Jimmy Buffett, Roguish Bard of Island Escapism, Is Dead at 76


Mr. Buffett’s 1974 release “Living and Dying in ¾ Time” included a version of the comedian Lord Buckley’s “God’s Own Drunk.” “Come Monday,” a lovelorn track from the record, became his first Top 40 hit.

“A1A” (also from 1974) was named for the oceanfront highway that runs along Florida’s Atlantic coastline. The album was Mr. Buffett’s first to contain references to Key West and maritime life, but it was 1977’s platinum-selling “Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes,” with the blockbuster hit “Margaritaville,” that finally catapulted him to stardom. “Fins,” another major single, was released in 1979.

A series of popular releases followed, culminating in 1985 with “Songs You Know By Heart,” a compilation of Mr. Buffett’s most beloved songs to date. The record became the best-selling album of his career.

Mr. Buffett also opened the first of his many “Margaritaville” stores in 1985. That was the year that the former Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit, then a member of the Coral Reefer Band, coined the term Parrot Heads to describe Mr. Buffett’s staunch legion of fans, the bulk of whom were baby boomers.

A supporter of conservationist causes, Mr. Buffett moved away from the Keys in the late ’70s because of the area’s increasing commercialization. He initially relocated to Aspen, Colo., before making his home on St. Barts in the Caribbean. He also had houses in Palm Beach, Fla., and Sag Harbor, on eastern Long Island.

In addition to touring and recording, activities he pursued into the 2020s, Mr. Buffett wrote music for movies like “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Urban Cowboy.” He also appeared in movies and television shows, including “Rancho Deluxe,” “Jurassic World” and the “Hawaii Five-O” revival in the 2010s, where he starred as the helicopter pilot Frank Bama, a character from his best-selling 1992 novel, “Where Is Joe Merchant?”

POST AUTHOR: Bill Friskics-Warren

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