Towards the end
of the magical 2013 Mariner trip, things came full circle
for me in Cozumel.
Marla and I have
a well-established tradition of taking at least one long walk
on every trip. I had never visited downtown Cozumel,
so this seemed like a good place to extend our tradition.
After an hour walk or so, guess what we found?
Cozumel. How could we resist?
appeared out of nowhere at the perfect time, I took that as a good omen.
I had definitely undergone a 'Changes in Latitude, Changes in
Attitude' transformation on this trip. Noting the loyalty of
my friends towards Jimmy Buffet,
I considered it
an honor to visit this place and show
The moment we walked into
Cozumel's Margaritaville, I felt at home. Considering I had never been inside a
'Margaritaville' before, it was odd to feel
such an immediate kinship to the place. Obviously my
talks with Jim had made me receptive.
Once I was inside, I
noticed videos of Jimmy Buffett concerts playing
above the various bars. I picked a spot at the bar directly under
one of the monitors and began watching. As I studied the videos, I found myself
intrigued with the "Jimmy Buffett Mystique".
The first thing I
noticed was the immense size of the crowds at Buffett's
concerts. These crowds formed a giant ocean of humanity.
There were people stretched from sea to shining sea. Good grief!!
Some guy sitting next to me at the bar said the man has played to
regular crowds of 40,000.
I didn't understand the
size of those crowds at all. To my knowledge, this guy has
recorded one hit record in his entire life. So how on earth
did this guy parlay one hit record into gigantic crowds the Beatles
or the Stones would be proud of? Or for that matter the
legendary Grateful Dead?
I took my eyes off the
screen and looked around the bar. The place was jam-packed
both inside and outside. I didn't see a single empty table.
Here is what's funny about that... during our walk, Marla and I had passed a dozen Mexican bars. Every one of
them had been completely empty. Now I knew why... it looked
like every tourist in Cozumel was here instead.
This situation was clear
evidence that Life is cruel. Every other place in town was
empty; this place was hopping. What those bars wouldn't do for
just a few of these patrons to come to their joint. It all boils down to reputation.
A crowd creates a crowd; an empty bar stays empty.
As I studied the various
people in the bar,
my first impression was they were all aging
hippies. Most of them had long hair and wore
Hawaiian shirts with shorts and flip-flops. They all had
dark tans from too many days
in the sun.
add they all looked deliriously stoned, more likely on margaritas
than marijuana. Wasted away in Margaritaville.
Born in 1946, Buffett is
72. He's a little round in the middle and a little thin on
top and really short. Not an impressive guy to look at, definitely an unlikely music star.
From what I gather, Buffett is so non-descript he likes to wander
around before a concert to take the pulse of the crowd. He
remains totally anonymous in
baseball cap, sunglasses, T-shirt and shorts.
Unless he makes the mistake of chatting with someone, no one ever
notices King Parrothead is among them. Too funny.
But watch him perform his signature song, "Margaritaville," before a
crowd of 20,000-40,00 and you could mistake Buffett for the
leader of some strange tropical cult. They call themselves Parrotheads and dress in bizarre ceremonial garb. They know all the
hymns by heart and sing right along with their hero. Buffett is the walking talking Pied Piper of Parrot
As Marla and sat
in Margaritaville Cozumel sipping margaritas of our very
own, it crossed my mind
I had seen other Margaritaville Clubs during my travels across the
Caribbean. I had definitely seen one in Key West. I had
definitely seen one in Jamaica. There was a new one in Cayman
and I had seen a Margaritaville in Puerto Rico too. And now
here. The more I thought about it, other locations came to
mind.... St Thomas, maybe St Maarten.
Good grief, these clubs are everywhere!
The Caribbean is infested with them! The
strange thing is here in Cozumel was the first time I had ever actually taken
notice. That is when it struck me. This Buffett
guy must be one heck of a smart
Then I saw
a the goofy picture of Buffett from his early days hanging on the wall
of the bar and did a double take. There was a serious
disconnect in my mind between the stoner on the wall and the
director of a massive corporate empire. How on
earth did Buffett put this giant empire together??
On the spot
I decided to
learn more about Jimmy Buffett, so when I got home I began to
research. The first two things that
caught my eye were that he is a college graduate (University of
Southern Mississippi) and that his
concerts make way more money than his
albums. Now how is that possible?
Buffett has one major hit to his name, he doesn't dance, he doesn't
play a fancy guitar, he doesn't blow anything up, his lyrics are
hardly inflammatory, and he is by far the least imposing figure on
the stage. When it comes to gimmicks, the best Buffett can do
is throw a few beach balls into the crowd. Oh wow! But
no one can deny his success, can they?
From what I saw on those videos, the
man is clearly a marvelous crowd pleaser. Everyone knows that
if they go to one of his concerts, they are going to end up having
lots of laughs, way too much fun, and leave with a huge smile on
But none of this
explains the vast empire. How did he do it?
I mean, yes, the
man has a nice voice, but let's face it,
most famous song, is rated no
higher than 234th on the Recording Industry Association of
America's list of Songs of the Century.
Even more ridiculous, I could not even name another one of his songs until I researched this story.
Let's see if you are
smarter than me. Try
naming the other song Buffett is most famous for.
I will answer shortly.
And that is when it hit
me. I was completely
awestruck to realize that Buffett had
parlayed one really good song -
into this amazing string of clubs
spanning the Caribbean.
This guy is
serious big business. A cursory list
of the locations for his
clubs tells the story.
Florida (opened 1985)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Negril, Jamaica (both opened 1996)
Orlando, Florida (1999)
Cancún, Mexico (2002)
Ocho Rios, Jamaica (2002)
Las Vegas at the Flamingo Hotel (2003)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (2004)
Turks and Caicos Islands (2006)
Cayman Islands (2006)
Cozumel, Mexico (2007)
Panama City Beach, Florida (2006)
Uncasville, Connecticut at Mohegan Sun casino (2008)
Honolulu, Hawaii (2009)
Niagara Falls Ontario, Canada (2011)
Pensacola Beach, Florida (2011)
Nashville, Tennessee (2010)
Chicago, Illinois (2011)
Biloxi, Mississippi (2012)
Sydney, Australia (2012)
Cincinnati, Ohio (2013)
Falmouth, Jamaica (2013)
Atlantic City, New Jersey (2013)
Destin, Florida (2014)
Syracuse, New York (2015)
Nassau, Bahamas (2015)
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (2015)
Bloomington, Minnesota (2016)
San Antonio, Texas (2016)
Universal City, California (2017)
Cleveland, Ohio (2017)
The list is 30,
most of them in the last ten years. Wherever I go - Key West,
Jamaica, Cayman, Cozumel - there will be a
friendly Margaritaville inviting me in. In addition, there are hotels, retail outlets
for his merchandise, resorts and casinos.
I read an article
that Buffett is worth somewhere around $600,000, more than Elton John, Kanye
West, and Taylor Swift combined.
That's a lot of money for a
guy who cannot even afford to wear a pair of shoes at his concerts.
You have to
wonder if Jimmy could give his namesake Warren Buffett a run
for his money. Incidentally, these guys are buddies.
Jimmy calls him “Uncle Warren” and Warren calls him “Cousin
Jimmy”. Warren has
been both a friend and business mentor to Jimmy.My next thought was even
more profound. It dawned on me that Jimmy Buffett might
actually be the best businessman of any singer in history.
From what I
gather, only Paul McCartney is worth more than Buffet.
However, Paul cheated... he had more hit songs. I am
starting to believe that of all the successful musicians in
history, Jimmy Buffett is the best businessman of them all.
In fact, I doubt anyone else comes even close. And yet
how many people know this??
I begin to think
of Jimmy Buffett in the same way I thought of the
Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead had the Dead Heads
who formed the most amazing fan base in history.
And yet name me one song
they are famous for. Unless you are a rock 'n roll expert,
good luck. When it comes to the Grateful Dead, I bet you come up empty on
name that tune.
Although Buffett's music isn't that well known outside of
his loyal fans, he is famous nonetheless. Now that the Grateful Dead
Era born in the Sixties has passed, Buffett's Parrot
Heads have replaced the Dead Heads as a
one is quite sure where to find the road to success,
but Jimmy Buffett
obviously dug up the treasure map on one of those
beaches he hangs out at.
Here is a good example.
Buffett seems to have the ability to be in the right place at the
right time. Did you know that Buffett
was 'Pirate of the Caribbean' before Pirates became cool?
Back in 1974, long before
anyone even knew who he was, Buffet released a song called "A
Pirate Looks at 40". Considering Buffett was only 27 at
the time, it is a very odd song.
Yes, I am a pirate
two hundred years too late
Cannons don't thunder
there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late
But I've done a bit of smugglin'
I've run my share of grass
Made enough money to buy Miami
But I pissed it away so fast
Never meant it to last
As Buffett's career began to pick up, this
song was always one of Buffett's more popular issues. Then the
song became positively radioactive when
the movie Pirates of the Caribbean became a
huge phenomenon. Always quick to see
an opportunity, Buffett had the sense to
integrate the pirate angle into his beach daze schtick.
Today his Pirate song is part of Buffett's "Big 8", a list of songs that he
plays at almost all his concerts, and always during the important
second set. Buffett seems to know exactly what he is doing and
when to do it. Another big favorite of his is 'Brown Eyed
Girl' by Van Morrison. Considering all the hits he has, I
have to wonder if that song has a personal meaning to Buffett.
I was always
curious how one would categorize Buffett's
music. A quick peek at Wikipedia gave me the answer.
says he is sort of Country Western, but to be specific,
his music is classified as "Gulf and Western".
I had to smile.
you guessed his second biggest song
yet? If you are stuck, here's a
hint. Jimmy Buffett was considered an
industry lightweight for much of his career.
However, in 2003,
Buffett finally broke through. After 30 years in the
business, he won his first award. It was a Country-Music Award for a duet with Alan Jackson.
Did that shake the name loose?
may just be a state of mind, but Buffett has transformed
the song into a
He has branched off from the Caribbean to
own places in Vegas, Memphis, Florida, Canada, Australia and on the
Beneath the shorts and the T-shirts
and flip-flops beats the heart of anything but a beach bum.
Buffett has the uncanny ability to
merchandise virtually ANYTHING... apparel, Shark Beer, Margarita
mix, Shaker of Salt Margarita mugs, hanging parrots, neon
Margaritaville wall clocks, surfboards, sailboats, neon
Margaritaville bar signs, Margaritaville kiddie swimming pools,
Margaritaville mousepads, a Jimmy Buffet photograph album. The
list is endless. He even has his own Broadway play now,
an acclaimed new musical, "Escape to Margaritaville."
And get this...
Buffett is planning a billion dollar retirement community in
Daytona Beach. My guess is we should book our spot now
because I predict it will sell out.
By the way, have you guessed the
prize-winning song yet? "Cheeseburger in Paradise".
Nah, that's not it. Nice try though. Keep
So how did
Buffett do it? Seriously, HOW???? We will get to
that in a minute, but for now let's answer the trivia
Somewhere" is the
song that took the prize.
2003 was Jimmy Buffett's
breakthrough year. It all started innocently enough
when Alan Jackson, the country music superstar, asked Buffett for help recording a new song called
"It's Five O'Clock Somewhere".
lifted a finger on the way to winning his first and only major music award. As Buffett
"I didn't write a single lyric.
All I did was walk in the studio. I
sang for a total of 24 seconds on the record. I was there
literally for about 20 minutes
And then the song became
this huge hit. I had one person after
another slapping me on the back, but I didn't do flip past humming a
“It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere”
has a lot in common with “Margaritaville”.
Both songs make us laugh because we've all been to both
places in our minds. But after we stop laughing, we realize both songs are about
heartbreak. Take away the
humor in Margaritaville and we find a guy
drinking himself to oblivion over a failed love affair.
Take away the catchy island beat
from the 5 O'Clock song
and we uncover a story about a man who is so miserable
that he can’t bring himself to return to work from his lunch
“I’m getting paid by the hour,
and older by the minute,” the song
goes. “My boss just pushed me over the limit.”
All this guy does is work, work,
work. The guy hasn’t taken a vacation day in a
year. He knows that there
will be consequences tomorrow, but he doesn’t care
anymore. What's the point?
The guy can’t face it for another afternoon.
Just keep pouring
of the theme behind these two hit songs might explain why
Alan Jackson called up his buddy Jim and asked him to
spent weeks at the top of the country music charts.
so successful it received the Country Music Association award
for Vocal Event of the Year. Buffett
accepted a CMA award, his first honor in
a 37-year career.
Buffett was almost at a
loss to know what to think.
"I didn't know how to act,
because I'd never been to anything like that
ceremony before. I've never won
anything for anything. I've never won a talent contest.
I didn't know what I was gonna say, other than I was gonna
thank my wife first. As I walked up to the stage,
I prayed I wasn't gonna get nervous and forget
down to earth funny, that's Jimmy Buffett. But at the
same time, Buffett knows how to take an opportunity and run
with it. On the heels
of the CMA award, Buffett recruited some of the biggest
names in country music to help out on his latest record, "License to
Chill". When you're hot, you're hot.
The success of this album took everyone by surprise when
it debuted on the
charts at #1. License
would become Buffett's one and only
Number One album of his career.
"At 57, to have a
#1 album, wow,
wasn't expecting it. What
a relief to escape my demon. Maybe I have some talent after
exactly motivates Jimmy Buffett?
What does he mean by "escaping his demon"?
you need to know. Buffett was... dare I say it?...
something of a loser back when he was in his twenties.
"Lots of people
ask what keeps me going. I can only say the first thing that
pops into my mind is an experience from years ago.
stopping at some random Holiday Inn
for a quick beer and sandwich while I was driving somewhere.
I remember seeing
this poor, has-been country singer working
in the bar.
No one was clapping, no one was even listening. The expressions on the guy's face scared me to death. It was obvious that this guy had
been somebody that'd been there and come back down.
This guy's fate
shook me up. I didn't want to sit there in the dark some night
and say to myself, 'Hey Jimmy,
remember back in 1977?
I had this one
big hit, "Margaritaville."
I was really special back then.'
I told myself I
wanted to keep my foot on the pedal. I did not want
to be one of those people in free fall.
I never wanted to take that run
back down the hill."
You know, the more I read about
Jimmy Buffett, the more I like him. Jimmy
Buffett is pure rags to riches.
His rise to fame and fortune is a very interesting
He was born in
Pascagoula, Mississippi. Back in the Sixties,
Buffett was something of a
wanderer. He attended three different colleges on his way to a
degree in journalism. He was married just out of college in 1969 and
divorced soon after. His life was going nowhere fast.
a nobody folk singer whose songs interested no one.
He was at best a wannabe performer.
Forced to make money,
Buffett took a job writing
rock schlock for Billboard Magazine in Nashville. His big claim to fame was breaking the news of Flatt and Scruggs
separating. Apparently that was big news back then, especially
for fans of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.
listen to the story about a man named Jed, poor
mountaineer, barely kept his family fed."
Buffett's writing gig
barely covered the bills. Working on the fringes of the music
scene in Nashville and New Orleans, Buffett was so broke
that he often played guitar on New Orleans sidewalks for
tips. There were times he didn't
eat until someone took pity on him and put some money in his jar.
His time as a
dirt poor musician helps explain why New Orleans holds such
a grip on his imagination. Buffett has played Jazz
Fest a dozen times and made unannounced guest appearances
as well. New Orleans is Buffett's unofficial home
town. He loves to wander the streets and
remember back when he had so little going for him. As
a mega millionaire, Buffett tries everything in his power
not to lose touch with his improbable rise from dead broke to
I am not sure if you
would call it a 'break', but the major turning point in his life
came in 1971. That's when a buddy of his, Jerry Jeff Walker ("Up Against the
Wall Red-Necked Mutha")
invited him to come along
for a trip to Key
Key West, it is a small town on an island at the
southernmost point of the USA. It is very close to
being the end of the world. Maybe that's why
Buffett loved the place. He
was 25 and short on cash. Buffett
he made more money playing sidewalk tunes
here than any place he
had ever been. When
Jerry Jeff Walker left, Buffett
decided to stick around.
For a couple years he
mixed with drifters, marijuana smugglers, down and out writers and a weird
assortment of cultural pirates.
It was in Key West that Buffett developed the easy-going
beach bum persona for which he is known. Although
he actually wrote "Wasting
Away in Margaritaville" in
Austin, Texas, of all places, Buffett's
anthem is a
semi-autobiographical song inspired
by his early days in Key West.
has come to symbolize a carefree Caribbean lifestyle.
For many people, the only time they experience this way of
living is on vacations or Jimmy Buffet concerts, but they
dream about it every single day at work. Buffett has a
lot of fans who work very hard, make a lot of money, and use
his music to fuel their dreams of escape.
Regarding the success of this
song, Buffett has said: "I was lucky enough to get my thumb
on the pulse beat of what people perceived the tropics to
be, a place to chill."
After studying Buffett's
career, it strikes me that one of Buffett's gifts is his ability to
observe people and sing about them in clever and quite ironic ways.
little known verse from the
is a good example.
It was left off his original recording to make
Old men in tank tops,
Cruisin' the gift shops,
Checkin' out chiquitas,
down by the shore
They dream about weight loss,
Wish they could be their own boss
Those three-day vacations can be such a bore.
I cannot help but smile. Buffett nailed it. Those acid lyrics are so right on! You really have
to visit Key West to realize how perfectly this
captures the place.
When Marla and I visited Key West for the first time on our
2004 Honeymoon Cruise, I saw countless
street bums dressed
in tank tops. They wandered around
the place lost in an aimless daze.
Therefore it makes sense
that anyone playing street music in this place would have an
The bums just stand around anyway, so why not go check out the music
and stand there instead? Now you know the secret of
Buffett's Key West success... he sang songs about oblivion to
people who were oblivious.
When I returned home, I wrote a highly satirical
story about the
Zombies of Key West.
You will be intrigued to know my story
also talks about Ernest Hemingway. Did you know that two Key
West bars were once locked in a costly
legal duel to the death over which bar had the right to claim
Hemingway as their most famous drunk?
Buffett's best friend Captain Tony Tarracino figured prominently in
the story. No surprise there.
It must be deeply ironic that the first real success Buffett
ever experienced in his career was a song about his days as
Well, today Jimmy Buffett is hardly a loser. Sometimes a man just
needs to catch a break. Ask me, I know.
I remember full well calling myself the
'Creepy Loser Kid' at one
point in my life. My 33 year career with
SSQQ started when I finally emerged from
a wretched pool of sorrow and self-pity.
After being thrown out of graduate school,
it took a very strange dance class and a very strange friend to pull me out of
So I know what the
bottom feels like.
This explains why I relate to
Buffett's personal story so keenly.
No doubt my sad tale would make a great Buffett song. Too bad
I can't write lyrics.
Buffett never imagined
creating an Empire. But that's what happened. Buffett
learned about the music business after college when he wrote
for Billboard magazine. There he saw how poorly the music
industry took care of its artists.
indentured servitude, and it still is,” Buffett said.
tried to stand up to the record companies, but it was
impossible. Buffett signed with MCA Records (now Universal). He
wanted to keep his publishing rights, but the label would not
give him a record deal unless it owned everything.
“If you apply
supply and demand, there’s always a supply of talent who’s
willing to do anything if you aren’t. If you don't
sign on the dotted line, someone else will.”
So what choice
did Buffett have?
Then one day
Buffett realized that even if you were the supply, you could
also be the supply chain.
“It’s up to you
to figure out how to take advantage or to manage whatever
you’re going to do,” Buffett said. “Margaritaville” was a hit in
1977. So maybe I don't have complete control over my music.
But more important, I realized I could build on my song in a
different way. On that day, Margaritaville®
out a way to sell merchandise based on the song's
Margaritaville Empire started in 1985.
That is when Buffett opened a Margaritaville retail store in
Key West. The store did so well
Buffett was encouraged to try another venture. Two years later
in 1987, he opened Margaritaville Cafe in Key West.
From that point, one good thing led to another.
In 2013 there
were over 20 locations. In
2018 there are 30 locations. Jimmy Buffet's empire continues
to grow at an amazing clip.
Stop and think about it.
think of a similar situation where someone parlayed a hit song into a vast empire. There have been a lot of one-hit wonders in
the music industry, but there's never been anyone like Jimmy Buffett
One of the things that
makes Buffett so interesting is his versatility. Buffett is not just
a performer, businessman and songwriter, he is an accomplished book writer as
His book "A Pirate Looks At Fifty" went straight
to No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller non-fiction list
That accomplishment put
him in company with another Key West notable, none other than Ernest Hemingway
Buffett is one of seven authors in 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.
Nice company. I
like the Dr. Seuss comparison. It fits. Horton Hears a
Who and Eats a Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Between his restaurants, album sales,
books, and tours, Buffett is among the richest singers in the world with a net worth of
and growing by the day. Even at 72, Buffett tours the country
relentlessly to the joy of his many fans.
has homes all over the United States, including Sag Harbor, NY, Palm Beach, Florida, and St. Barts in the Leeward Islands of
the Caribbean. He has his own yacht and he has his own
airplane. Definitely not in any
danger of going downhill, Buffett's recurring nightmare.
Note: I would like to conclude my story of
Jimmy Buffett with some personal observations.
When Marla and I
visited New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2018, we were able to catch
a 90 minute Jimmy Buffett performance along with our friends
Jim and Cindy.
The show was
vintage Buffett. Beach balls flew through the air,
Hawaiian shirts stretched as far as the eye could see while Parrothead hats
bobbed to the beat of the island sound. Jimmy Buffett
was so relaxed on stage, you could see he's a seasoned
performer. Buffett radiates warmth. The crowd
can feel it and so can his fellow performers. They
appear to love the guy.
For his 12th time at Jazz Fest (not counting his many guest
appearances over the years), Buffett performed with the
Acoustic Airmen, an all-star group of players that included
Country Music Association Musician of the Year Mac McAnally
along with Louisiana's legendary Sonny Landreth on slide guitar.
interesting to note how willing Buffett is to give credit to
the talented artists around him. Case in point, guest
player Jake Shimabukuro from Hawaii was allowed to steal the
show with his ukulele solo. At one point, Buffett put
down his guitar and walked aside, abdicating the stage to Shimabukuro and drummer Robert Greenidge as they performed "While
My Guitar Gently Weeps" on ukulele and steel drums.
The crowd ate it up. Another time, Buffett and
everyone else but McAnally left the stage to take a break
backstage. Buffett has no need to be the constant
center of attention.
Much has been
written recently about Buffett not properly living the "Jimmy Buffett
Lifestyle". How dare Buffett be so rich while continuing
to embrace the joy of dropping out to pursue the joys of Tiki
Poverty. It doesn't seem right that the world's most
famous beach bum runs a multi-media empire while
simultaneously preaching his sand-in-the-toes lifestyle.
None of that seemed to matter to the vast legions of Jazz
Fest Parrotheads. Seriously, the Jazz Fest crowd was
pretty darn wealthy in its own right... these tickets were
No one seemed to mind
that this unusual barefoot guy on stage might be wealthier
than Donald Trump himself. All they cared about was hearing
the hits from a guy who began his career as a nobody
hustling for tips on the French Quarter streets more than 40
years ago. They truly love Jimmy Buffett in New
For his part, Buffett
embraced his roots. He made sure to make frequent references to his days as
drifter who made it good. When Buffett
told the tale of his first visit to Jazz Fest, "I ran into a
chum with a bottle of rum and wound up at Jazz Fest", the
crowd went wild. Surely every starving musician in the
crowd had a blinding vision of getting their own break some
day. Let's acknowledge the obvious... Jimmy Buffett is a hero to every musician
who has ever heard his rags to riches story.
From my own
vantage point, I see the story of Jimmy Buffett as proof
that Fate may very well play an important role in our lives.
This is the man
who with virtually no help made it up through the ranks in
the School of Hard Knocks to find a music niche no one ever
dreamed existed. I doubt even Jimmy Buffett himself knew there
was a market for island escapism.
But what the guy
did know is that he had been handed the break of a lifetime.
Given this small window of opportunity, Buffett had the
sense and the talent to parlay his lucky break into a
commercial empire. I for one wish to tip my hat to the man.
is one thing about Buffett that most people don't get... has
any famous person in history been more anonymous? This
is the same guy who can walk right past his own fans and
they don't even recognize him.
Jimmy Buffet is the Rodney Dangerfield of the music industry.
This is truly a man who gets
NO RESPECT. Here is a story that bears out my point
On February 4,
2001, Buffett was ejected from a professional basketball game
in Miami for cursing a bad call.
After the game,
NBA referee Joe Forte said he ordered some old guy to be removed because "there was a little boy
sitting next to the guy and a lady sitting by him. He
used some words he knows he shouldn't have used."
Joe Forte had no
idea who Buffett was. In fact, Forte lost his temper
again after the game when Miami Heat basketball coach Pat Riley tried to explain who Buffett was. When Riley asked the referee if
he knew what a "Parrothead" was, Forte got
angry because he thought Riley
was trying to insult him.
Part of this is
Buffett's own fault. Jimmy Buffett is so humble it is
painful. This is a guy who absolutely refuses to toot
his own horn. He maintains such a low profile that
most people have no idea the extent of his accomplishments.
They write him off as a modestly talented one hit wonder and
leave it at that.
Although it is
probably correct to label
Jimmy Buffett as a
one-hit wonder, I would like to add that he is also the
undisputed, most successful
one hit wonder of all time. I am
fairly positive this is one achievement that will never be challenged.
As it stands in
2018, Jimmy Buffett is not in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame.
Why not? Non-fans question the talent of a man whose
mellow pop ballads fail to elicit real passion. Some
believe that unless a song makes young girls scream, who
cares? There is
little value in honoring curious lyrics about a lifestyle most people
would dismiss as 'escapism'.
Jimmy Buffett is special because he is an example of what is
good about the music industry. He makes people happy!
As anyone who has ever been to a Jimmy
Buffett concert will testify, this is a man who makes us all
feel part of something bigger and better than ourselves.
He an avatar of goodwill, a man who preaches the message
that it is okay to kick back and enjoy life once in a while,
especially if it involves family and friendship. A person cannot
leave a Buffett concert and not come away feeling so much
more light-hearted for the visit.
I contend Jimmy
Buffett has brought more happiness to people than any other
rock star in history. That should count for something.
I am proud to be a Parrothead.
So I leave you
with two small regrets. One belongs to Jim Hudson and
the other one is mine.
very sad not to hear 'Cheeseburgers in Paradise'.
I tried to console him, but Jim was forlorn not to hear his
beloved Jimmy-Boy sing his personal favorite song.
As for me, I am
still dying to learn the inside story about the failed
romance that inspired 'Margaritaville'.
As the three choruses reveal, while the narrator is
drowning in sorrow over his failed romance, his friends are
telling him his former girlfriend is the one who is at
fault. However, the narrator isn't so sure.
The last line of
each chorus shows his shifting attitude toward the
first: "it's nobody's fault."
then: "hell, it could be my fault."
finally: "it's my own damn fault."
favorite part of the song! Who is she? If anyone knows
the story, I am ready to be enlightened.
In parting, I would like
to share Jimmy Buffett's own words about his unusual career from a 60
Jimmy Buffett says he's a
"I know so many people
who hate their jobs," says
Buffett. "And I love my job. I really do. It gets more
exciting every day.
high-pressure situations and high-pressure jobs use my fantasy
world as an escape from the rigors of life. I
think escapism is something that, you know, if you asked me,
'What's my job in a nutshell?', I would say I sell escapism.
I understand that I
have been anointed the king of the kicked-back lifestyle.
And it's been wonderful for me. I feel so privileged to
have fans that are so loyal.
But on some days, I
want to go up to some of those people and say, 'Hey, man, get a
You know? This
world I created, it's just made up, you know? It's all make
believe. It's one thing to be
a kid without a direction, but at some point you get a job and
you work to make something of yourself.
Hey, if life knocks
you down, you get back up and start swinging. You can't
spend the rest of your life wasting away in Margaritaville."
Amen to that.