Jimmy Buffett: American singer–songwriter and businessman (1946 - 2023) | Biography
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Jimmy Buffett
American singer–songwriter and businessman

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American singer–songwriter and businessman
Was Singer Writer Novelist Aviator Pilot Aircraft pilot Musician Songwriter Autobiographer Actor Children's writer Film producer Businessperson Entrepreneur
From United States of America
Field Business Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Military Music
Gender male
Birth 25 December 1946, Pascagoula, Jackson County, Mississippi, USA
Death 1 September 2023 (aged 76 years)
Star sign Capricorn
Siblings: Laurie McGuane
Auburn University
Pearl River Community College
University of Southern Mississippi
McGill-Toolen Catholic High School
Notable Works
Florida Artists Hall of Fame  
honorary doctor of the University of Miami 2015
Pop music
Country music
Soft rock
Country rock
Folk rock
Easy listening
Jimmy Buffett
The details (from wikipedia)


James William Buffett (December 25, 1946 – September 1, 2023) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and businessman. He was best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett 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 was also a bestselling author and was involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best-known songs; he owned the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain and co-developed the now defunct Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain. Buffett was one of the world's richest musicians, with a net worth of $1 billion as of 2023.

Early life

Buffett was born on December 25, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and spent part of his childhood in Mobile and Fairhope, Alabama. He was the son of Mary Lorraine (née Peets) and James Delaney Buffett Jr, who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. During his grade school years, he attended St. Ignatius School, where he played the trombone in the school band. As a child he was exposed to sailing through his grandfather who was a steamship captain and these experiences influenced his later music. He graduated from McGill Institute for Boys, a Catholic high school in Mobile, in 1964. He began playing the guitar during his first year at Auburn University after seeing a fraternity brother playing while surrounded by a group of girls. Buffett left Auburn after a year due to his grades and continue 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.


Music career

Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee, during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the country-tinged folk rock record Down to Earth, in 1970. During this time, Buffett could be frequently found busking for tourists in New Orleans. In the fall of 1971 after an impromptu audition, Buffett was hired by a Nashville club called the Exit/In to open for recording artist Dianne Davidson. Fellow country singer Jerry Jeff Walker took him to Key West on a busking expedition in November 1971. Buffett then moved to Key West and began establishing the easy-going beach-bum persona he became known for. He started out playing for drinks at the Chart Room Bar in the Pier House Motel. Following this move, Buffett combined country, rock, folk, calypso and pop music with coastal as well as tropical lyrical themes for a sound sometimes called "gulf and western" (or tropical rock). He was a regular visitor to the Caribbean island of Saint Barts and other islands where he got inspiration for many of his songs and some of the characters in his books.

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

Buffett's second release was 1973's 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, which featured the breakthrough hit song "Margaritaville".

Jimmy Buffett
Buffett performing at Clemson University in 1977

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 20 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.

In 1994, Buffett dueted with Frank Sinatra on a cover of "Mack the Knife" on Sinatra's final studio album, "Duets II". In 1997, Buffett collaborated with novelist Herman Wouk to create a 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 January 1996, Buffett's Grumman HU-16 airplane named Hemisphere Dancer was shot at by Jamaican police, who believed the craft to be smuggling marijuana. The aircraft sustained minimal damage. The plane was carrying Buffett, as well as U2's Bono, his wife and two children, and Island Records producer Chris Blackwell, and co-pilot Bill Dindy. The Jamaican government acknowledged the mistake and apologized to Buffett, who penned the song "Jamaica Mistaica" for his Banana Wind album based on the experience.

Buffett's 1999 song "Math Suks" caused a brief media frenzy. The song was in fact promptly condemned by the US National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Education Association for its alleged negative effect on children's education. Comedian Jon Stewart also criticized the song on The Daily Show during a segment called "Math Is Quite Pleasant".

On February 4, 2001, he was ejected from the American Airlines Arena in Miami during a basketball game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks for cursing. After the game, referee Joe Forte said that he ordered him moved during the fourth quarter because "there was a little boy sitting next to him and a lady sitting by him. He used some words he knows he shouldn't have used." Forte apparently did not know who Buffett was, and censured Heat coach Pat Riley because he thought Riley—who was trying to explain to him who Buffett was—was insulting him by asking if he had ever been a "Parrothead", the nickname for Buffett fans. Buffett did not comment immediately after the incident, but discussed it on The Today Show three days later.

In 2003, he partnered in a partial duet with Alan Jackson for the song "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere", which spent a then record eight weeks atop the country charts. This song won the 2003 Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. This was Buffett's first award in his 30-year recording 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 career.

Buffett continued to tour regularly until shortly before his death, although later in his career, he shifted 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. This schedule provided the title of his 1999 live album.

In the summer of 2005, Buffett teamed up with Sirius Satellite Radio and introduced Radio Margaritaville. Until this point, Radio Margaritaville was solely an online channel. Radio Margaritaville has remained on the service through Sirius' merger with XM Radio and currently appears as XM 24. The channel broadcasts from the Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Kissimmee, Florida.

In August 2006, he released the album Take the Weather with You. The song "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" on this album is in honor of the survivors of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Buffett's rendition of "Silver Wings" on the same album was made as a tribute to Merle Haggard. On August 30, 2007, he received his star on the Mohegan Sun Walk of Fame.

On October 6, 2006, it was reported that Buffett had been detained by French customs officials in Saint Tropez for allegedly carrying over 100 pills of ecstasy. Buffett's luggage was searched after his Dassault Falcon 900 private jet landed at Toulon-Hyères International Airport. He paid a fine of $300 and was released. A spokesperson for Buffett stated the pills in question were prescription drugs, but declined to name the drug or the health problem for which he was being treated. Buffett released a statement that the "ecstasy" was in fact a B-vitamin supplement known as Foltx.

On April 20, 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 released, as of October 2007, eight are Gold albums and nine are Platinum or Multiplatinum. In 2007, Buffett was nominated for the CMA Event of the Year Award for his song "Hey Good Lookin'" which featured Alan Jackson and George Strait.

In 2020, Buffett released Songs You Don't Know by Heart, a fan-curated collection of his lesser-known songs rerecorded on his collection of notable guitars.

During a performance in Nashville, Tennessee on April 11, 2023, Buffett said he had recorded an album entitled Equal Strain on All Parts. Buffett got the idea for the album title from his grandfather's description of a nap. The album has yet to be released.

Buffett performed his final full concert at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego on May 6, 2023. He made two further concert appearances, as an unannounced guest at concerts by Coral Reefer Band members, in Amagansett, New York on June 11 and Portsmouth, Rhode Island on July 2.

Musical style

Jimmy Buffett
Buffett performing in January 2008

Buffett began calling his music "drunken Caribbean rock 'n' roll" as he said on his 1978 live album You Had To Be There. Earlier, Buffett himself and others had used the term "gulf and western" to describe his musical style and that of other similar-sounding performers. The name derives from elements in Buffett's early music including musical influence from country, along with lyrical themes from the Gulf 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." The term is a play on the form of "Country & Western" and the name of the former conglomerate and Paramount Pictures parent Gulf+Western. In 2020, The Associated Press described Buffett's sound as a "special Gulf Coast blend of country, pop, folk and rock, topped by Buffett's swaying voice. Few can mix steelpans, trombones and pedal steel guitar so effortlessly." The DC Metro Theatre Arts magazine, in a review for Buffett's musical Escape to Margaritaville, described Buffett's music as "blend[ing] Caribbean, country, rock, folk, and pop music into a good-natured concoction variously classified as "trop rock" or "gulf and 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 Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. 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 Norman "the Caribbean Cowboy" Lee, Jim Bowley, Kenny Chesney, and Jim Morris.


Parrot Head or parrothead is a commonly used nickname for Buffett fans with "parakeets" or "keets" used for younger fans, or children of Parrotheads. At a Buffett 1985 concert at the Timberwolf Amphitheater in Cincinnati, Ohio Buffett commented about everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts and parrot hats and how they kept coming back to see his shows, just like Deadheads. Timothy B. Schmit, then a member of the Coral Reefer Band, coined the term "Parrot Head" to describe them. In 1989, the first Parrothead club was founded in Atlanta. Subsequent Events range from single-act concerts or happy hours to the annual Meeting of the Minds in Key West, Florida, which attracts approximately 5,000 Parrotheads. In 2011, there were 239 Parrothead Club chapters in the United States, Canada and Australia, spanning 3 countries, 47 states and 3 Canadian provinces with total membership of almost 28,000. The Pikes Peak Hash House Harriers and Harriettes have an annual Parrot Head Hash weekend hosted by Yeastee Boy and Bread Box.


Jimmy Buffett
Buffett in Hawaii in June 2003

Buffett wrote three number-one 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 memoir A Pirate Looks at Fifty, published in 1998, went straight to number one on the New York Times Best Seller nonfiction list, making him one of the few authors to have reached number one on both the fiction and nonfiction lists.

Buffett also co-wrote two children's books, The Jolly Mon and Trouble Dolls, with his eldest daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett. The original hardcover release of The Jolly Mon included a cassette tape recording of the two 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." 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.

Before his death in 2023, Buffett stated that he had planned to write an in-depth autobiography when he was about 86 years old, which would have been in 2032.

Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett quote 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, 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 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. He made a guest appearance in the second season of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS in 2011 and returned in April 2013, March 2015, January 2017, March 2018, May 2019, and March 2020 playing Frank Bama. Buffett reportedly was offered a cameo role in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, but declined the offer. 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. He played a helicopter pilot named Frank Bama, a character from his novel Where Is Joe Merchant?. Another character mentioned that he preferred "margaritas"; Buffett's character replied, "Can't argue with you there." He reprised the role with a brief cameo visiting McGarret on the March 30, 2018, episode "E Ho'oko Kuleana".

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.

In 2017, Buffett was the musical guest on the NCIS: New Orleans episode "Rogue Nation", playing the song "I Will Play for Gumbo" in Dwayne Pride's (Scott Bakula) newly rebuilt bar.

In 2019, he had an extended cameo playing himself in the Harmony Korine film The Beach Bum.


Year Title Role Notes
1973 Introducing Jimmy Buffett Himself documentary short
1973 Tarpon Unknown role documentary
1975 Rancho Deluxe Himself also composer
1978 FM Himself
1984 Repo Man Additional Blonde Agent
1986 Live by the Bay Himself concert film; also executive producer
1986 Doctor Duck's Secret All-Purpose Sauce Himself direct-to-video
1991 Hook Shoe-Stealing Pirate cameo
1994 Cobb The Armless Guy
1995 Congo 727 Pilot
1998 Hemingway: Take Nothing Himself direct-to-video; documentary
1999 Music Bridges Over Troubled Water Himself documentary
2000 Tales from MargaritaVision Himself direct-to-video; also executive producer
2004 Bridge to Havana Himself documentary
2006 Hoot Mr. Ryan also producer and composer
2006 Sun Dogs documentary; producer
2007 Live in Anguilla Himself direct-to-video; concert film, also producer
2008 Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Himself documentary
2009 Scenes You Know by Heart Himself direct-to-video; concert film, also producer
2012 Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Colonel Bruce Hampton Himself documentary
2012 OnePeople: The Celebration Himself documentary
2015 Jurassic World Running Park Visitor with Margarita Drinks (Himself) uncredited
2017 Parrot Heads Himself documentary
2018 Up the Stairs Principal Anderson short film
2018 Billionaire Boys Club Police Captain
2018 The Wall's Embrace Himself documentary short
2019 The Beach Bum Himself
2020 Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President Himself documentary
TBA Under the Volcano Unknown role
Year Title Role Notes
1974 Your Hit Parade Himself one episode
1978 Saturday Night Live Himself one episode
1981–92 The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson Himself eight episodes
1981 Fridays Himself one episode
1982 I Love Liberty Himself TV special
1982 SCTV Network Himself one episode
1977–1984 Austin City Limits Himself two episodes
1983–85 Late Night with David Letterman Himself two episodes
1984 Nashville Now Himself one episode
1987 Cinemax Sessions Himself one episode
1988 Breaking All the Rules TV film; composer
1989–2020 Today Himself eight episodes
1991 Voices That Care Himself TV special
1992 New Orleans Live! Himself TV concert special
1992 Hurricane Relief Himself TV concert special
1993 Johnny Bago eight episodes; theme music composer
1994–2008 Late Show with David Letterman Himself five episodes
1995–2003 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Himself six episodes
1997 Music for Montserrat Himself TV concert special
1998–2005 Late Night with Conan O'Brien Himself two episodes
1998 Elmopalooza Himself TV special
1998 Brian Wilson's Imagination Himself TV documentary
1998 From the Earth to the Moon First Journalist one episode
1998 Time & Again Himself one episode
2002 Closeups Himself one episode
2004–06 60 Minutes Himself two episodes
2004–08 Live! with Regis and Kelly Himself three episodes
2005–13 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself two episodes
2008 Cubs Forever: Celebrating 60 Years of WGN-TV and the Chicago Cubs Himself TV special
2009 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Himself one episode
2010 CMT Crossroads Himself one episode
2010 Bridge School News Himself one episode
2010 Jimmy Buffett & Friends: Live from the Gulf Coast Himself TV concert special
2010 CMT Insider Himself two episodes
2010 The Gulf Is Back Himself TV concert special
2011–20 Hawaii Five-0 Frank Bama recurring guest star; seven episodes
2013 Boston Strong: An Evening of Support and Celebration Himself TV concert special
2013 Kokua for the Philippines Himself TV concert special
2014–22 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself three episodes
2017 NCIS: New Orleans Himself one episode
2017 The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Himself TV special
2018 CBS News Sunday Morning Himself one episode
2018 The View Himself one episode
2018 Megyn Kelly Today Himself one episode
2018 Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Himself one episode
2018 Buried Treasure Himself TV film
2019 The Late Late Show with James Corden Himself one episode
2019 Wheel of Fortune Himself two episodes
2020 Celebrity Page Himself one episode
2020 Willie Nelson: American Outlaw Himself TV special
2022 Blue Bloods Dickie Delaney


one episode

Business ventures

Jimmy Buffett
The outside of a Margaritaville restaurant in Orlando, Florida

Buffett took advantage of his name and the fan following for his music by launching several business ventures, usually with a tropical theme. He opened the Margaritaville Cafe in Key West, Florida, in 1987. He owned LandShark Bar & Grill in Baltimore, Maryland and previously owned Cheeseburger in Paradise Restaurant, which he sold for $11 million in 2012. In the 1980s, he became friends with the investor Warren Buffett and a shareholder in Warren's valuable holding company, increasing his stake over the years. They called each other "Cousin Jimmy" and "Uncle Warren", although they were not related. As a baseball fan, he was part-owner of two minor-league teams: the Miami/Fort Myers Miracle (1989–2014) and the Madison Black Wolf (1996–2000). Buffett also licensed Margaritaville Tequila, Margaritaville Footwear, and a Margaritaville Foods, including chips, salsa, guacamole, shrimp, chicken, and more. Between his businesses, album sales, and tours, he was estimated by Forbes to earn US$50.5 million in 2017 and to have a net worth of $550 million.

Record labels

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 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.

Beer production

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


Margaritaville Casino opened at the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in May 2013. The center features a restaurant, two bars, a coffee shop, a retail store, and a gaming area.


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. Buffett also wrote new lyrics for the team to his 1979 song "Fins", which is played during Dolphins home games. Despite Buffett's partnership with the Dolphins, Buffett was 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 serve 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 National Football League as a result of the Saints' bounty scandal.

Video games

In 2012, a "Margaritaville Online" game was released by THQ for Facebook. The game was discontinued two years later. In 2016, it was announced that Buffett had partnered with FunPlus to develop a new Margaritaville game.

Real estate

Latitude Margaritaville is a $1 billion retirement village planned in Daytona Beach, Florida. The project is a joint venture between Minto Communities and Buffett's Margaritaville Holdings, with the development being built on land close to LPGA Boulevard and about a mile to the west of Interstate 95.

As of 2021, the community has sold over 1,000 homes and will have 3,900 homes upon completion. Prices currently range from the low $200,000s to the low $500,000s.

Minto Communities and Margaritaville Holdings have since announced and began selling in Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head in Bluffton, South Carolina and Latitude Margaritaville Watersound in Panama City Beach, Florida.


In 2018, Buffett teamed with businessman Beau Wrigley and Surterra Holdings, Inc. to license "Coral Reefer" brand marijuana by 2019. In 2023, the website used to market Coral Reefer cannabis was no longer available.

Theatrical works

In 1994, Buffett began developing a musical based on Herman Wouk's 1965 novel, Don't Stop the Carnival. Buffett wrote the music and lyrics and Wouk wrote the book for the show. Don't Stop the Carnival debuted in Miami, Florida in 1997 to negative reviews from critics. In response, the producers approached Buffett and told him that Wouk needed to be fired and a more experienced playwright needed to rewrite Wouk's script. Buffett refused to remove Wouk from the project and any further productions of the show were canceled. Buffett turned the show into an album that was released in 1998.

A new musical, Escape to Margaritaville, opened at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in May 2017 and ran until July. The show then performed limited runs in New Orleans, Houston, and Chicago, and was well received by critics. The show features a book by Greg Garcia and Mike O'Malley and uses Buffett's classic songs, some of which he rewrote the lyrics to in order to better fit in the context of the story. The show began previews at the Marquis Theatre on Broadway on February 16, 2018, and officially opened on March 15 under the direction of Tony winner Christopher Ashley. The Broadway production received mixed reviews from New York critics. In June that same year, the producers announced that the production would close on July 1 after 29 previews and 124 regular performances. Along with the announcement of the show's Broadway closing, it was announced that a national tour would launch in Providence, Rhode Island, in the fall of 2019.

Charity work

Jimmy Buffett
Buffett aboard USS Harry S Truman, January 2008

Buffett was involved in many charity efforts. In 1981, the Save the Manatee Club was founded by Buffett and former Florida governor Bob Graham. 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 was also a longtime supporter of and major donor to the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory.

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.

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 and it sold out within weeks. Not only did Buffett perform for the groundlings for free, but he also paid for the concertgoers' tequila and beer.

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. Buffett played several popular songs including "Fins", "Son of a Son of a Sailor", "A Pirate Looks at Forty" and modified versions of "Margaritaville" (where the lyrics were changed in the chorus to "now I know, it's all BP's fault") and "When the Coast is Clear" (the lyrics in the chorus also referencing the Deepwater Horizon disaster: "That's when it always happens / When greed and crude collide"). The concert featured Jesse Winchester and Allen Toussaint.

Concerts and tours

"The Big 8" and standard songs

Before 2003, songs almost always played at every Buffett show were known as the Big 8. The "Big 8" were:

  1. "Margaritaville"
  2. "Come Monday"
  3. "Fins"
  4. "Volcano"
  5. "A Pirate Looks at Forty"
  6. "Cheeseburger in Paradise"
  7. "Why Don't We Get Drunk"
  8. "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"

All of the “Big Eight” songs were released prior to 1980 and all were included on the compilation album Songs You Know By Heart, which is Buffett's best-selling album. "One Particular Harbour" was added to the regular set list in the late 1990s, with "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" in the early 2000s. After 2004, "Why Don't We Get Drunk" was removed from the full-time list (although still played on some tours), creating a list of ten songs that are played at almost all of Buffett's concerts. Versions of Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Southern Cross" have been included on every tour during this time, although not at every performance. In the years 2010–2016, in 262 advertised appearances Buffett performed the song "Margaritaville" 248 times, "Son of a Son of a Sailor" 236, "Volcano" 235, "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" 235, "Come Monday" 235, "Fins" 232, "A Pirate Looks at Forty" 232, "Cheeseburger in Paradise" 228, "Five O'Clock Somewhere" 225, "One Particular Harbour" 221, and "Southern Cross" 220. (Many of the performances without the full group of songs had short set lists, such as guesting on television shows).

In an interview on KLBJ radio in Austin, Texas, on May 2, 2013, Buffett humorously referred to the fact that they have to "play the ten that everyone wants, or else we'll get killed", and then went on to play "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" on air.

Tour accident

On January 26, 2011 (Australia Day), Buffett was performing a concert in Australia at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion and fell off the stage after an encore. A concert-goer said, "He just went over to the edge of the stage, like he had numerous times through the night, just to wave, and people were throwing stuffed toys and things at him. And he just took one step too many and just disappeared in a flash. He didn't have time to put his arms out to save himself or anything, he just dropped." Coincidentally, one of Australia's leading trauma surgeons was at the concert and close to the stage; Dr. Gordian Fulde treated Buffett at the scene. Fulde said, "I thought he'd broken his neck.... I heard the clunk of his head on a metal ledge, he has a deep gash on his scalp, which is all right now.... But at first I thought: this guy is going to be a spinal injury." Dr Fulde turned him on his side so he could breathe and administered first aid. Buffett regained consciousness within a few minutes. He was then transported to St Vincent's Hospital Emergency center for treatment and was discharged the next day. Buffett returned to Australia in 2012 for two shows in Brisbane and Melbourne, and made much fun of the incident during those shows. In the Melbourne show in the historic Palais Theatre in the Melbourne beachside suburb of St. Kilda, he presented additional verses of "Margaritaville" in which he made humorous references to the accident.


  • A Pink Crustacean Tour (1976)
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes Tour (1977)
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise Tour (1978)
  • You Had to Be There Tour / Volcano Tour (1979)
  • A Hot Dog & A Road Map Tour (1980)
  • Coconut Telegraph Tour (1981)
  • Somewhere over China Tour (with broken leg) (1982)
  • Homecoming Tour (1982)
  • The Six-Stop American Tour (1983)
  • Feeding Frenzy Tour (1984)
  • Last Mango in Paris Tour (1985)
  • Floridays Tour / World Tour of Florida (1986)
  • A Parrot Looks at Forty Tour (1987)
  • Cheap Vacation Tour / Hot Water Tour (1988)
  • Off to See the Lizard Tour / Buffett Does Ballads Tour (1989)
  • Jimmy's Jump Up Tour (1990)
  • Outpost Tour (1991)
  • Rece$$ion Rece$$ Tour (1992)
  • Chameleon Caravan Tour (1993)
  • Fruitcakes Tour (1994)
  • Domino College Tour (1995)
  • Banana Wind Tour (1996)
  • Havana Daydreamin' Tour (1997)
  • Don't Stop the Carnival Tour (1998)
  • Beach House on the Moon Tour (1999)
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays Tour (2000)
  • A Beach Odyssey Tour (2001)
  • Far Side of the World Tour (2002)
  • Tiki Time Tour (2003)
  • License to Chill Tour (2004)
  • A Salty Piece of Land Tour (2005)
  • Party at the End of the World Tour (2006)
  • Bama Breeze Tour (2007)
  • Year of Still Here Tour (2008)
  • Summerzcool Tour (2009)
  • Under the Big Top Tour (2010)
  • Welcome to Fin Land Tour (2011)
  • Lounging at the Lagoon Tour (2012–13)
  • Songs from St. Somewhere Tour (2013–14)
  • This One's for You Tour (2014–15)
  • Workin' n' Playin' Tour (2015–16)
  • I Don't Know Tour (2016–18)
  • Son of a Son of a Sailor Tour (2018–19)
  • Life on the Flip Side Tour (2021–22)
  • Second Wind Tour (2023)


  • Down to Earth (1970)
  • A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)
  • Living and Dying in 3/4 Time (1974)
  • A1A (1974)
  • Havana Daydreamin' (1976)
  • High Cumberland Jubilee (1976)
  • Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1977)
  • Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)
  • Volcano (1979)
  • Coconut Telegraph (1981)
  • Somewhere over China (1982)
  • One Particular Harbour (1983)
  • Riddles in the Sand (1984)
  • Last Mango in Paris (1985)
  • Floridays (1986)
  • Hot Water (1988)
  • Off to See the Lizard (1989)
  • Fruitcakes (1994)
  • Barometer Soup (1995)
  • Banana Wind (1996)
  • Christmas Island (1996)
  • Don't Stop the Carnival (1998)
  • Beach House on the Moon (1999)
  • Far Side of the World (2002)
  • License to Chill (2004)
  • Take the Weather with You (2006)
  • Buffet Hotel (2009)
  • Songs from St. Somewhere (2013)
  • 'Tis the SeaSon (2016)
  • Life on the Flip Side (2020)
  • Songs You Don't Know by Heart (2020)
  • Equal Strain on all Parts (2023)

Personal life

Buffett married Margie Washichek in 1969; they divorced in 1971. Buffett spent years working as the first mate on the yacht of industrialist Foster Talge on the Petticoat III in Key West while perfecting the "Caribbean Rock n' Roll" genre. Buffett and his second wife, Jane (née Slagsvol) had two daughters, radio personality Savannah Jane and filmmaker Sarah Delaney (Sarah was almost named Sara Loraine, after her grandmother but was, instead, named Sarah Delaney after her grandfather), and an adopted son, Cameron Marley, and resided in Sag Harbor, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida. They separated in the early 1980s, but reconciled in 1991. Buffett also owned a home in Saint 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. During the summer months, he traveled the East Coast on his sailboat. An avid pilot, Buffett owned a Dassault Falcon 900 jet that he often used while on concert tour and during his traveling worldwide. Throughout his life, he also owned a Boeing Stearman, Cessna Citation, Lake Amphibian, and Grumman Albatross.

On August 25, 1994, around 3:00 pm Eastern time, Buffett crashed his Grumman G-44 Widgeon, N1471N, while attempting to take off in the waters off Nantucket, Massachusetts. The airplane nosed over, and Buffett was able to swim to safety, sustaining only minor injuries.

His father died May 1, 2003, at the age of 83 and then his mother died four months later on September 25 at the age of 82.

In 2015, Buffett spoke at the University of Miami's graduation ceremony and received an honorary doctorate in music. Wearing flip flops and aviator sunglasses, he told graduates, from a line in his song "The Pascagoula Run", that "it's time to see the world, time to kiss a girl, and time to cross the wild meridian."

Buffett was a supporter of the Democratic Party and hosted fundraisers for Democratic politicians, including several for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In 2015, Buffett's hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi, named a bridge after him in his honor, Buffett Bridge. A species of crustacean discovered in 2023, Gnathia jimmybuffetti, was named after Buffett.

Buffett died on September 1, 2023, at the age of 76. The singer's death was announced on his social media pages and on his website. In a statement released by the family, they said "Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs. He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many."

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Sep 2023. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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