First Time, Last Time: Jimmy Buffett Sings "Margaritaville"

Jimmy Buffett, the laid back singer who provided the soundtrack for vacations, cruises, and backyard parties held by your parents' best friends died Friday, September 1 at 76 years old.

The singer who liked to wear Aloha shirts and strum his acoustic guitar barefooted parlayed a few hit songs into a billion dollar empire of restaurants, frozen beverages and real estate.

His biggest song, "Margaritaville" went to #8 on the US charts in 1977 and Buffett named his chain of restaurants after it, symbolic in a way because it was at an eatery where he received his inspiration.

Buffett was at Mexican restaurant in Austin, Texas, on the way to the airport and the margaritas were particularly good, as was the ambiance.

"And I kind of came up with that idea of this is just like Margarita-ville," Buffett told the Arizona Republic in 2021. He wrote most of the song on the plane and finished it on the car ride home.

Football fans in Mississippi sing along to "Margaritaville" a day after it was announced the singer had died at 76.

Buffett said the first time he played it, he snuck it into a set filled with covers.

"Everybody responded to that song immediately in that little bar," he recalled. "I thought, well, this will work good into my setlist. But that's all I thought about it."

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60 Minutes featured Jimmy years ago and told his story beautifully.

The earliest setlist in our database was from his Pink Crustacean Tour of 1976 where depending on the night he would open for Loggins & Messina, Bonnie Raitt, or The Doobie Brothers, among others.

He played the tune over 1,200 times. It was covered by groups from the Zac Brown Band, to Sammy Hagar to Don Henley.

The last time Buffett sang about his lost shaker of salt was a surprise to all. Jimmy's friend Mac McAnally was headlining at the quaint Sunset Cove in Portsmouth, Rhode Island when he jumped on stage two songs in to sing "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."

Buffett has played the Alan Jackson classic nearly 600 times. Feeling comfy, he stayed on the stage with Mac for 45 minutes.

The last time Jimmy sang "Margaritaville" was in Rhode Island.

Together the pair reeled through Buffet's catalogue including "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Come Monday," and "A Pirate Looks at Forty" which Jimmy dedicated to the restaurant owner, Mike MacFarlane, who was celebrating his 50th birthday.

"Mac got a hold of me and said, 'Hey, Jimmy wants to come up and do a few songs. What do you think?'" MacFarlane told WJAR.

"And I said, 'Let's find a way to make it happen.' It was just impromptu. He just wanted to get out of the house."

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