Jimmy Buffett, the enduring entertainer who kept audiences singing along to “Margaritaville” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” September 1, 2023. He was 76. Buffett and duet partner Alan Jackson spent eight weeks at No. 1 at country radio with “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” ultimately collecting 2003 ACM trophies for Single and Vocal Event of the Year; the feel-good anthem also landed on the ACM ballot for Song of the Year and Video of the Year.
Born on December 25, 1946, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffett was raised in Mobile, Alabama. He earned a degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and served as a Nashville correspondent for Billboard magazine from 1969 to 1970. Although he’d done some recording in Nashville, he relocated to Key West, Florida, in 1972, and his original songwriting reflected his tropical lifestyle. First recording for Dunhill/ABC (and later ABC), Buffett charted six country singles in the 1970s, with “Margaritaville” rising to No. 13 in 1977. “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitudes” climbed to No. 24 a few months later.
After moving to the MCA pop roster in the 1980s, he dented the country charts with songs like “If the Phone Doesn’t Ring, It’s Me.” A 1985 compilation titled Songs You Know by Heart sold more than seven million copies. However, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” cemented his stature in the country community. He recorded singles with guests Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and George Strait (the ACM-nominated “Hey Good Lookin’,” 2004), Martina McBride (“Trip Around the Sun,” 2004), and Zac Brown Band (“Knee Deep,” a triple-platinum No. 1 hit in 2011). Buffett’s 2020 album, Life on the Flip Side, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart.