A song by Jimmy Buffett
Thank you! Nailed it-- 💓!
“What Jimmy loved most was getting on a stage - big, small, indoors, outdoors, anywhere in the world - and changing the attitude and latitude of audiences to a vacation state of mind.”
- Key West City Commissioner Clayton Lopez 🦜 Fins up forever 🦈
Having lived in the Florida Keys for ten years, Jimmy’s ‘Changes in Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes’ strikes the right chord with me, one of his kindred spirits. 🩴 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Apu3HRjSpu4
Beautiful tribute to a real person.
Thanks Greg. Heading to your neck of the woods today to see one of the last great bands of rock n roll still standing. The E Street Band still speaks to my soul the same way it spoke to me when my older brother played me “Spirit in the Night” when I was eleven years old and said “This guy is gonna be great” Thanks again for all you do.
Thanks, man. I feel better.
Thanks Greg! Jimmy Buffet has gotten me through some rough patches. Aside from his singing and restaurant empire, I’m sure you’re aware he was also an NYT best selling writer. His book “A Salty Piece of Land” has pulled me out of many bouts of melancholy. If you’ve ever got *the sads*, I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Lovely analysis! I spent my teenage summers on Kauai....yesterday hubs turned 69 & we watched a fascinating documentary called Older than Ireland, apropos of not much, but intriguing to hear dozens of folks OVER.100!! We'll never get back to a tropical paradise, but we cherish Jimmy Buffet's tunes, forever!
Many many years ago, cans of beer & Coca Cola had “pop tops”, where when you opened the can, the tab came off, & was frequently discarded on the ground where it could be a hazard as it was very sharp. (And yes, I’m old. 😸)
Saw Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefers at the O-Rena in Orlando back in the day, snagged a seat about five rows back from the stage, people were drinking alcohol & batting beach balls, singing along. It was live performance at its best. I thought he would go on forever.
May the wind be at your back & the sun upon your face. And May the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.
Never was a beach bum, never met Mr. Cuervo, but sure did spend significant amounts of time heartbroken and wallowing in my own way. From the first time I heard this song -- to the particulars of which I just could not relate -- what struck me is exactly what you put your finger on: the "my own damn fault" line, his epiphany. Somewhere sleeping in my subconscious each time I wallowed, it probably helped me recognize and grow.
Great piece! I was never a fan of his music but I appreciated him as a person based on observation (I read he donated to Cincinnati Ballet) and pieces I had read. So I really appreciated a fresh look at his most popular song. That he was as wise in his lyrics as he was in "real life" is not surprising.
Yep in 92 i visited Jimmys joint in
Key West along with a stop at Hemingways place. Lost a drinking contest against some guys visiting from Germany.
NOTE: My pal, Peter Magadini, internationally known Drummer extraordinaire died August 13th.
Peter played with many well known musicians and was a teacher and published author.
Leave it to you, Greg, to bring us to the true Margaritaville! Jimmy had a way of allowing us straight-laced North and Mid-Atlantic Easterners to let loose even as we owned up to our faults.
Well, thank you again, Greg. You've managed to write a column that explains, in a way I'd never considered, a song that was, for me, just an annoying earworm back in the late 70s. I still remember living in a college dorm and the song echoing through the hallways, along with Fleetwood Mac, and The Who, and many others. "Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?... lookin' for my long-lost shaker of salt.... Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom...." Maddening!!
I didn't follow Jimmy Buffet, but I know he had quite a large fanbase, and built a large empire on "Margaritaville," and good for him. That's the kind of capitalism I like seeing! I remember him even featuring on "Wheel of Fortune," where winners vied for a house in Margaritaville. I kept asking, "where the hell is Margaritaville?" They really never said, but I assumed after a while that it was in the south somewhere. I think they were trying to sell it as a state of mind as opposed to a specific place, and so it is. RIP Jimmy Buffett.
I so appreciate the inside look into the lyrics as well as the Kelly's context. And then you tied the bow neatly with today's situation. Surely, this is a song for all generations, which speaks not only to his genius as a musician and a businessman, but his poetry.
Thanks for writing this, Greg. I was deeply saddened by his death Friday night, and it has colored my whole weekend. I was lucky enough to see him more than a few times at the Checquered Flag in Austin in the '74 period when he'd had some success and had found his zone. He had been interacting with a lot of Austin musicians at that time. The cover was $3, and I knew it was one of those indelible moments each time I saw him. He was a great soft showman - no hype or blather, just up there to entertain in the pre-Margaritaville era between '74 and '77.
When I would be in a funk, I could put on one of Buffett's early LPs and the concerns of my world would melt away and create an emotional balm for my soul.
He died of a rare form of skin cancer. I've had three surgeries for skin cancer myself but it has been benign, and I'm hoping it stays that way. At 76, everything becomes a threat. I truly hate to lose a cultural companion of my age to this old world, one who could make me happy when nothing else could, one that I will deeply miss.
I’ve always regarded Margaritaville as a masterpiece, and not only because of the engaging melody and feel-good lyrics. I’ve always been impressed by the lyrical device you cited—that I can’t recall in any other song: the progressively increasing acceptance of responsibility from one verse to the next. It’s like a whole novel in four minutes and ten seconds!