Buffett featured in special issue of LIFE Magazine

The following is from LIFE’s new special issue Jimmy Buffett: Going Strong in Margaritaville, available at newsstands and online.

Margaritaville. It’s a brand, a business empire, a state of mind. It’s a radio station, a tequila, a state of bliss. But most important, it’s a song.

Too often, the merchandising surrounding Jimmy Buffett’s signature tune has obscured its magic. But strip away the brand. Ignore the frozen Margaritaville Crunchy Pimento Cheese & Shrimp Bites. Forget the T-shirts emblazoned with WOMAN TO BLAME. What’s left is a finely crafted, cheeky but nuanced nugget of genius.

Article in LIFE Magazine: Jimmy Buffett: Hey Margaritaville! A Pirate Looks at 75

The melody of “Margaritaville” floats in on a breeze of Caribbean instrumentation. The vocal is so relaxed it’s practically flat on its back in a hammock. The lyrics evoke both a beach bum’s apathy and a broken heart drowning under a slosh of booze. The song is short, simple, silly, sad, and sublime—and still strong enough to support the enormous mythology surrounding Jimmy Buffett. It’s a heavy task to lay on a four-minute tune that peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1977.

Some of the legends that surround Buffett are false (he insists, for example, that he never smuggled drugs into Key West); many more are true. He did crash his twin-engine amphibious plane off the coast of New England. He did dodge bullets shot at his plane by the Jamaican police. He did have to follow a scorching set by Lionel Richie’s Commodores—he decided the best way to follow the “Brick House” band was with a liquid-courage-powered 12-minute monologue and a single song (“Why Don’t We Get Drunk,” punctuated by the eponymous lyrics, plus “and screw”).

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6 thoughts to “Buffett featured in special issue of LIFE Magazine”

    1. Funny, that was just what I was thinking. Give us something we do not know.that’s why I love his books. Happy new year Buffetteers!

  1. I bought it yesterday. Sure us Parrotheads didn`t learn anything new about Jimmy but it`s still a nice keepsake. We`ve all seen these phots before but they are very nicely enhanced in this Life publication.

  2. “Jimmy Buffett’s signature tune…. is a finely crafted, cheeky but nuanced nugget of genius: Life Magazine
    Thanks for influencing a positive state of mind over the decades!!

  3. Though this might be called a “special edition,” it is simply a(nother) product from Margaritaville, LLC. “Please note that this product is an authorized edition published by the Meredith Corporation and sold by Amazon. This edition is printed using a high quality matte interior paper and printed on demand for immediate fulfillment.” Those last six words mean that each copy is only printed when it is ordered. This is not a situation where Meredith figured they could invest in and print some ten million copies that people would buy to keep in their attics for their grandkids. It’s just another case of the Margaritaville brand being slapped onto someone else’s product. Enjoy it, but don’t believe that this is the Winston Churchill keepsake edition.

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