In a year already fraught with significant losses, the music world mourns the passing of Jimmy Buffett today. Known for his laid-back island vibes and a career spanning over half a century, Buffett leaves behind a unique legacy that goes beyond “Margaritaville.”
We thought it fitting to pay homage by sharing some lesser-known tidbits about the man who brought Parrotheads together for generations.
Buffett Was Once a Billboard Reporter
Before making it big as a musician, Jimmy Buffett worked as a Billboard magazine reporter. This was during his early days in Nashville. Turns out, he was keeping an eye on the music charts before he himself became a staple on them.
He’s an Accomplished Author
Buffett wasn’t just a man of musical notes; he was also a man of words. He authored several best-selling books, including “A Pirate Looks at Fifty” and “Tales from Margaritaville.” His works proved that he could captivate audiences, not just through his songs but through written words too.
Mobile Bay Connection
You might associate Jimmy Buffett with Key West, but he was actually born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and raised in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile Bay was where he first got a taste of the sea and perhaps, a hint of the island life that would inspire his future career.
Buffett wasn’t just a musician and author; he was also a savvy businessman. He owned two restaurant chains, Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise, bringing the essence of his music to the dining table. Not to mention, he also dabbled in beer production with LandShark Lager.
A Passion for Flying
If sailing through the waters wasn’t enough, Buffett had a keen interest in flying. He even held a private pilot’s license. The skies were as much his playground as the beaches were, capturing his adventurous spirit from both land and air.
The Origin of Parrotheads
The term “Parrotheads” for his fanbase was coined during a concert in Cincinnati in the 1980s. The name was actually inspired by the “Deadheads,” fans of the Grateful Dead. The nickname has since become synonymous with his beach-loving, easy-going fans who are as colorful as parrots.
A Connection to Herman Wouk
Buffett had a close professional relationship with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Herman Wouk. They even collaborated on a musical adaptation of Wouk’s novel, “Don’t Stop The Carnival,” which ran for a limited period in Miami.
A Brush with Politics
Though he never held political office, Buffett was always vocal about his political views and even hosted fundraising concerts for various candidates. His songs often touched on social issues, reflecting a deeper awareness that went beyond the beach.
Coral Reefer Band
Buffett’s backup band, the Coral Reefer Band, was integral to his musical journey. In case you didn’t get it, the band’s name is a play on “coral reef” and the slang term “reefer” for marijuana. It shows Buffett’s knack for mixing humor with his love for the ocean.
As fans, friends, and family remember Jimmy Buffett, these facts offer a glimpse into the complexities and multi-faceted nature of the man. From a Billboard reporter to an accomplished author and shrewd businessman, Buffett’s life was as varied as it was influential. He might have sailed away, but his spirit will forever be anchored in the hearts of those he touched.