Some Thoughts on the Late Jimmy Buffett
One doesn't have to be a fan of the singer to recognize his influence on our culture.
Last week, iconic singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett passed away. He left behind a remarkable legacy as a musician, businessman, author, and undisputed leader of the “island escapism” sub-culture. He’ll be missed by family, friends, and of course millions of fans.
Personally, I never got into Buffett’s music. Folksy, laid-back songs about cheeseburgers, drinking, sailing, surfing, hanging out, and partying on beaches just didn’t connect with me the way they did with so many others. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve poked fun at the Buffett brand a few times over the decades, including to friends of mine who were very much into it.
A few years back, when my son and I were vacationing in Hollywood during the pandemic, I remember trying to explain to him Buffett’s appeal, along with the whole "Parrotheads" phenomenon. We had caught an off-hour meal at one of the singer’s “Margaritaville” restaurants, as it happened to be one of the few places open in the area. My son, who had previously known nothing about Buffett, found my telling of the tale, and the island theme of the eatery (which included looping videos of Buffett’s beach performances), all very amusing.
But the food was great, we (and everyone around us) had a good and relaxing time, and that right there perhaps sums up Buffett’s brand better than anything I told my son about it that night. One doesn’t have to be a fan of Buffett’s music to recognize that it is about bringing people together and having fun. There is a positive sense of community to it that spanned generations (from baby boomers to even some older millennials). That strikes me as admirable, and something we could certainly use more of these days.
Buffett, who was also an avid pilot and sailor, clearly loved his life and his lifestyle, and enjoyed great success from it. He was one of the richest musicians on the planet, and I think it’s fair to say that in a number of ways, he epitomized the American dream.
One last thought on Buffett. A lot of people didn’t realize until his passing that the singer had a very brief cameo in the 2015 blockbuster movie, Jurassic World. Staying very much on-brand, he’s shown fleeing an outdoor bar to escape attacking dinosaurs… while sparing two margaritas.
Have a favorite Buffett song? Let me know in an email, or in the comment section below.
This week on the No BS Zone, the web-series I do with Bernie Goldberg, the two of us will be talking to one of my favorite political and cultural writers, David French of the New York Times. I’m very much looking forward to it.
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Obligatory Dog Shot
The little bed is a big hit.
Obligatory Giant Potato Shot
A stop at the Windsor Harvest Festival yesterday.
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Fawlty Towers was a hilarious British sitcom starring John Cleese. It followed the stresses and mishaps of an owner of a seaside hotel, his pushy wife, and their small staff. It aired in the late 1970s, and my brother and I have fond memories of watching the show on PBS when we were kids… especially the interactions between Cleese and Andrew Sachs, who played the English-challenged Spanish waiter, Manuel.
The show produced an album from the BBC in 1979 billed as a “sound track,” but there’s no music. Instead it features audio clips from some of the show’s more memorable scenes. It’s a lot of fun.
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