Popular singer Jimmy Buffett of ‘Margaritaville’ Fame, dead at 76

By Lady Williamson

Jimmy Buffett during an autograph signing session on the mess decks aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). By United States Navy, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jay C. Pugh – Navy NewsStand, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


James William Buffett (December 25, 1946 – September 1, 2023) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and businessman. He was best known for his tropical rock music, which often portrays a lifestyle described as “island escapism”. Buffett recorded hit songs known as “The Big 8”: “Margaritaville” (1977), which is ranked 234th on the Recording Industry Association of America‘s list of “Songs of the Century“; “Come Monday” (1974); “Fins” (1979); “Volcano” (1979); “A Pirate Looks at Forty” (1974); “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (1978); “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” (1973); and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” (1977). His other popular songs include “Son of a Son of a Sailor” (1978), “One Particular Harbour” (1983), and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (2003). He formed the Coral Reefer Band in 1975.

Of the over 30 albums released by Buffett, eight are certified gold and nine are certified platinum or multiplatinum. In total, Buffett sold over 20 million albums.

Buffett also parlayed the “island escapism” lifestyle of his music into several business ventures including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain, the now defunct Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain, and ventures in hotels, casinos, liquor, and retirement communities. Buffett was one of the world’s richest musicians, with a net worth of $1 billion. He was also a bestselling author. His devoted fanbase, composed mostly of baby boomers, are known as “Parrotheads”.

Buffett died on September 1, 2023, age 76, in his home in Sag Harbor, New York, due to complications from Merkel-cell carcinoma, a rare and aggressive skin cancer, with which he had been diagnosed four years earlier.