Jimmy Buffet Singer / Songwriter Biography History of 12 minutes of music Songs, Lyrics and listening guide for 12 min. of chosen music
BIOGRAPHY Jimmy Buffet was born in Pascagoula Mississippi to Mary Loraine Peets and James Delaney “J.D.” Buffet Jr. on December 25, 1964. He attended St. Ignatius Parish where he was a Boy Scout, Altar boy and played the Trombone in the school band. He graduated from McGill Institute an all – male college preparatory school in 1964, and headed to Auburn University. where he entered as a freshman in 1965. He spent part of his childhood in Mobile Alabama, where his father moved the family after serving as a flight mechanic in the Pacific with the Army during World War II, so he could work for Alabama Dry Dock and shipbuilding Company.
Jimmy entered Auburn University as a freshman in 1965. He pledged the social fraternity Sigma Pi, and learned to play the guitar from another pledge Jonny Youngblood who seemed to have a lot of success in meeting women because he played guitar. Being unable to balance this new interest for music and women with his college classes Jimmy failed out of Auburn University 1966. He then enrolled at Pearl River Junior College in Poplarville Mississippi to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War.
Jimmy used his musical talents to pay his college expenses, he first worked as a street singer on weekends in New Orleans and then at events along the Gulf Coast with his friends in a band called the Upstairs Alliance. Jimmy maintained his grades and transferred to the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg where he completed a bachelor’s degree in history in 1969. Anticipating the draft Jimmy applied for Officer Candidate School, but was given a medical exception when a physical diagnosed him with a peptic ulcer
While in Mobile he composed and recorded songs in a studio owned by Milton Brown. Brown introduced Jimmy to executives at Billboard Magazine based in Nashville, Tennessee which took him on as a reporter. This was Jimmy’s one and only nine-to-five job. No longer facing military service he pursued a career as a solo act and decided to propose to his girlfriend Margie Washicheck. In August 1969 they were married at St. Joseph’s Chapel on the Campus of Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama.
Barnaby Records signed Jimmy Buffet to a two album contract forcing him to quit his job at Billboard Magazine, after his 1970 album Down to Earth came out. Unfortunately the record sold less than 400 copies. Bravely Jimmy went back into the studio to record his second album, only to find out that Barnaby Records “lost” the master tapes for his album High Cumberland Jubilee. Along with these financial obstacles and not being able to book shows in Nashville, Jimmy’s marriage was stressed. In 1971 Jimmy and Margie divorced and he headed to Key West, Florida.
The childhood experiences as a child growing up in Alabama’s Gulf Coast helped in shaping Jimmy Buffets world views and his the interests he possessed as a young adult in fishing, boating, swimming and surfing are passions he would maintain as an adult and that had influence in many of his artistic adventures. In Key West Jimmy worked on a fishing boat while seeking out his solo career and developing his beach bum persona for which he is known. In 1972 Jimmy met Jane Slagsvol in Key West through a mutual friend and in August 1977 they were married. They have two daughters, Savannah Jane and Sarah Delaney, and a son Cameron Marley Buffet.
Key West proved to be the biggest influence on Jimmy Buffet’s musical career, and is a town that continues to play a large role in his life. In 1973 A White Sports Coat and A Pink Crustacean was recorded and released as his second debut album. In 1974 the album with “Come Monday” his first hit single, was released. Because his songs could not easily be categorized, Jimmy struggled to find his slot in the music industry. The Coral Reefer Band was formed in 1974 and went on the road. Between 1974 and 1982 they did nothing but focus on their music, especially in the seventies. In 1977 Irving Azoff arranged for Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefers to open for The Eagles, at the time this was the most well-known group, which gave Jimmy his first opportunity for exposure, enabling him to become a headliner. That same year the album Changes in Latitude was came out and featured his most popular song “Margaritaville” which hit #8 on the Billboard Pop Charts and became the defining Jimmy Buffet song. This was also his first platinum album selling over one million copies. Jimmy’s second million selling album was Son of a Son of a Sailor and it came out in 1978.
Jimmy Buffet in the 80’s made more money from his tours than his albums and became known as a popular concert draw. Jimmy was quoted in an interview with Frederick Burger from the Miami Herald as saying “I'm as successful as I want to be. I've taken my career and a band and built them around my songwriting, to the point where I can be very successful financially and very gratified artistically and do what I do best, which is write songs and play on stage...I'd love to have a No. 1 album, but I don't conceive of it. I'd have to be a Fleetwood Mac or an Eagles, but I don't want to be them. I'd have to change my style, and I'm not going to do anything -- other than what I do -- to get it." Throughout it all, with little or no radio exposure, literally millions of albums are being sold, due to word of mouth advertising by the increasing number of Jimmy Buffet fans. In 1985 Fall issue of Country Hits described it best “All of the reviews written about Jimmy Buffett over the past several years have seemed to have a couple of things in common: first, the reviewers enjoy and admire Buffett and his music; and second, these same writers are at their wits end trying to come up with a nice pat label to pin on the man.” In short what it means is that it is a whole lot easier to listen to his music than it is to try and describe it. Jimmy Buffet began calling his music “Drunken Caribbean Rock’n Roll.” Later, people used the term gulf and western to describe his style. The name came from earlier influences in his music from country and western, folk music and lyrical themes from the gulf coast. A music critic described Buffett's music as “ a combination of "tropical languor with country funkiness into what some have called the Key West sound, or Gulf-and-western
In 2003 he and Alan Jackson paired up for the song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere” which became a number 1 hit on the country music charts. This song won the 2003 Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year and was Jimmy Buffet’s first award of any kind for his music in his 30 year career. The album License to Chill sold 238,600 copies in its first week of release in July 2004. In his three-decade long career this was the first time he topped the U.S. Pop Albums Chart. Jimmy has released 46 albums with the most recent album to be released Songs from St. Somewhere in August of 2013.
Jimmy Buffet is not only a singer/songwriter but he is also a businessman and author. In 1985 Jimmy chose to take on a new venture and opened the first of many Margaritaville Stores in Key West, FL in doing so he not only discovered an outlet for his own adventurous spirit but for those of his “Parrot Head” followers. In 1989 with Actor and comedian Bill Murray, Jimmy invested yet again in something new, he invested in the Ft. Myers Miracles, a minor league baseball team. In 1993, Margaritaville Records, was launched with distribution through MCA Records and in the fall of 1999 his current recording label Mailboat Records was started to release live albums. RCA Records partnered with Jimmy for distribution of the two studio albums License to Chill and Take the Weather with You in 2005 and 2006. Jimmy Buffet has launched many products under the Margaritville Label, he has produced his own beer called Land Shark Lager and he has also licensed Margaritaville Tequila, there is Margaritaville footwear, and foods including: Salsa, Chips, Shrimp, Guacamole, Chicken and more. These are just a few of his business ventures that have proved to be quite worthy.
Jimmy Buffet is a writer as well, he has written three No. 1 Best Sellers, and he co-wrote two children’s books with his oldest daughter Savannah Jane Buffet. With his autobiographical A Pirate Looks at Fifty (1998) release topping the New York Times non-fiction list right after being released, he became one of eight authors in this list's history to have reached number one in both the fiction and non-fiction categories. Jimmy Buffet has made several cameo appearances, and written theme songs for several movies and television shows. He wrote the soundtrack and co-produced the 2006 film Hoot Jimmy Buffet is one of several popular “philosophers” whose quotations appear on the road signs of Project HIMANK in the Ladakh region of Northern India. His quote says “Without Geography You’re Nowhere.”
Jimmy Buffet has also been involved in many charity efforts. In 1981 he founded the Save the Manatee Club with former Florida governor Bob Graham. In 1995 the proceeds from his concert tour funded the “Singing for Change” foundation which provides grants in three main areas to local charities: children and family causes, environmental causes and causes for disenfranchised groups. On November 23, 2004, Jimmy held a “Surviving the Storm” Hurricane Relief Concert in Orlando, Florida to provide relief for hurricane victims in Florida, Alabama and the Caribbean affected by the four major hurricanes that year, he raised substantial money at this concert. He performed in Hong Kong on January 18, 2008 for the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Charity Fund raising $63,000 US. This was his first concert in Hong Kong and it sold out within weeks. Jimmy not only paid for the concert goers’ tequila and beer but played for those who could not afford to buy a seat for free. On July 22, 2010 Jimmy Buffet, put on a free concert on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Giving away 35, 000 tickets in order to get people back to the beach was his way of responding to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. Jimmy played several popular songs where some of the lyrics were changed to directly relate to the current crisis.
When Jimmy Buffet was asked, After all your success, what's left? He responded with: “When it is all said and done, I am going to teach. There comes a point where you want to share your wisdom if you get to do the things I've done. Of course, if you want to see me teach, I don't think I will be at Fargo in February. You might have to find me at the University of Hawaii.”
REFERENCES • Encyclopedia of Alabama : www.encyclopediaofalabama.org • Wikipedia • Official Jimmy Buffet Web Site : www.margaritaville.com
MUSIC LISTENING GUIDE Margaritaville Blue Guitar ALOT TO DRINK ABOUT
MARGARITAVILLEJimmy Buffett 0:00Introduction. Here you hear the steel drums 0:11 Verse 1 begins, this verse shows the singers life for the previous season. Nibblin' on sponge cake, watchin' the sun bake; All of those tourists covered with oil.Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.Smell those shrimp--They're beginnin' to boil. 0:41 First Chorus begins Wasted away again in Margaritaville, Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt.Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, But I know it's nobody's fault. 1:12 Verse 2 begins, this verse shows a singer laid-back lives in a drunken haze in a beach community. Don't know the reason, Stayed here all seasonWith nothing to show but this brand new tattoo.But it's a real beauty, A Mexican cutie, how it got here I haven't a clue. http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/jimmy-buffett/album/songs-you-know-by-heart
1:42 Second chorus begins. Wasted away again in Margaritaville, Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt.Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, Now I think, -- hell it could be my fault. 2:16Interlude here you hear the steel guitars, a harmonica, percussion, keyboards, etc. 2:45 Verse 3 is played. This verse and the last verse illustrate best the “Margaritaville” state of mind, where the singer goes for a walk cuts his heel and comes home and has an alcoholic beverage to ease his pain. I blew out my flip flop, Stepped on a pop top; Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.But there's booze in the blender, And soon it will renderThat frozen concoction that helps me hang on. 3:14 Verse 4 or Coda. This verse the singer is drowning his sorrows over a failed relationship and his friends are telling him that it’s not his fault. However the last line shows that over the song he has come to terms that it really is his own fault. Wasted away again in MargaritavilleSearchin' for my lost shaker of salt.Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, But I know, it's my own damn fault.Yes, and some people claim that there's a woman to blame, And I know it's my own damn fault The form of this song is riff-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-interlude-verse-chorus-refrain-riff.
Blue GuitarRoger Guth, Peter Mayer 0:00 Homo-rhythmic voice introduction begins. 0:12 Guitar and steel drums begin and you can hear the rattle 0:33 Verse 1 begins and the percussions and regular drums start. Once I knew a manShowed me the slight of handBlink of an eye, he danced across the strings 0:44 Verse 2 begins. He played a song I'd never heardPoignant and absurdTo this day it leaves me wondering 0:53 Verse 3 begins How I wish tomorrow I were fishin'Boy I got a missionShake it, rattle and roll 1:03 Verse 4 begins Ah, now, just use your intuitionYou'll get less competitionFrom the clock up on the wall http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/jimmy-buffett/album/far-side-of-the-world/track/blue-guitar
1:13 First Chorus begins You are what you areYou dream what you dreamPlay on your Blue Guitar for me Play me a serenadeA simple masqueradePlay on your Blue Guitar for me 1:36 Verse 5 begins Was he real or make believeSomeone to deceiveTime is just a folly we can't see 1:46 Verse 6 begins – you hear the electric guitar being plucked If you only know one songPlay it right or wrongCause the truth is always somewhere in between 1:57 Verse 7 begins and you hear the harmonic voices begin again in the back ground You and I, we can't change the weatherWe're all in this togetherSo let the strong winds blow
2:07 Verse 8 begins Ah, now things will be much betterDon't become a prisonerThe reason you should know 2:15 Chorus begins You are what you areYou dream what you dreamPlay on your Blue Guitar for mePlay me a serenadeA lovers masqueradePlay on your Blue Guitar for me 2:36 Interlude – you hear the steel drums, bass guitar being plucked, regular drums, rattle 2:56 Verse 3 is repeated How I wish tomorrow I were fishin'Boy I got a missionShake it, rattle and roll 3:05 Verse 4 is repeated and the harmonic voices return Ah, now, just use your intuitionYou'll get less competitionFrom the clock up on the wall
3:16 Chorus You are what you areYou dream what you dreamPlay on your Blue Guitar for me Play me a serenadeRed wine or lemonadePlay on your Blue Guitar for me 3:35 Final Chorus begins and the harmonic voices are heard again. You are what you areYou dream what you dreamPlay on your Blue Guitar for mePlay me a serenadeA lovers masqueradePlay on your Blue Guitar for me 3:56 Homorhythmic Coda begins and you hear the harmonic voices go into a diminuendo to end the song
A LOT TO DRINK ABOUT 0:00 Recitative Introduction begins with guitar accompaniment Hey, have you noticed that the world has changedThat world is all badI think it’s time for a song about that. 0:19 Verse 1 begins. Up on the East side of Manhattan, They’re still dancing with the stars.While over in subprime city,It’s getting ugly in the local barsWatching the news only gives me the bluesThere’s too much going wrong.It takes the likes of me to hit the reboot keyand write a high speed drinking song. 0:46 Verse 2 begins Millionaires losin’ everything.Hey, welcome to the other side of life!There goes the yacht, there goes the Rolls, But, you get to keep your wife!And don’t forget the automakersswimming upstream like a trout.They let the shit the fanand then they made a planWe’ve got a- a lot to drink about. http://www.rhapsody.com/artist/jimmy-buffett/album/buffet-hotel
1:10 Chorus begins It’s the price of oil, the war of the spoils.Where’s your bucket for the big bailout?Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, We’ve got a lot to drink about. 1:30 Verse 3 begins. Now, Madoff made off with all the money.And his clients are down to skunk weed.Repeat after me, it’s so easy to seeWe’re only talking simple greed.And those Somalian pirates are counting all their gold.While Bush and Cheney ain’t aroundand all the good lookers seem to be Russian hookersfrom Key West to London town. 1:56 Chorus It’s the price of oil, war of the spoils.Here’s your bucket for the big bailout?Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, We’ve got a lot to drink about. 2:10 Verse 4 begins So pour me some Tennessee whiskey, pour me a fine Jamaican rum.That loud mouth soupcan get ya kind of loopedTequila, of course I’ll have some!
2:23Verse 5 begins Well the family devaluesand little children count their net worthand the truth wherever it’s hiding, can’t be found on Google Earth.Citibank’s buying jets with our money.I wanna flog ‘em with a buggy whip.Let’s hope Barack and Joe won’t let the volcano blowand patch the hole in our sinking ship. 2:49 Chorus There’s the price of oil, the war of the spoils.Here’s your bucket for the big bailout?Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, We’ve got a lot to drink about. 3:02 Verse 6 begins Recession, Oppression, Depression good GodCNN keeps bummin’ me out.I can’t take another doomsday minute.Got a lot to drink, a lot to think, a lot to drink about. 3:22 Coda- arpeggios God bless America.
“Instinct taught me 20 years ago to pace a song or a concert performance. That translates into pacing a story, pleasing a reading audience.”Jimmy Buffet