Picture of Jimmy Buffett

Early days

Jimmy Buffett was born Christmas Day, 1946 in Pascagoula, Mississippi. After spending his youth in Catholic schools he learned to play guitar while attending the University of Southern Mississippi and began playing at the Bayou Room on Bourbon Street. After graduating he began work at a shipyard but continued to spend his nights playing at hotel cocktail lounges.

Nashville here I come?

In 1969, Buffett moved to Nashville, TN to start recording a two-album contract with Barnaby Records. The first album, ‘Down to Earth’, had such disappointing sales that the master tapes for the next album, ‘High Cumberland Jubilee’, were “lost.” However, those “lost” tapes were miraculously “found” years later when Buffett was a star.

Mile 0 in Key West

Trip down the overseas highway

Buffett was broke and hating Nashville by his mid-twenties. It was in 1971 that he took the trip that changed his life and was his inspiration for “Margaritaville.” Buffett was heading for Miami for a concert gig but when he arrived there was no job. Luckily, Buffett was able to stay at an old friend's house. Buffett decided to take a weekend drive down 25 miles down A1A to Key West. Throwing himself into the Conch Republic’s nonstop partying, Buffett literally played for his supper.

Coral Reefers

For years, Buffett had been introducing a mythical Coral Reefer Band. It wasn’t until 1975 that an actual Coral Reefer Band was formed to tour and promote his third album, ‘A1A’. In 1977, “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” was released and produced the hit single, “Margaritaville” that remained on the Billboard Top 40 charts for fifteen weeks and peaked at #8. "Margaritaville" gave a name to the place fans escaped when they listened to Buffett's music.

Buffett playing guitar

Reason for his success

Although he portrays himself as a beach bum, Buffett has more business savvy than he lets on. He knew he struck a chord with his pop-rock melodies of beaches, sailing, and the good life. As a result, his success continues to this day and shows no sign of waning."

Sunset in Key West