Jimmy Buffett, born James William Buffett on December 25, 1946, was a renowned American musician, songwriter, author, and businessman known for his laid-back, tropical-themed music and persona. Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and raised in Mobile, Alabama. James Delaney Buffett, often referred to as J.D. Buffett, was Jimmy’s father who worked for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Jimmy’s mother, Mary Lorraine, was born in Mobile, Alabama, and was a homemaker. 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 continued 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. In 1969 he went to work for Billboard as a Nashville correspondent.
Buffett began his music career in the late 1960s and initially played folk and country music. He released his debut album, “Down to Earth,” in 1970. However, he gained widespread recognition and a devoted fan base with his shift towards the laid-back, beach and island-inspired music style that would become his signature.
One of his first songs to draw attention was “Come Monday,” from his 1974 album “Living & Dying in ¾ Time.” Years later he told David Letterman, “This is a song that kept me from killing myself in a Howard Johnson’s in Marin County. It hit, I paid the rent, got my dog out of the pound. … and the rest is history.”
In his career he would release 29 studio albums, 12 live albums, 9 compilation albums, 19 music videos, and 67 singles. Some of his classic albums were Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes his seventh studio album released on January 20, 1977, Son of a Son of a Sailor his eighth studio album released on March 17, 1978,
I saw Jimmy Buffett, June 23, 1990, at the Hollywood Bowl in California. -Doyle
Volcano his ninth studio album released on August 1, 1979, Coconut Telegraph is the tenth studio album was released in February 1981, Somewhere over China was the eleventh studio album relased in January of 1982, One Particular Harbour his twelfth studio album released in September of 1983, and Last Mango in Paris his fourteenth studio album released in June of 1985.
Jimmy’s legendary Coral Reefer Band has been touring and recording with him since 1974. Initially, the band consisted of fictional performers with names like Al Vacado and Kay Pasa, but these days, they’re all the real deal! Over the years, several big names have spent time in the Coral Reefer Band, including Timothy B. Schmit (who also has the distinction of coining the name “Parrotheads”), John Hiatt, and Jerry Jeff Walker. There have also been plenty of special guests and honorary Coral Reefers over the years, including Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, Brian Wilson, and Roy Orbison. Ric Flair is even an honorary Coral Reefer for once providing—what else?—”background woos” during a live concert.
While never topping topping the Billboard chart, Jimmy gets plenty of radio play with Top 40 hits such as “Come Monday” released in April of 1974, “Margaritaville” released February 14, 1977, “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” released in August of 1977, “Cheeseburger in Paradise” released in March of 1978,
“Fins” released in July of 1979, “Another Saturday Night” released in 1993 (cover of the Sam Cooke song), “Fruitcakes” released in 1994, and “Mexico” released in 1995. Jimmy Buffett ranks 1108 of all-time songwriters by Bill Carroll in his Ranking the Rock Writers book.
Jimmy Buffett has parlayed his music career into a diverse array of successful business ventures including his Margaritaville brand which includes restaurants, hotels, and merchandise, all built around the tropical theme inspired by his music.
Margaritaville restaurants are known for their relaxed atmosphere and signature cocktails. Buffett’s devoted fan base, known as “Parrot Heads,” has become a subculture of its own. Parrot Heads are known for their love of Buffett’s music, tropical attire, and charitable activities. has authored several books, including novels and autobiographical works. His book A Pirate Looks at Fifty was a bestseller.
In a 2017 interview with Men’s Journal,
Buffett was asked what remained on his bucket list.
I have four things: Learn to hang ten. Go to space. Go to Pitcairn Island, where my Buffett ancestors are from. And go to Antarctica.Jimmy Buffett
He has made cameo appearances in films and television shows and contributed to soundtracks. Jimmy has had a few guest-starring appearances on the hit television show Hawaii Five-0. During these appearances, he plays rugged pilot Frank Bama.
He has made several cameos in movies over the years, including Repo Man, Hook, and Congo. However, all of these roles pale in comparison to his most iconic big-screen appearance—Margarita Guy in Jurassic World! At one point in the film, dinosaurs escape their compound (of course) and wreak havoc on the Jurassic World Resort on Isla Nublar. As panicked vacationers run for their lives, one man stands out from the pack—Margarita Guy!
His fans adored him and he never let them down. This is the saddest of news, a lovely man gone way too soon.Elton John
He earned this name because he take the time to pick up two margarita in each hand while escaping (surely saving them from disaster!). He also wrote the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Escape to Margaritaville.”
Buffett has been a prolific touring artist throughout his career, known for his energetic live performances that draw large crowds of devoted fans. He is involved in various environmental and charitable initiatives, including the Save the Manatee Club and the Singing for Change charitable foundation.
The pirate has passed. RIP Jimmy Buffett. Tremendous influence on so many of us.Toby Keith
The beloved singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island on Friday September 1, 2023 surrounded by family and friends. Buffett, 76, had been fighting Merkel Cell Skin Cancer for four years.
One of the kindest and most generous people. 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.Paul McCartney
He continued to perform during treatment, playing his last show, a surprise appearance in Rhode Island, in early July. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Jane (Slagsvol) Buffett, his daughters Savannah Jane (Joshua) and Sarah Delaney, his son Cameron Marley (Lara), his grandson Marley Ray and devoted pack of dogs Lola, Kingston, Pepper, Rosie, Ajax and Kody. Also survived by his Montana sister,
Laurie Buffett McGuane (Tom), their children Heather Hume, Anne Buffett McGuane, Maggie McGuane and Thomas McGuane IV; his Alabama sister, Lucy Buffett and daughters Mara Delaney Buffett O’Dwyer and Melanie Leigh Buffett; and many more wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews.
- Pitcairn Island, a remote volcanic outpost in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of the world’s most isolated inhabited places, located about halfway between New Zealand and Chile. With a total land area of just 47 square kilometers, it is perhaps best known as the final refuge of the mutineers from HMS Bounty, who settled there in 1790, and their descendants, who continue to inhabit the island today. The population is small, typically numbering around 50 residents, and their unique way of life is characterized by a reliance on fishing and subsistence agriculture. Pitcairn is a British Overseas Territory, and its governance is overseen by the Pitcairn Island Council. Due to its isolation and limited accessibility, Pitcairn remains a challenging place to visit, with no airstrip and infrequent ship services. Nevertheless, its stunning natural beauty and historical significance make it an intriguing destination for adventurous travelers and historians alike. [Back]
- The Save the Manatee Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of manatees, the gentle, slow-moving marine mammals often referred to as “sea cows.” Founded in 1981 by singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, the organization is committed to safeguarding manatees and their aquatic habitats through advocacy, research, education, and habitat preservation efforts. Save the Manatee Club works to raise awareness about the threats facing manatees, promotes responsible boating practices to prevent manatee injuries and fatalities, and advocates for policies and regulations that ensure the long-term survival of these endangered animals. [Back]
- Singing for Change is a charitable foundation dedicated to fostering positive social change through the power of music. Founded by Jimmy Buffett in 1995, this non-profit organization utilizes the universal language of music to support a wide range of social and environmental causes, including education, healthcare, and environmental conservation. Through fundraising initiatives, partnerships with musicians, and grants to grassroots organizations, Singing for Change has made a significant impact on various communities worldwide. Their mission is to create a harmonious world where the transformative power of music can inspire individuals and communities to come together for the betterment of society.[Back]
- “Jimmy Buffett, legendary ‘Margaritaville’ singer, dies at 76” (Sept. 2, 2023) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/jimmy-buffett-legendary-escape-margaritaville-singer-dies-songwriter-rcna103104
- “‘Margaritaville’ singer Jimmy Buffett, who turned beach-bum life into an empire, dies at 76” (September 2, 2023) https://apnews.com/article/obituary-jimmy-buffett-4295f355b39237f40663d485c4c6d557
- “Jimmy Buffett, enduring ‘Margaritaville’ singer turned mogul, dies at 76” (September 2, 2023) https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/02/entertainment/jimmy-buffett-death/index.html
- “Jimmy Buffett” (Updated Sept 2, 2023) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Buffett
- Official Jimmy Buffett Website https://www.jimmybuffett.com/about
- “10 Fun Facts About Jimmy Buffett” https://www.margaritavillecaribbean.com/stories/10-fun-facts-about-jimmy-buffett/
- Pitcairn Islands Tourism: https://www.visitpitcairn.pn/
- CIA World Factbook – Pitcairn Islands: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/pitcairn-islands/
- Pitcairn Island Council: https://www.government.pn/
- Save the Manatee Club Official Website: https://www.savethemanatee.org/
- Singing for Change Official Website: https://www.singingforchange.org/
- “Singing for Change Foundation.” Inside Philanthropy. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/fundraising-music-education/singing-for-change-foundation.html
- “Jimmy Buffett’s Singing for Change Foundation.” The Balance Small Business. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/jimmy-buffett-singing-for-change-foundation-2502363