Jimmy Buffett wasn’t just a singer-songwriter—he was a lifestyle. A Southern boy who started his career trying to break into Nashville, Buffett eventually made his way to Key West, Florida, where he became synonymous with the shoes-off, feet-up image of island life. His music—a blend of folk, country, and tropical sounds sometimes called “gulf and western”—has an escapist quality, but a useful, reassuring one too.
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It’s rife with good party jokes and Zenlike wisdom: a philosophy his fans continue to live by. For a guy whose best-known song, “Margaritaville,” captures the pleasures of not doing all that much, Buffett was also a tremendously hard worker, parlaying the world of his music into nightclubs and restaurants, clothing lines and video games, best-selling novels and Broadway musicals. He also had one of the industry’s most consistently busy touring schedules—what the perennially understated Buffett once called “a great summer job.” Buffett passed away in September 2023.