The sun sets on ‘Margaritaville’ following the passing of legendary singer Jimmy Buffett

Sep 03, 2023
Fans and high-profile figures from all walks of life joined together to pay their heartfelt tributes to Buffett after his family announced his passing, celebrating the musical legacy he left behind. Source: Getty Images.

Legendary singer-songwriter, Jimmy Buffett, has set sail for his final voyage after passing away peacefully at the age of 76 on Friday, September 1 surrounded by family and close friends.

The news of Buffett’s passing was confirmed by his family on his official website, no cause of death was revealed.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement read.

“He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”

Born on Christmas Day in 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffett’s journey to musical stardom began in Nashville, Tennessee, in the late 1960s. He initially pursued a career as a country artist, and in 1970 and recorded his debut album Down to Earth which showcased a country-tinged folk-rock sound.

Buffett’s wanderlust led him to New Orleans, where he often entertained tourists with impromptu performances. It was in the fall of 1971 that his life took a fateful turn. After a chance audition, he was hired to open for the recording artist Dianne Davidson at a Nashville club called the Exit/In.

It was during this time that fellow country singer Jerry Jeff Walker introduced him to the charms of Key West. Taken by the island’s laid-back atmosphere, Buffett decided to make Key West his home, laying the foundation for the easy-going beach-bum persona that would become his hallmark.

As he settled into Key West, Buffett started performing at the Chart Room Bar in the Pier House Motel, often playing for drinks. His music began to evolve, blending elements of country, rock, folk, calypso, and pop, along with coastal and tropical lyrical themes. This unique fusion became known as “gulf and western” or tropical rock. Buffett’s songs drew inspiration from his frequent visits to the Caribbean, particularly Saint Barts, where he soaked up the island’s culture and scenery.

In 1973, following the untimely death of his friend and mentor Jim Croce, Buffett was tapped by ABC/Dunhill Records to fill the void left by Croce. His second album, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean released in the same year, set the stage for his meteoric rise. Subsequent albums like Living & Dying in 3/4 Time, A1A, and Havana Daydreamin’ solidified his reputation as a musical force.

However, it was his 1977 album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, that catapulted Buffett to international stardom with the iconic hit song Margaritaville. Throughout the 1980s, Buffett became more renowned for his live performances, earning him the distinction of being a popular concert draw. His devoted fanbase, affectionately known as Parrotheads, followed him passionately.

In 1994, Buffett collaborated with the legendary Frank Sinatra on a cover of Mack the Knife. In 1997, he joined forces with novelist Herman Wouk to create a musical based on Wouk’s novel, Don’t Stop the Carnival. While the Broadway production had a short run, Buffett released an album featuring songs from the musical in 1998.

Throughout the years, Buffett remained a prolific artist, releasing numerous albums and embarking on tours. His duet with the Zac Brown Band on Knee Deep became a hit in 2010, and his 2004 album, License to Chill, topped the U.S. pop albums chart, marking a significant milestone in his career.

Buffett’s influence extended beyond music. He authored several best-selling books, including his autobiography, A Pirate Looks at Fifty, and even ventured into the restaurant business, with the successful chain of Margaritaville-themed restaurants and resorts, further immersing fans in the tropical lifestyle he championed.

Fans and high-profile figures from all walks of life joined together to pay their heartfelt tributes to Buffett after his family announced his passing, celebrating the musical legacy he left behind.

Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters, Savannah and Sarah; and son, Cameron.

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