For many of us, he was symbolic of a mindset, a world view that had been expressed twenty years before by a gap-toothed Alfred E. Neuman: “What, me worry?”
Jimmy Buffett’s version of coping with life’s hassles included but a few ingredients: Beach sand, Hawaiian shirts, and no more exertion than was required to throw back a few Margaritas. His laid-back musical style earned him the nickname, “rock’s romantic poet-pirate” by Rolling Stone. His song, “Margaritaville” was so influential, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016 for its cultural and historic significance. It became a karaoke standard and helped brand the music coming out of Key West, Florida as a distinct sound of music genre called, “Gulf and Western.” Similar Jimmy Buffett songs inspired his fans, “Parrotheads,” to strive for a simplicity of life to be happy, but Margaritaville itself was often called the most lucrative song ever written when one considers the themed restaurants, bars, apparel, and even small appliances that it spawned. (As an aside, the Margarita was invented in 1942 by a Mexican (now Mexican-American) named Francisco Morales who named the drink after a flower, not a girl. You can read that story here).
Buffett’s fans may have embraced Buffett’s beach bum lifestyle, but Buffett, himself, didn’t rest on his lanai lazily strumming his guitar. Jimmy Buffett parlayed his beach bum soft rock style into a multimillion brand that put him at No. 18 in Forbes’ list of the Richest Celebrities of All Time.
He had a net worth of $1 billion.
Not bad for a guy whose highest charting solo single was about coming home from a bar, losing one of his flip-flops, stepping on a beer can top, and not being able to find the salt for his Margarita.
In case you weren’t paying attention in 1977, here’s what you missed:
We lost count of how many dogs we met back in the day who’d been named, “Buffett,” a good many of them equanimous Golden Retrievers, but Jimmy Buffett’s own dogs were Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Various accounts on Instagram and Facebook show images of Buffett with his dogs (we don’t have permission to share any of them, but seek them out!).
On August 29, Jimmy Buffett posted a 30 second video to TikTok of his Cavaliers having a grand day at the beach, the song, “Like My Dog” written by Harley Allen and Scotty Emerick playing in the background. Two days later on September 01, 2023, Jimmy Buffett had a change in latitude. He passed away, surrounded by his family, his friends and his beloved dogs.
“Sail the main course in a simple sturdy craft. Keep her well stocked with short stories and long laughs. Go fast enough to get there but slow enough to see. Moderation seems to be the key.” – Jimmy Buffett
Image: Outside a Margaritaville restaurant in Orlando, Florida by Miosotis Jade – Own work, shared under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence/Wikipedia