Legendary singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett has died at the age of 76. Buffett had been forced to cancel several shows in September of 2022, citing an unexpected health scare that required brief hospitalization after a Bahamas trip. After being released and healthy enough to perform sporadically, more shows were canceled in the spring and summer of 2023. After being hospitalized again in May, Buffett released a statement saying: “Growing old is not for sissies, I promise you.”
Buffett leaves behind a legacy as long as his list of hit records. The “Cheeseburger in Paradise” singer was also an entrepreneur as well as a songwriter, and his fans followed him in Grateful Dead fashion. Buffett was a relentless performer, and he scored crossover hits in the country genre as well as rock.
The news of Buffett’s death was posted Saturday to his Instagram page: “Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs. He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
Buffett’s laid-back beach vibe and his playful songwriting struck a chord with FM radio in 1977 when his signature song Margaritaville, off the album Changes In Latitude, reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the singer’s only top 10 song, but it still remains in regular rotation on yacht rock and classic rock stations.
Buffett, the entrepreneur, parlayed the massive success of Margaritaville into the now-iconic chain of resorts and clothing line. The first Margaritaville opened in 1985 in his beloved Key West, and the chain is still growing, with the next location set to open in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Jimmy Buffet had numerous minor hits, including Cheeseburger in Paradise, which is the name of his restaurant chain, Fins, Come Monday, and Volcano. Buffet rarely strayed from the tried and true formula of making laid-back, beach music that transported listeners to warmer, more tropical climes.
Buffett’s fanbase, also known as Parrot Heads, followed the performer religiously, and his Summer shows were a rite of passage in many places. In 2003, the singer brought his fanbase into a new millennium and gained numerous more with his iconic duet with country superstar Alan Jackson, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”
Beyond being a singer, songwriter, restaurateur, and successful resort and clothing line owner, Buffett was also a best-selling author and an actor. His books include Tales From Margaritaville, Where Is Joe Merchant?, and the memoir A Pirate Looks at Fifty. As an actor, Buffett appeared in Hook, Jurassic World, Billionaire Boys Club, and other titles in small parts, reported Rolling Stone.
The Summer of 2024 will be a sad time for Parrot Heads, as it will mark the first Summer without the iconic singer in concert. However, his legendary shows and songs will always be remembered, as will the man. Jimmy Buffett provided levity and laid-back beach vibes during a very down time in America, the 1970s, and during today’s economically depressed times as well.
Jimmy Buffet will be mourned for years, but his music and vibe will live on. Condolences to Buffett’s numerous fans and family.
Featured image screen grab from embedded YouTube video
"*" indicates required fields