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‘Margaritaville’ singer Jimmy Buffett, who turned beach bum life into empire, dies at 76

NEW YORK — Jimmy Buffett, the singer-songwriter who popularized beach bum soft rock with his Caribbean-flavored getaway song “Margaritaville,” and turned the festivity into an empire of restaurants, resorts, and frozen concoctions, has died. He was 76 years old.

“Jimmy passed away peacefully on the night of September 1, amid his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement said. Buffett’s official website and their social media pages said so late Friday. “She lived her life like a song until her last breath and will be sorely missed by many.”

The statement did not specify where Buffett died or the cause of death. The illness had forced him to reschedule concerts for May, and Buffett admitted in his social media posts that he was hospitalized, but did not provide any details.

Released on February 14, 1977, “Margaritaville” quickly took on a life of its own and became a “mood for the wasted”, an excuse for simple fun and a life of escape for the “grown up”. older but not higher.”

The song is an unhurried portrait of a loafer watching tourists sunbathe as a pot of shrimp begins to boil on her front porch. The singer has a new tattoo, probably a hangover, and is regretting her lost love. There’s a misplaced salt shaker somewhere.

Spin magazine wrote in 2021: “What seems like a simple poem about drying and mending a broken heart turns into a deep meditation on the often painful inertia of living on the beach.” other. Waves rise and break, with or without witnesses. Everything that means anything has already happened, and you’re not even sure when.”

The song from the album “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 22 weeks and peaked at #8. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016 for its cultural and historical significance. became a karaoke standard and helped to brand Key West, Florida as a distinctive musical sound and a world-renowned destination.

Buffett told the Arizona Republic in 2021: “There was no place like Margaritaville.” to work and then come back and spend time on the beach.”

The song soon inspired restaurants and resorts, turning Buffett’s purported desire for the simplicity of island living into a multimillion-dollar brand. In 2016, he ranked 13th on Forbes’ America’s Richest Celebrities list with a net worth of $550 million.

Music critics have never been too kind to Buffett or his catalog, including beachside beachside snack bar hits like “Fins,” “Come Monday,” and “Cheeseburgers in Paradise.” But the so-called “Parrotheads” fan base regularly came to their concerts, wearing toy parrots, cheeseburgers, sharks and flamingos, leis around their necks, and boisterous Hawaiian shirts.

“This is nothing but a complete escape,” he told the Republic. “I’m not the first to do this, and I probably won’t be the last. But I think having some fun is really part of the human condition. You have to get away from everything you do for a living or other aspects of life that stress you out. I try to make work at least 50/50 fun and So far this has worked.”

The signature Gulf Coast mix of country, pop, folk, and rock added instruments and tonalities more commonly found in the Caribbean, such as steel drums. It was a soup of steel pans, trombones, and pedal steel guitar. Buffett’s incredible ear for hooks and light grooves was often overshadowed by his lyrics about fish tacos and sunsets.

Rolling Stone reluctantly supported Buffett’s review of his 2020 album “Life on the Flip Side.” “He continues to map the undulating, sandy corner of the pop music utopia with the cold and friendly warmth of a multi-millionaire who you’re not afraid to share his tropical-themed 3 p.m. IPA with, especially if his gold card is at the bar. The final round has come.”

Buffett’s burgeoning brand began in 1985 with the opening of a number of Margaritaville-themed stores and restaurants in Key West, followed in 1987 with the first nearby Margaritaville Café. Over the next two decades, several more of each opened in Florida, New Orleans, and California.

The brand has since expanded into dozens of categories, including resorts, apparel and shoes for men and women, a radio station, beer brand, iced tea, tequila & rum, home decor, salad dressing, food items like Margaritaville Crunchy Pimento Cheese & . Shrimp Bites and Margaritaville Cantina Style Medium Bold Salsa, Margaritaville at Sea cruise line and restaurants including Margaritaville Restaurant, JWB Prime Steak and Seafood, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill, and LandShark Bar & Grill.

There was also “Escape to Margaritaville,” a jukebox musical that aired on Broadway. In this romantic comedy, singer-bartender Sully falls in love with the much more career-oriented Rachel, who is vacationing with her friends and hanging out at the hotel Margaritaville. The bar where Sully works.

James William Buffett was born on Christmas Day 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and grew up in the port town of Mobile, Alabama. He graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and went from playing the streets of New Orleans to playing in Bourbon Street clubs six nights a week.

He released his first album “Down To Earth” in 1970 and regularly releases seven more each year; In 1974, her song “Come Monday” from her fourth studio album “Living and Dying in ¾ Time” peaked at #1. 30. Then came “Margaritaville”.

He has performed in over 50 studio and live albums and toured constantly, mostly with the Coral Reefer Band. He has won two Grammy Award nominations, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and a Country Music Association Award.

Buffett was actually in Austin, Texas when he inspired “Margaritaville.” He and a friend had stopped at a Mexican restaurant for lunch before dropping him off at the airport for Key West, so they started drinking margaritas.

“And I got the idea that it was just like Margarita-ville,” Buffett told Republic. “He laughed a little at this and got me on the plane. And I started working on it.”

Wrote some of it on the plane and finished it on the way to the Keys. “There was an accident on the bridge,” she said. “And we were stopped for about an hour, so I finished the song on Seven Mile Bridge, which I thought was appropriate.”

Buffett also asked “Where’s Joe Merchant?” He was also the author of many books, including and “A Pirate Looks at Hands” and added films to his résumé as the co-producer and lead actor of “Hoot,” based on Carl Hiaasen’s novel.

Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane; daughters Savannah and Sarah; and his son, Cameron.

AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton contributed from Los Angeles.

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