A candid, compelling, and rollicking portrait of the pirate captain of Margaritaville—Jimmy Buffett.
In Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way, acclaimed music critic Ryan White has crafted the first definitive account of Buffett’s rise from singing songs for beer to his emergence as a tropical icon and CEO behind the Margaritaville industrial complex, a vast network of merchandise, chain restaurants, resorts, and lifestyle products all inspired by his sunny but disillusioned hit “Margaritaville.”
Filled with interviews from friends, musicians, Coral Reefer Band members past and present, and business partners who were there, this book is a top-down joyride with plenty of side trips and meanderings from Mobile and Pascagoula to New Orleans, Key West, down into the islands aboard the Euphoria and the Euphoria II, and into the studios and onto the stages where the foundation of Buffett’s reputation was laid.
Buffett wasn’t always the pied piper of beaches, bars, and laid-back living. Born on the Gulf Coast, the son of a son of a sailing ship captain, Buffett scuffed around New Orleans in the late sixties, flunked out of Nashville (and a marriage) in 1971, and found refuge among the artists, dopers, shrimpers, and genuine characters who’d collected at the end of the road in Key West. And it was there, in those waning outlaw days at the last American exit, where Buffett, like Hemingway before him, found his voice and eventually brought to life the song that would launch Parrot Head nation.
And just where is Margaritaville? It’s wherever it’s five o’clock; it’s wherever there’s a breeze and salt in the air; and it’s wherever Buffett sets his bare feet, smiles, and sings his songs.
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About the Author
Ryan White, the author of Springsteen: Album by Album and Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way, has twice been named one of the top feature writers in the country by the Society for Features Journalism. He spent sixteen years at The Oregonian covering sports, music, and culture. He’s written for The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, The Sacramento Bee, The Dallas Morning News, and Portland Monthly. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Once Upon a Time in Key West 1
Chapter 2 The Mythical, Mystical, Poetic, Romantic, and Artistic History of Jimmy Buffett 9
Chapter 3 The Nashville Telegraph 23
Chapter 4 "I Guess They'll Get Us Started" 37
Chapter 5 Regattas, Regrettas, and Adventures at the End of the Road 51
Chapter 6 There's No Substitute for Experience 67
Chapter 7 There Wasn't a Name for It 85
Chapter 8 He Meets the Bear, Finally 101
Chapter 9 Tire Swings, Hurricanes, and the Coral Reefer Band 121
Chapter 10 Euphoria 139
Chapter 11 Changes in … Everything 163
Chapter 12 To Bimini and Beyond 177
Chapter 13 Fool Buttons 185
Chapter 14 Almost Over the Edge 205
Chapter 15 A Ramshackle Place 223
Chapter 16 If You Want to Survive the Tourist Business 251
Chapter 17 What Would Jimmy Buffett Do? 277
Chapter 18 A Salty Piece of Land 291
Chapter 19 Searching for Margaritaville 315
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is such a disappointment. The author spends way too much time talking about pirates invading Key West in the 1700's. Very little about Jimmy Buffet. I struggled thru about 100 pages and finally just gave up. Not what I expected at all. I wanted a book about Jimmy and his start in music -- not pirates in Florida.
So many people want to be friends with Jimmy and we all want to believe we are. He easily makes you believe that idea with his music, books, products, interviews, and especially the concerts. This account does not do that. This book is as much about the music industry as JB. The book is a good timeline to help us remember our music from those years. If you aren't from that age, then it probably won't interest you. He certainly had fun and games becoming the entertainer he is, but he worked very hard at it for very long and is very wealthy as a result. That creates a gulf between persona and reality in some respect. How many of us would be allowed to cross those waters and become a friend and not just attend the party. After reading, I feel less a Parrothead than before. I am not disappointed. He deserves applause, but for different reasons than I once felt. Robert Frost
I've read a lot of books on rock stars and this is one of the worst. Way to much crap on information no one cares about. Three quarters of the book is filled with just marginal information. Here is an entertainer worth a half billion dollars and it is just not a very good read. Save your money buy a 12 pack and listen to some old Jimmy B!