Jimmy Buffett Songs

by

Riley Johnson

Updated

October 3, 2023

Updated

October 3, 2023

Updated

October 3, 2023

Country icon Jimmy Buffett was beloved for his catchy tunes with laid-back, coastal seagoing vibe -mostly with daydreaming themes. 

Lucky for us, Buffett has released a boatload of tunes for us to enjoy – with more than 50 albums, including live records and movie soundtracks throughout his six-decade career. Now, let’s take a moment to revisit the impressive legacy he left behind.

RELATED: Top Country Songs About The Beach For The Perfect Summer Playlist

Here are some of our favorite Jimmy Buffett songs you may want to reminisce about.

1. Margaritaville 

From: Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes (1977)

RELATED: Watch This Amazon Parrot Impressively Singing The Infectious “Margaritaville”

“Margaritaville,” Buffett wrote after spending some time drinking margaritas in a Mexican restaurant, is one of his biggest hits. It ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart while peaking at No. 8 on Billboard Hot 100.

The song is about a man spending an entire season at a beach resort, playing guitar on his front porch and watching tourists sunbathe. It was so famous that it launched an empire, from resort and restaurant chains to short-lived musicals.

2. Come Monday

From: Living & Dying in 3/4 Time (1974)

Buffett, sadly, had to spend his time away from his family. He had to bear the cost of fame. So, during one of his tours, he wrote “Come Monday” for his future wife, Jane, whom he was missing. 

Here, he sings how excited he is for Monday to come, which meant reuniting with the woman he loves. Ironically, it’s one of the more popular tunes he played at almost all of his concerts – where the audience dreaded Monday as this meant going back to work for most of them.

3. Cheeseburger in Paradise

From: Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)

While the song only reached No. 32 on Billboard Hot 100, it launched another arm of empire for Buffett, the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain, which can be found in 17 states in the United States. There’s even one in Sydney, Australia.

“Cheeseburger in Paradise” tells the story of a man trying to amend his carnivorous habits with nutritious food like sunflower seeds.

4. Fins

From: Volcano (1979)

This song from Buffett’s 1979 album, Volcano, is an absolute concert favorite. Whenever he played it, the crowd would put their hands together above their heads, resembling a shark’s fin. They would then move their “fins to the left” and “fins to the right.”

In 2009, Buffett gave the song a twist for the Miami Dolphins football team.

5. Why Don’t We Get Drunk

From: A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)

It was the first song Buffett wrote under the pseudonym Marvin Gardens, a moniker he derived from a location featured on the original Atlantic City version of the Monopoly game board. Buffett put his sense of humor on full display here as this song was a parody of the standard country music love songs.

Buffett said he made the song “as a total satire” and didn’t intend to put it on an album. However, the song quickly became controversial and was gaining jukebox sales.

6. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

From: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (1976)

The absolutely charming title track of the album turned Buffett from a persistently underrated country outlaw to a tropical pop star. The song even begins with an instrumental introduction that, at the outset, seems like the chorus of “Yellow Bird,” a Haitian song that became famous in the United States because of its Hawaiian-flavored instrumental. It marked the beginning of Buffett’s pleasant, chill-like brand.

7. Volcano

Volcano (1979)

Meanwhile, Buffett wrote “Volcano” in a calypso or reggae style. The song finds the singer anxious about the Soufriere Hills volcano that’s near to eruption while he was recording his album on the island of Montserrat. Buffett described the moment as the “wildest times” he had ever had in his career.

8. He Went to Paris

From: A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973)

Even though “He Went to Paris” never ranked on the charts,  it turned out to be one of his most well-known tracks, and he even included it on a number of his greatest hits compilations. 

Buffett wrote the song after a chance encounter with Eddie Balchowsky, an American musician who lost an arm during the Spanish Civil War. Balchowsky was a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

9. Son of a Son of a Sailor

From: Son of a Son of a Sailor (1978)

Buffett created the utmost story of Maritime’s desire to travel with the title track to his 1978 album. He wrote the song after finding a picture of his sailor grandfather returning from a trip to Nova Scotia. Buffett noted that the look on his grandfather’s face seemingly tells a story of where he had been.

10. A Pirate Looks at Forty

From: A-1-A (1974)

Here’s another song Buffett composed, this time about Phil Clark, a contemporary pirate he ran across when he first came to Key West during the early 1970s. Buffett described Clark in different accounts, such as a drug runner, mercenary, smuggler, but most of all, an adventurer. 

The song became a staple to Buffett’s concerts as anyone getting older resonates with its message, which is ultimately about wisdom and resilience.

Truly, these Jimmy Buffett songs have been a part of our lives for so long.


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