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  • Writer's pictureWyatt Magnum

Jimmy Buffett, ‘Margaritaville’ Singer-Songwriter and Entrepreneur, Dies at 76

by Gil Kaufman

Jimmy Buffett, the easygoing “Margaritaville” singer/songwriter who transformed his no-worries, beachy lifestyle into a five-decade endless road trip as a performer and entrepreneur has died at age 76. The news announced on his website and social media accounts follows Buffett’s May cancellation of a show in South Carolina to get treatment for an undisclosed illness.

“Jimmy passed away on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the post reads. “He lived his life like a song 'til the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many" his website states.

Renowned for his wildly enthusiastic audiences — known as “Parrotheads” — Buffett parlayed his cheeky, rum-soaked songs about pirates (“A Pirate Looks at Forty”), boozy beach bums (“It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere”), captains and sand-caked rogues (“The Captain and the Kid”) into a permanent vacation journey where every port of call was loaded with fruity drinks, colorful summer-themed outfits and precisely no cares in the world.

In addition to his 13 Billboard Hot 100 charting singles — including seven top 40 hits and one top 10 — as well as 40 entries on the Billboard 200 album chart, Buffett’s no-worries mien belied a killer business instinct that parlayed the popularity of his island-spiked bar band folk rock anthems into an estimated billion-dollar personal fortune. His sprawling businesses included a series of Margaritaville and LandShark Bar & Grill restaurants across the U.S., as well as licensing agreements for Margaritaville tequila, shoes, cruises, pre-packaged food items and an Atlantic City casino.

Born James William Buffett on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, MS and raised in Mobile, Alabama, the singer was one of three children born to James Delaney Buffett Jr. and Mary Loraine (Peets),who both worked for the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding company. He grew up listening to his grandfather steamship captain J.D. Buffett’s tales of high seas adventure, to whom he paid homage in “Son of a Son of a Sailor.” The latter features the memorable, salt-caked lines, “I’m just a son of a son, son of a son/ Son of a son of a sailor/ The sea’s in my veins, my tradition remains/ I’m just glad I don’t live in a trailer.”


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