I was only a teenager when he seemed to hit it big, but he still was a wonderful part of growing up.
ah… you mean, like this?
The man never wrote what I would consider any real heavy hitter songs, but he was nothing if not entertaining. He was also a very savvy businessman with how he built the Margaritaville brand. He’ll be missed. I’m glad I got to see him play in person.
I find myself signing along with his tunes. One of the few performer works I know that well.
Fortunate to see what turned out to be his last concert this past May in San Diego.
I didnt realize you know sign language Greg.
Jimmy Buffett Departs With the Summer
He understood our longings. May he find a cheeseburger in paradise, medium rare with Muenster’d be nice.
Jimmy Buffett PHOTO: SAVANNAH JANE BUFFETT
There was always a sly grin, a sweetly sardonic message, in just about everything Jimmy Buffett sang or did. So if he had to die, of course it would be at the beginning of Labor Day weekend—summer’s end, the annual last breath of looseness and laughter.
Except his own life, and his work, was based on the intoxicating premise that summers go on and on, that if you love them fiercely enough you can will them never to stop. A gauzy and unreachable fantasy? Absolutely, for most men and women in the workaday world. But Buffett both sensed and shared their yearning and turned it into a gloriously pleasurable touring career, and a marketable concept that transformed his easy-to-embrace dream into a business empire.
Because he instinctively understood his audiences’ longings, and knew that they echoed his own, he was able to distill that longing into seemingly simple words that reached listeners like notes stuffed into a bottle cast out to sea. From his song “Fins”: “She came down from Cincinnati, it took her three days on a train / Looking for some peace and quiet, hoped to see the sun again . . .”
He recognized that the specific logic behind people’s secret hungers didn’t require elaborate explanation: “Don’t know the reason, stayed here all season,” he sang in “Margaritaville,” and not knowing the reason seemed reason enough. Although if you listened closely to the words he and his band sang from all those outdoor stages, the urgency of an escape was evident: “I’m gettin’ paid by the hour, and older by the minute . . .”
The rearview mirror, ever crooking its finger to pull in the driver’s gaze, is something Buffett was acutely aware of and doggedly did his best to resist. From “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”: “Oh, yesterday’s over my shoulder, so I can’t look back for too long / There’s just too much to see, waiting in front of me . . .”
Life’s pleasures, in the musical world Buffett created, didn’t need to be extravagant: a lost shaker of salt, shrimp on the boil, the feel of an acoustic guitar’s strings on your fingertips as you sit on the front porch swing. Too rudimentary, in a society conditioned to glitter and glitz? Hardly. How can you not smile, and salivate, when you hear the words: “Making the best of every virtue and vice, worth every damn bit of sacrifice, to get a cheeseburger in paradise”?
Heaven on earth with an onion slice, Buffett declared, and who is to doubt him? He saw the grayness in 9-to-5 life, the preposterousness in many of the things we tell ourselves are so essential, and reminded his audiences: “With all of our running and all of our cunning / If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”
Buffett has departed at 76, and summer is ending, but be of good heart: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
James Taylor tribute for Jimmy on his Facebook page:
Jimmy Buffett invented his own character, which, in a sense we all do: invent, assemble, inherit, or fall into our inner identity. But Jimmy was the founder of an actual tribe: tens of thousands of us made our way to where he was holding court, just to be near him.
People say he was a lord of life and that’s true: somewhere between Falstaff and the pirate, Jean Laffite. But to me, my friend Jimmy Buffet was a real example of a man: no puffed up defensive macho ■■■■■■■■■ but a model of how to enjoy the great gift of being alive. And that’s what he shared so generously with us: a positive enthusiasm at being here. That so few of us knew how ill he was is essential Jimmy Buffett: he had no intention of burdening us with his illness.
He told me a story about him and Savannah wake surfing in a harbor somewhere: there was a huge freighter leaving port and Jimmy got the captain on the radio. The guy was a ParrotHead and he adjusted his course and speed to give Jimmy the perfect ride. And what a ride it’s been.
So long old pal.
Paul McCartney tribute:
It seems that so many wonderful people are leaving this world, and now Jimmy Buffett is one of them. I’ve known Jimmy for some time and found him to be one of the kindest and most generous people.
I remember once on holiday when I had forgotten to bring my guitar and was itching to play. He said he would get me one of his, but I said, ‘I’m left-handed’. So, Jimmy had his roadie restring one of his guitars which he loaned me for the duration of the holiday. He then followed this act of generosity by giving me my own beautiful left-handed guitar that had been made by one of his guitar-making pals. It’s a beautiful instrument, and every time I play it now it’ll remind me of what a great man Jimmy was.
He had a most amazing lust for life and a beautiful sense of humour. When we swapped tales about the past his were so exotic and lush and involved sailing trips and surfing and so many exciting stories that it was hard for me to keep up with him.
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.
Last, but not least, is his songwriting and vocal ability. If someone made an interesting remark he repeated it in his gorgeous Louisiana drawl and said, ‘That’s a good idea for a song’. Most times it didn’t take too long for that song to appear. I was very happy to have played on one of his latest songs called ‘My Gummy Just Kicked In’. We had a real fun session and he played me some of his new songs. One, in particular, I loved was the song, ‘Bubbles Up’. And I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever. He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life when you’re confused and don’t know where you are just follow the bubbles - they’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.
So long, Jim. You are a very special man and friend and it was a great privilege to get to know you and love you. Bubbles up, my friend.
Jimmy Buffett and Paul Simon: