he said she was awful then, too.

      One of my father’s best friends passed a month before he did, and that really did him in. Though I miss him greatly, I’m glad that he passed before Buffett did, because he and his songs were like best friends to my dad too.

  53. Marji Campbell says:

    Can’t resist! Oh my, I loved jimmy buffet songs, although I never did see him in concert. 😢

    Really good second hand story- I started grad school at University of Florida 1976. The story was that he played there in Gainesville in Nov 1974, before he was super popular. After the show, he marched over to a cheap fast food burger joint (think in n out, or White Castle), and hundreds of his fans followed him. So- he bought them all burgers! And I think he spoke and thanked them.

    I was a scuba diver, boat girl, and Florida party drinker, so of course, his songs spoke to me!!

  54. MsJennyMD says:

    Jimmy Buffett Quotes:

    “If life gives you limes, make margaritas.”

    “If we weren’t all crazy, we’d just go insane.”

    “Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been.”

    • Artzen Frankengueuze says:

      Saw him once in the early 80’s at Tanglewood, and can’t remember if I played the live album “you should have been there” before or just after the show about a thousand times.

      Years later, I read a few of his books, maybe 3 of them? Very enjoyable.

      Always wondered if the song “He went to Paris” was modeled after Maughm’s ” The Razor’s Edge.”

      I wore my Hawaiian shirt to the local farmer’s market today in his honor.

      And off topic, Alonso got the fastest lap at Monza today. Sweet.

  55. tinaotinao says:

    He came to the island I lived on up north, just him and his body guard. They tooled around town in the bars, and an old skipper of mine hung out with the body guard. Then he chartered a friend’s boat and went halibut fishing waaay out west. After he left, I asked what he was like and everybody paid him the simple high compliment of, “He is a real human being.” Godspeed mate!

  56. MrBlivit says:

    My brother-in-law was stationed at NAS Key West. After scuba diving with the manatees in the unmolested waters of the submarine pens that had been blasted out of the coral during Cuban missile crisis, we went for a free lunch at Margaritaville . (He wrenched on jeeps for the some of the security guys). I got introduced to Jimmy Buffet. While I knew his music, I’m a New Yorker, not fazed by celebrity. but the ease of his smile was genuine. Years later our paths crossed again when he shared an airplane hanger with a buddy of mine on a grass landing strip in Bayport,NY. Again, that genuine grin. After many of his concerts at Jones Beach theater (riding waves all day then tailgating with the Parrot heads) and small east end gatherings where he would perform for charity events, I’ve seen him bring so much joy and happiness to those who attend his performances. You can’t ask much more from a man who died too soon leaving behind, as all good men do, an emptiness. In the end , it’s all about the stories…this is mine.

  57. hollywood says:

    I recall that when I saw Buffett he sang “Door Number three” which he cowrote with Steve Goodman. Except he switched things up a bit, importing some lines from “Like a Rolling Stone.” It was the part that goes
    You say you never compromise
    With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
    He’s not selling any alibis
    As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
    And say do you want to make a deal?

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