From the TimesDaily: “Margaritaville included in Grammy Hall of Fame 2016”
Part of the reason Jimmy Buffett’s iconic hit “Margaritaville” has stood the test of time is that it’s a song everyone can relate to, Shoals bassist, producer and former recording studio owner Norbert Putnam said.
Putnam should know. He produced the track in 1977 with Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band.
The song has been included in the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame Class of 2016, along with another track with local connections — Dan Penn and Chips Moman’s “Dark End of the Street,” which was recorded by soul artist James Carr in 1967.
“Margaritaville” is also connected with a restaurant chain, a chain of hotels, and a variety of other products such as “frozen concoction makers,” commonly known as blenders.
“It has every element for a good story,” Putnam said.
The singer refers to sitting on his front porch swing, strumming his six string. He’s noticing tourists covered in suntan oil, smelling shrimp beginning to boil, and cuts his foot on a pop top.
And like all good stories, Putnam said, the song has that element of drama or conflict.
“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s nobody’s fault,” the chorus goes. Later in the song, however, the chorus changes and he laments, “… it’s my own … fault.”
Mac McAnally, who splits his time between homes in Nashville and Sheffield, didn’t play in the original cut, but has performed the song hundreds of times since joining the Coral Reefer Band in 1998.
What makes it special, he said, is how much of Buffett’s persona is transferred during the playing or listening process.
“It represents a lifestyle which is broader than simply being inebriated on a beach, although it frequently includes being inebriated on a beach,” McAnally said. “Jimmy conveyed a relaxed approach to living which starts and ends with a smile. I think most people then and now benefit from a little more smiling and relaxing. I’m proud for my friend and road boss receiving this honor.”
Alan Schulman, who has been engineering and mixing Buffett recordings since 1997, agreed with McAnally’s assessment.
“It has a lot to do with a lifestyle,” Schulman said. “It projects the sun, the ocean flip-flops. He kind of lives like that. He’s a fun man to be around. I think what it does is it gives people a chance to have a different lifestyle from their normal jobs a couple times a year, to go to a Jimmy concert and feel like they’re on the beach.”
Schulman said he was just booked to engineer a new Buffett Christmas album.