1974 was a good year for me. I gad scored a job at EMI records working in the two things I enjoyed most….music and selling.
And in that year, I first discovered Jimmy Buffett. His album “Living and Dying In ¾ Time” was released, and I loved it.
This was Jimmy’s second album for Dunhill Records, having recently moved from Barnaby Records. (On ABC here in Australia)
My job was to sell it to all the record shops in Adelaide, no one had heard of Jimmy, but the job was made easier as we got “Come Monday” the single from the album, (remember “singles”?) was being played on the two commercial pop radio stations.
The first track, “Pencil Thin Mustache” was a favorite of mine, and my young son. Now an adult, we still love that song, and often featured in the band we were in together.
The album was Jimmys first to get into the Billboard 200 chart, but only getting to number 176. The single "Come Monday" reached number 30 on the Hot 100.
And that’s how I discovered Jimmy Buffett!
Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on 25 December 1946. but grew up in the nearby port town of Mobile in Alabama. After attending McGill–Toolen Catholic high school he went to Auburn University in Alabama, where he took up the guitar, didn’t do a lot of study, eventually dropping out after a year.
He then continued his delayed education at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where he graduated with a history degree in 1969.
After playing in clubs in New Orleans, Jimmy moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1970 to record his first album, “Down to Earth”, while working as a journalist on the music mag, “Billboard.”
Then in 1971 he gave up on writing and relocated to Key West, an island in the Straits of Florida that is a neighbor of Cuba.
There he lived the life he sang about in his songs – busking, playing in bars for drinking money, hiring himself out as a crew member on yachts and lazing around in the sun.
In 1973, Buffett signed a recording contract with ABC/Dunhill Records, then run by Don Gant. After the death of Jim Croce in a plane crash in September 1973, Dunhill promoted Buffett as a replacement.
Buffett's second release and his first release on ABC/Dunhill Records was “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean”, released in June 1973. The album featured the hit singles "Grapefruit—Juicy Fruit" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk" as well as "I Have Found Me a Home", written about his experiences in Key West. He used the money he made from the album to buy his first boat.
“Living & Dying in 3/4 Time”, recorded in October 1973 and released in February 1974, deviated from the island-theme of his other albums. It included "Come Monday", written for his then-girlfriend and future wife, his first single to place on the Billboard Hot 100.
“A1A” came out in December 1974, (good year that!) the third album in Buffett's Don Gant-produced "Key West phase." It included "A Pirate Looks at Forty", (written about a drug smuggler) and it was the album that really got me into Jimmy.
On hearing the first track, “Making Music for Money” an Alex Harvey number, I heard jimmy in a gutsy rockin’ style. It is a great album and includes the all-time favorites “A Pirate Looks at Forty”, "Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season", “Nautical Wheelers” and John Sebastian's “Stories We Could Tell”.
This album sounds as good today as it did in 1974.
Other albums followed, “Havanna Daydreaming”, (1976) then Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”, in 1977.
This is the seventh studio album by Jimmy, released in January 1977. This is his breakthrough 1977 album, which was his best-selling studio album of Buffett's career, up until “License to Chill”.
The album contains his biggest single, "Margaritaville". Jimmy always put his heart and soul into every performance, saying “I go onstage with the attitude that this could be my last show, lets all have fun and party till we drop!”.
Critics were less convinced of Margaritaville’s value, or of Buffett’s “Gulf & Western” musical style, which Rolling Stone once referred to rather disparagingly as “a surfy, sandy corner of pop music.
Musicians that have cited Buffett as a musical influence include Greg "Fingers" Taylor, a former member of Buffett's Coral Reefer Band, as well as musicians that have "latched on to his seaside-and-booze themes" such as Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and Zac Brown.
Paul McCartney had a great relationship with Jimmy.
Jimmy Buffett made the most of his tropical "island escapism" lifestyle that fans of his music sought by launching several business ventures to sell this lifestyle to his fans.
Through his Margaritaville brand, Buffett licensed hotels, casinos, cruise experiences, restaurants and bars, packaged foods, beverages, spirits, outdoor furniture, home goods, appliances, and apparel and accessories.
In May this year, Buffett was hospitalized to "address some issues that needed immediate attention" and had to rescheduled tour dates. In late August, he entered hospice care. Jimmy died on September 1, 2023, at age 76, at his home in Sag Harbor, New York, due to Merkel-cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer.
According to a statement on Buffett's official website, he was "surrounded by his family, friends, music, and dogs" at the time of his death. His last words to his sister (Lucy Buffett) were "Have Fun”.
In May this year, Buffett was hospitalized to "address some issues that needed immediate attention" and had to rescheduled tour dates. In late August, he entered hospice care. Jimmy died on September 1, 2023, at age 76, at his home in Sag Harbor, New York, due to Merkel-cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer. diagnosed four years According to a statement on Buffett's official website, he was "surrounded by his family, friends, music, and dogs" at the time of his death. His last words to his sister (Lucy Buffett) were "Have Fun”.
Living and Dying in 3/4 Time.
The "Living and Dying in 3/4 time was my introduction to Jimmy Buffett. The sales poster still has pride of place on my music room wall, and the album still gets played .
1 Pencil Thin Mustache
2 Come Monday
3 Ringling, Ringling
4 Brahma Fear
5 Brand New Country Star
6 Livingston's Gone To Texas
1 The Wino and I Know
2 West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown
4 Ballad of Spider John
5 God's Own Drunk
The "A1A' Album
The one that made me a Buffett fan for life. The first couple of chords from the first track, "Music for Money" , and I was hooked. also has "Pirate looks at 40" on the album. The album was not a commercial success, it is regarded now as one of his finest.
As Reviewer Vik Iyengar of “Allmusic” states of A1A "one of Jimmy Buffett's classic '70s albums that established his persona, and it is a perfect introduction to his music."
1.Making Music for Money
2.Door Number Three
4.Presents to Send You
5.Stories We Could Tell
6.Life Is Just a Tire Swing
1.A Pirate Looks at Forty.
3.Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season
5.Tin Cup Chalice"
The Changes in Latitudes..."....
Of course one of Jimmy's all time great albums, containing his greatest hit "Margaritaville".
Changes is still popular and was critically well received when released in January 1977. It was a transitional album on several levels for Buffett. In a commercial sense, it ushered in Buffett's greatest period of chart and airplay popularity – changing him from an FM cult favorite and minor hitmaker to a top-draw touring artist whose albums sold in the millions, receiving regular AM airplay at the time.
1 Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes
2 Wonder Why We Ever Go Home
3 Banana Republics
4 Tampico Trauma
5 Lovely Cruise
2 In The Shelter
3 Miss You So Badly
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A classic collection of Jimmy yarns, some based on fact, others......who knows? But you will enjoy