The music world has lost another legend, as Jimmy Buffett has died at the age of 76. The singer-songwriter, best known for performing such songs as “Margaritaville,” “Come Monday” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” with his Coral Reefer Band for an avid fanbase of “Parrotheads,” passed away Friday evening (Sept. 1).
“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,” read a posting that graces his website as well as all of his socials. A cause of death was not given.
Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi and spent part of his childhood in Alabama. As a child, his grandfather used to take him sailing and his experiences on the ocean often played into his songwriting. The singer picked up the guitar during his freshman year at Auburn University, and later worked as the first mate aboard the yacht of industrialist Foster Taige. It was there he began to craft what he would call “drunk Caribbean rock ‘n’ roll.”
The singer started his music career in the late ’60s, working initially as a country artist before adding element of folk and rock to his sound. While recording his own music, Buffett continued to hone his craft busking on the streets of New Orleans and eventually Key West after an invite from country vet Jerry Jeff Walker.
He scored his first major hit with “Come Monday” in 1974 off his third studio album, Living and Dying in 3/4 Time. But it would be four more albums and three more years before a follow-up hit would come in “Margaritaville,” which to this day remains the singer’s signature song. Featured on the 1977 album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, the album also featured the title track.
After that, his career began to blossom, going on to release such fan favorites as “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Livington Saturday Night,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” and “Another Saturday Night.” Buffett also paired with country star Alan Jackson on the 2003 No. 1 country song “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” and also scored a country chart-topper with Zac Brown Band on “Knee Deep” in 2011.
In total, he released 31 studio albums with his 32nd, Equal Strain on All Parts, expected in 2023.
Buffett’s creative side also led him to write books as well. Three of his books – “Tales From Margaritaville,” “Where Is Joe Merchant?” and his memoir “A Pirate Looks at Fifty” – all topped the New York Times’ Best Seller list. He also co-wrote the children’s book “The Jolly Moon.” The singer parlayed his fame into several TV and film roles as well.
Buffett also parlayed his musical success into a number of business ventures including the Margaritaville Cafe in Key West, the Landshark Bar & Grill in Baltimore and a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant. The singer was part-owner of two minor league baseball teams, licensed Margaritaville tequila, launched Margaritaville Records and opened Margaritaville casinos.
The singer’s concerts attracted a loyal following, but earlier this year he was forced to reschedule some shows and acknowledged that he had been hospitalized.
Revisit some of Jimmy Buffett’s most well-known works below.
Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville”
Jimmy Buffett, “Come Monday”
Jimmy Buffett, “Cheeseburger in Paradise”
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