An Amateurs Guide To Jimmy Buffett


As I am sitting outside on my porch on this beautiful day in Kalamazoo, Michigan listening to A1A (Buffett’s best album) on vinyl, I started to day dream of the Buffett concert (79 days away) that I’m going to in Cincinnati this summer. Whenever I tell my friends they need to go to a Buffett show a majority of the responses are I don’t know his music, I only know Margaritaville, I don’t believe you or can we just tailgate. As a true Parrothead I feel like it is my responsibility to inform my friends who are going to this show this summer who don’t know his music what they should expect musically (I can’t describe what happens at the tailgate lol) and the interested Buffett listener or anyone wanting to know more about his music.

A brief bio of the legend, Jimmy was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi on Christmas day back in 1946. Buffett learned the guitar while attending Auburn University, starting doing shows in New Orleans during his college years. Moved to Nashville to work at Billboard Magazine and also to start his musical career. His first album Down to Earth came out in 1970. His big song, Margaritaville, came out in 1977 on the Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes album. The song really didn’t become big till the 80s. His first restaurant opened in 1985 in Key West, FL and his first hotel opened in 2013 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He has his own beer, Landshark Lager (a popular beer among Parrotheads, similar to Corona). Recently Buffett produced a Broadway musical. Buffett also has written several books both fiction and non-fiction. He is quite the entrepreneur and philanthropist (involved in several ocean conservation orgs).

Onto his music, The Big 8 (or Big 9 in recent years) are the go to songs that are always pretty much played at Buffett shows. They are his more popular songs. The list includes Margaritaville, Fins, Come Monday, Changes in Latitudes, Volcano, A Pirate Looks at Forty, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Why Don’t We Get Drunk and It’s o’clock Somewhere. On a side note…Brown Eyed Girl is not a Buffett original that credit goes to Van Morrison. Son of a Son of a Sailor is another one that is in that rotation as well. So if you are just trying out Buffett and want to know some of the songs at the show these are ones to know.

From there Buffett has played with different styles of music like any musician. He began as a country artist but that really did not work out that well for him so he moved more into the style everyone knows him as now, which is referred to as Gulf and Western.

Buffett has plenty to offer from your songs about the ocean and paradise to romantic songs to everyone having a cousin in Miami lol. A friend of mine and I were having conversation month or two ago about our top 10 Buffett songs, was super difficult to narrow down. It turned into a top 50 cause more songs kept popping into our heads and our rankings kept changing.

For your more traditional Buffett songs about the ocean, paradise and things of that nature here are a few recommendations (that haven’t been already listed) Boat Drinks, Coast of Carolina, Coconut Telegraph, Fruitcakes, Jolly Mon Sing, La Vie Dansante, Livin It Up, Nautical Wheelers, One Particular Harbor, Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit, Southern Cross (Crosby Stills and Nash song), Migration, Pencil Thin Mustache, Tin Cup Chalice and License to Chill.

Now for some of his songs that have deeper meaning and are little more slower songs that can be overlooked Barefoot Children, Take Another Road, Captain and the Kid, We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About, Breath In Breath Out Move On, California Promises, Savannah Fare You Well, Growing Older But Not Up, He Went to Paris, Last Mango in Paris, The Weather Is Here and Knee Deep.

Now these are just some of the songs I’d recommend to dig deeper into Buffett music and channel your inner Parrothead. Hope this has helped you out more lol haha. As always Fins Up!

“If we weren’t all crazy we would go insane.”- Jimmy Buffett