The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Saturday June 15th

Jimmy Buffett, ‘Gulf and Western’ music legend, dead at 76

Buffett’s legacy will continue to live on forever, through his records and his fandom. (Photo courtesy of Flickr / Kenny Jenkins, April 11, 2006).
Buffett’s legacy will continue to live on forever, through his records and his fandom. (Photo courtesy of Flickr / Kenny Jenkins, April 11, 2006).

By Ally Uhlendorf 
News Editor

After a four-year battle with Merkel cell skin cancer, “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett died on Sept. 1. According to his official website, the star passed away peacefully “at his home in Sag Harbor, Long Island surrounded by family and friends.” 

During the years following the discovery of Buffett’s cancer, the artist continued to perform up until his last show — a surprise performance in Rhode Island last July. 

Buffett has had one of the most successful careers in the world of music. With such a unique and specific sound, his music is hard to forget. His musical legacy began when he moved to Nashville, Tenn. to work for Billboard Magazine and test the waters of country music. There, he released his first record, “Down To Earth,” in 1970. Later that same year, the aspiring artist moved to Key West, Fla., where he found his sound — a mix of musicality and storytelling.

The song “Come Monday,” from his fourth studio album “Living and Dying in ¾ Time,” was the single that put him on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 30. His tour kickstarted in 1974, performing at well-known folk venues across the country, and he had been touring up until this past year. 

His most famous hit, “Margaritaville,” spent 22 weeks on the charts, peaking at No. 8 in 1977 after its release. This song and the story behind it were what launched Buffett into his national fame, inspiring him to build a business empire. 

“He sold at least 23 million albums in the United States alone…on par with Jimi Hendrix and the Beastie Boys,” according to The New York Times

Not only did Buffett’s music make its mark, but so did his fashion sense and ambition in the business world. The singer was typically known for his laid-back style, rocking a Hawaiian button-down and leaving the shoes behind. His business empire, based around the idea of good vibes and island escapism, included Margaritaville restaurants and resorts, clothing, drinks and even a Broadway show, “Escape to Margaritaville.” 

He also had a side career as an author, writing both fiction and nonfiction stories. Buffett wrote eight books in total, three of them being No. 1 New York Times best sellers. 

Buffett is survived by his wife, Jane Buffett, and his children, Savannah Jane, Sarah Delaney and Cameron Marley. 

Through all of his different careers and legacies, Buffett was an all-around star. The singer’s passion for his craft lived with him throughout his entire career and will continue to live with his fans forever. 


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