Jimmy Buffett performing, January 2008
|Birth name||James William Buffett|
|Born||December 25, 1946
Pascagoula, Mississippi, U.S.
|Origin||Mobile, Alabama, U.S.|
Gulf and Western
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, author, restaurant and bar owner, minor league baseball team owner|
|Associated acts||Alan Jackson, Glenn Frey, Eagles|
|Website||Official Web Site|
James William "Jimmy" Buffett (born December 25, 1946) is a singer, songwriter, author, businessman, and movie producer best known for his "island escapism" lifestyle and music including hits such as "Margaritaville" (No. 234 on RIAA's list of "Songs of the Century"), and "Come Monday". He has a devoted base of fans known as "Parrotheads". His band is called the Coral Reefer Band.
Aside from his career in music, Buffett is also a best-selling writer and is involved in two restaurant chains named after two of his best known songs, "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Margaritaville". He owns the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain and co-developed the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant concept with OSI Restaurant Partners (parent of Outback Steakhouse), which operates the chain under a licensing agreement with Buffett.
Buffett spent part of his childhood in Mobile, Alabama. As a boy in grade school, he attended St. Ignatius School. He later lived in Fairhope, Alabama, considered by Buffett his "Home Town" during a 2001 concert. He graduated from high school from McGill Institute for Boys (now McGill-Toolen Catholic High School) in 1964. He began playing guitar during his college years at Pearl River Community College, Auburn University and The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he received a bachelor's degree in history in 1969. He was initiated into the fraternity Kappa Sigma (ΚΣ) at the University of Southern Mississippi. After graduating from college, Buffett worked as a correspondent for Billboard magazine in Nashville, breaking the news of the separation of Flatt and Scruggs.
Buffett married Margie Washichek in 1969 and divorced in 1972. Buffett and his second wife Jane (Jane Slagsvol) have two daughters, Savannah Jane and Sarah Delaney, and an adopted son, Cameron Marley, and reside in Palm Beach, Florida. They were separated in the early 1980s, however, they reconciled in 1991. Buffett also owns a home in St Barts, a Caribbean island where he lived on and off in the early 1980s while he was part-owner of the Autour de Rocher hotel and restaurant.
He is a licensed pilot, holding instrument, single and multi-engine land and sea ratings.
Despite having the surname in common, and the casual friendship which has developed between their families, Jimmy Buffett has no relation to well-known capital investor Warren Buffett.
Buffett began his musical career in Nashville, Tennessee during the late 1960s as a country artist and recorded his first album, the folk rock Down to Earth, in 1970. During this time Buffett could be frequently found busking for tourists in New Orleans. Country music singer Jerry Jeff Walker took him to Key West on a busking expedition. Buffett then moved to Key West and began establishing the easy-going beach bum persona for which he is known. Following this move, Buffett combined country, folk, and pop music with coastal as well as tropical lyrical themes for a sound sometimes called "gulf and western." Today, he is a regular visitor to the Caribbean island of Saint Barts and other islands where he gets inspiration for many of his songs and some of the characters in his books.
Buffett's third album was the 1973 A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. A1A followed in 1974, Havana Daydreamin' appeared in 1976, followed by 1977's Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, which featured the breakthrough hit song "Margaritaville". Many fans believe Buffett's best work was represented by these earlier albums ( COBO-Church of Buffett, Orthodox re the canon)
With the untimely death of friend and mentor Jim Croce in September 1973, ABC Dunhill tapped Buffett to fill his space. Earlier, Buffett had visited Croce's farm in Pennsylvania and met with Croce in Florida (see Jimmy Buffett "The Man from Margaritaville Revealed" - Steve Eng page 144 and "Jimmy Buffett Scrap Book" by Mark Humphrey page 120)
During the 1980s, Buffett made far more money off his tours than albums and became known as a popular concert draw. He released a series of albums during the following twenty years, primarily to his devoted audience, and also branched into writing and merchandising. In 1985, Buffett opened the first of the "Margaritaville" restaurants in Key West, bringing new visibility and life to the Margaritaville name. During the 1980s Buffett played at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. He briefly changed the name of the band from "Coral Reefers" to the "Coral Reef Band" to suit the HLS&R's request as they thought "Reefers" was a drug related reference. HLS&R is a charity event that provides student grants to children and young adults that compete in agriculture contests (FFA).
Two of the more out-of-character albums were Christmas Island, a collection of Christmas songs, and Parakeets, a collection of Buffett songs sung by children and containing "cleaned-up" lyrics (like "a cold root beer" instead of "a cold draft beer").
In 1997, Buffett collaborated with novelist Herman Wouk to create a short-lived musical based on Wouk's novel, Don't Stop the Carnival. Broadway showed little interest in the play, ( post the failure of Paul Simon's The Capeman) and it only ran for six weeks in Miami. He released the soundtrack for the musical in 1998.
In August 2000 Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band played on the White House lawn for then President Bill Clinton.
In 2003, he partnered in a partial duet with Alan Jackson for the song "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," a number one hit on the country charts. This song won the 2003 Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year. This was Buffett’s first award of any kind for his music in his 30 year career.
Buffett's album, License to Chill, released on July 13, 2004, sold 238,600 copies in its first week of release according to Nielsen SoundScan. With this, Buffett topped the U.S. pop albums chart for the first time in his three-decade career.
Buffett continues to tour throughout the year although he has shifted recently to a more relaxed schedule of around 20–30 dates, and rarely on back-to-back nights, preferring to play only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, thus the title of his 1999 live album Buffett Live — Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Purchasing tickets is difficult with most of his concerts selling out in minutes.
In the summer of 2005 Buffett teamed up with Sirius radio and introduced channel 31: Radio Margaritaville, and as of November 2008 is also on XM radio channel 55. Until this point Radio Margaritaville was solely an online channel. The channel broadcasts from the Margaritaville restaurant at Universal CityWalk in Orlando, Florida. The channel is still available online at RadioMargaritaville.com.
In August 2006, he released the album Take The Weather With You. The song "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" on this album refers to 2005's Hurricane Katrina. Also on the album he pays tribute to Merle Haggard with his rendition of "Silver Wings" and covers, with Mark Knopfler playing on the track, "Whoop De Doo."
Of the over 30 albums Jimmy Buffett has released, as of October 2007, he has 8 Gold Albums and 9 Platinum or Multi Platinum Albums. In 2003 Buffett won his first ever Country Music Award (CMA) for his song "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere" with Alan Jackson, and was nominated again in 2007 for the CMA Event of the Year Award for his song "Hey Good Lookin" which featured Alan Jackson and George Strait.
On December 8, 2009, Jimmy Buffett released his 28th studio album entitled Buffet Hotel.
Buffett has written three No. 1 best sellers. Tales from Margaritaville and Where Is Joe Merchant? both spent over seven months on the The New York Times Best Seller fiction list. His book A Pirate Looks At Fifty went straight to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller non-fiction list, making him one of seven authors in that list's history to have reached No. 1 on both the fiction and non-fiction lists. The other six authors who have accomplished this are Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, William Styron, Irving Wallace, Dr. Seuss and Mitch Albom.
Buffett also co-wrote two children's books, The Jolly Mon and Trouble Dolls, with his eldest daughter, Savannah Jane Buffett. The original hard cover release of the The Jolly Mon included a cassette tape recording of him and Savannah Jane reading the story accompanied by an original score written by Michael Utley.
Buffett's novel A Salty Piece of Land, was released on November 30, 2004, and the first edition of the book included a CD single of the song "A Salty Piece Of Land", which was recorded for License to Chill. The book was a New York Times best seller soon after its release.
Buffett's latest title, Swine Not?, was released May 13, 2008.
Buffett is currently writing a follow-up to his autobiography A Pirate Looks at Fifty, which he says may take up to ten years to write and complete.
Buffett wrote the soundtrack for, co-produced and acted in the 2006 film Hoot, directed by Wil Shriner and based on the book by Carl Hiassen, which focuses on issues important to Buffett, such as conservation. The film was not a critical or commercial success. He also wrote and performed the theme song to the short-lived 1993 CBS television series Johnny Bago. He also co-wrote and performed the song "Turning Around" for the 1985 film Summer Rental starring John Candy. He also wrote "I Don't Know (Spicoli's Theme)" for the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High
In addition, Buffett has made several cameo appearances, including in Repo Man, Hook, Cobb, 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. 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", he was seen singing "AIDSburger in Paradise" and "CureBurger in Paradise".
Buffett has taken advantage of his name and the fan following for his music to launch several business ventures, usually with a tropical theme. He owns or licenses the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chains. As a baseball fan, he was part-owner of two minor league teams: the Fort Myers Miracle and the Madison Black Wolf. Between his restaurants, album sales, and tours, he earns an estimated $100 million a year.
In 1993, he launched Margaritaville Records, with distribution through MCA Records. His MCA record deal ended with the release of 1996's Christmas Island and he took Margaritaville Records over to Chris Blackwell's Island Records for a two record deal, 1998's Don't Stop The Carnival and 1999's Beach House On The Moon. In the fall of 1999, he started up Mailboat Records to release live albums. He partnered up with RCA Records for distribution in 2005 and 2006 for the two studio albums License To Chill and Take The Weather With You.
In 2006, Buffett launched a cooperative project with the Anheuser-Busch brewing company to produce his own beer under the Margaritaville Brewing label called Land Shark Lager. In May 2009, Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross and Jimmy Buffett announced that the home stadium of the Miami Dolphins would be renamed LandShark Stadium for the 2009 season.
In June 2007, Buffett, in partnership with Harrah's Entertainment, announced plans to build the Margaritaville Casino & Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi not far from his birthplace of Pascagoula. When completed in the spring of 2010, the resort will feature 798 rooms, a full-service spa, a pool/deck area with cabanas, and tropical landscaping.
Buffett has also licensed Margaritaville Tequila, Margaritaville Shrimp and Margaritaville Footwear.
Collectively Buffett's business interests make up Margaritaville Holdings based out of Palm Beach, Florida. John Cohlan is his Chief Executive Officer.
In 2006, his annual amphitheater tour grossed over $41 million and his Margaritaville restaurant and stores earned more than $15 million.
In 2009, Jimmy Buffett became involved with the Miami Dolphins and due to the popularity of his Landshark Lager, he was able to strike a deal to pay for re-naming right of Dolphin Stadium to Landshark Stadium. Buffett also wrote new lyrics for the team to his 1979 song "Fins", which is played during Dolphins home games.
Buffett has been involved in many charity efforts. In 1981 the Save the Manatee Club was founded by Buffett and former Florida governor Bob Graham. The Save the Manatee Club is the one of the world's most aggressive, confrontational and leading manatee preservation efforts. 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.
The "Singing for Change" foundation was initially funded by proceeds from Buffett's 1995 concert tour, and provides grants to local charities in three main areas: children and family causes, environmental causes, and causes for disenfranchised groups.
On November 23, 2004, Buffett raised substantial money at 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 free, but he also paid for the concertgoers' tequila and beer.
In addition, many Parrothead club activities are focused on charity work, although Buffett is not directly involved with them.
The earliest controversy with Buffett was his recording of "God's Own Drunk" found on the album Living and Dying in ¾ Time. In 1983 the son of the late entertainer Lord Buckley sued Buffett for $11 million for copyright infringement claiming that Buffett took parts of the monologue from Buckley's A Tribute to Buckley and claimed it as his own work in "God's Own Drunk". The suit also alleged that Buffett's "blasphemous" rendition presented to the public a distorted impression of Lord Buckley. They got an injunction against Buffett which prevented him from performing the song until the lawsuit was settled or resolved. So, in 1986 when Buffett would get to the part of his show where he would normally perform "God's Own Drunk," he would say that he still isn't allowed to play it because of the lawsuit and instead played a song he wrote called "The Lawyer and the Asshole" in which he accuses Buckley's son and lawyers as being greedy and tells them to "kiss his ass."
On October 6, 2006, it was reported that Buffett had been detained by French custom 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 Vitamin B supplement known as Foltx.
This was not the first time Buffett had been assumed to be carrying drugs. In January 1996 his Grumman HU-16 airplane nicknamed "Hemisphere Dancer" was shot at by Jamaican police who believed the craft to be smuggling marijuana. The aircraft sustained minimal damage. On board the plane with Buffett were U2's Bono, 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.
On February 4, 2001, he was ejected from the American Airlines Arena in Miami during a Miami Heat/New York Knicks basketball game for cursing. After the game, referee Joe Forte said that he ordered the singer 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."
However, Forte apparently didn't know who he'd just removed from the arena. Heat coach Pat Riley tried to explain who Buffett was to Forte and was censured himself because the referee thought Riley was insulting him by asking if he'd ever been a "Parrothead," the nickname for Buffett fanatics.
Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band are famous for their concerts. Most shows consist of 26–30 songs and two separate encores.
With the exception of Fruitcakes '94 and License to Chill '04, "Come Monday" is played during the first set of the show. Usually, after 12 to 14 songs, a 20-minute intermission is taken while a video plays for the fans.
The first part of the second set usually consists of slower songs. There has never been a tour where "A Pirate Looks at Forty" hasn't been played during the second set.
The first encore usually consists of two songs. After the first song, Buffett introduces the band, and then they segue into the second song. The second encore usually consists of a single acoustic ballad. "A Pirate Looks at Forty" is a typical closer at shows, however, Buffett sometimes takes the opportunity to choose a more obscure song to perform such as:"He Went to Paris", "Changing Channels", "Defying Gravity", "Nautical Wheelers", "Survive", "Tin Cup Chalice", "Twelve Volt Man", or "Distantly in Love"
"Fins", mostly performed during the first encore in recent years, is always preluded by the Jaws theme as a teaser, which gets the fans pumped. Buffett calls out to the Parrotheads, or "land-sharks", to get their "fins up"! The fans raise their hands in the air, in the manner of a dorsal fin, and wave it left and right. "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" usually has a video of local parrotheads in the arena/venue parking lot playing over its performance. "Why Don't We Get Drunk" is sometimes performed in a different style (Tiki Time '03 Hawaiian style, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays '00 performed karaoke style, Banana Wind Tour '96 audience members selected to perform, and Jimmy Jump Up '90 performed sing-along style). "One Particular Harbour" is played for women and men wearing hula-skirts. "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" is performed with Mac McAnally taking Alan Jackson's place.
The band will also often throw in references to and skits about the actual venue they're playing to please home town fans. As an example, when Buffett and the Coral Reefers performed at Fenway Park, Boston, in September 2004, they added a performance of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" featuring Dr. Charles Steinberg on organ, segued "Why Don't We Get Drunk" into Red Sox favorite "Sweet Caroline", and attempted to reverse the Curse of the Bambino (some even claim they were successful, as the Red Sox won their first World Series in over 80 years a few weeks later). Similarly, when playing the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 2009 (Buffett's first London gig for 29 years), the setlist included Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London", a cover that Buffett recorded on the soundtrack to Hoot. Buffett also performed two Beatles songs that he had been playing throughout the Summerzcool tour: "Yellow Submarine" and "Rocky Raccoon".
Buffett will sometimes kick the tour off with an obscure opening cover song. A Salty Piece of Land '05 opened with Little Feat's "Time Loves a Hero" in South Carolina, and Bama Breeze '07 opened with Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" for the majority of the 2007 tour. When a heavy thunderstorm descended on the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA, on June 28, 2007, Jimmy began his show by riding a tricycle on stage and opening the show with "Singin' in the Rain".
Before 2003, songs played at every Buffett show were known as the Big 8. With the success of the Alan Jackson duet "It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere", and the rising popularity of "One Particular Harbour", the list of songs played at every show went from 8 to 10. The "Big 8" were:
Since "Why Don't We Get Drunk" has been knocked off the standards list, there are only nine songs played at almost every show in recent years. However, neither Buffett nor the Coral Reefers have ever used the term "Big 9" for the new line-up.
This list doesn't necessarily mean that those songs have been played at every show. "A Pirate Looks at Forty" was not played during the George, Washington '92 show. "Cheeseburger in Paradise" was excluded from two setlists during the 1998 tour. "One Particular Harbour" was left out of 11 shows during the 1997 tour, not to mention every show during the 1988 & 1989 tour. "Why Don't We Get Drunk" wasn't played at all during the Bama Breeze tour, and has since only returned to be played on an occasional basis. "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes" did not appear during the opening Tiki Time '03 show in Houston. "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" was omitted from first of the two Irvine shows in 2006.
Other notable songs that are played at almost all shows, but have been dropped on occasion, are "Son of a Son of a Sailor", Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" and Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Southern Cross". However, it's not unusual for these three songs to be dropped from a show, therefore they aren't considered a standard.
Gulf and western is a term used to describe the music of Buffett and other similar sounding performers. The name derives from elements in Buffett's early music including musical influence from country and western, along with folk music and lyrical themes from the Gulf of Mexico coast. A 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 name of the former megacorporation Gulf+Western (now part of National Amusements).
Other performers identified as gulf and western are often deliberately derivative of Buffett's musical style and some are tribute bands or, in the case of Greg "Fingers" Taylor, a former member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. They can be heard on Buffett's online Radio Margaritaville and on the compilation album series Thongs in the Key of Life.
Jimmy Buffett (born 1946-12-25) is a singer, songwriter, and recently a film producer best known for his "island escapism" lifestyle and music including hits such as "Margaritaville" and "Come Monday."
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