Jimmy Buffett: Greatest “Island Life” Lyrics from Iconic Musician and Songwriter

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

When you think of Jimmy Buffett, there’s a good chance that a few distinct images come to mind. It wouldn’t be surprising if Buffett’s name conjures up images of beaches, Hawaiian shirts, and margaritas. Buffett has been singing about — and living on — island time since he first moved to Key West in the early 1970s.

The mayor of Margaritaville calls his style of music “gulf and western.” The title is a nod to his early country music influences and the gulf coast he sings about. It’s like honky-tonk for vacationers and pirates. Thousands of loyal fans, affectionally known as Parrotheads, find words to live by in his lyrics and for good reason.

If you’re already tired of the ravages of winter, some of Buffett’s island escapism is just what you need.

Christmas on the Beach

It seems like just about every recording artist who has been in the business for more than a couple of decades has cut a Christmas album or two. Jimmy Buffett is no exception. The track “Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” from his “Christmas Island” album takes a look at Santa’s need for an island getaway. Apparently, even Father Christmas needs a break from the snow and tinsel every now and then.

“Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum. Santa’s off to the Caribbean. Marimbas, kalimbas, he’s playing steel drums.”

You have to admit, it’s a fun image. The real question here is what tunes Old Saint Nick would be playing on those island instruments? There’s a good chance he would opt for at least one classic Buffett track.

Wasted Away Again in Margaritaville

“Margaritaville” is probably the most popular song Jimmy Buffett has ever released. Even if you’ve never heard any of his other tunes, there’s a good chance you can sing along to this one.

In the song, Buffett proves to the world why he is the beach life personified. The man knows how to have a good time, “Nibbling on sponge cake, watching the sun bake all those tourists covered in oil. Strumming my six string on my front porch swing.” The track opens with heavy island vibes.

Most people know the chorus to this one by heart, “Wasted away again in Margaritaville. Searching for my lost shaker of salt. Some people say there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s nobody’s fault.” Jimmy knows that you don’t have to be going through heartbreak to be drunk before noon on the beach. Sometimes it’s just what you need to do.

Jimmy Buffett Stays in an Island State of Mind

However, Jimmy Buffett knows nothing washes away the blues quite like the beach. The lyrics, “Gonna put the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live in it. Sunshine gonna wash my blues away,” kick off the Zac Brown track “Knee Deep”, which features Buffett.

Later in the tune, Buffett sums it all up in one line, “It’s a sweet sweet life living by the salty sea.” As temperatures drop all across the country, the sunshine and salty sea start sounding better and better.

Buffett isn’t hogging the good island vibes, though. In “Who Gets to Live Like This”, he lets the listeners know that you’re welcome any time. At the end of a tune about life in an island paradise he sings, “I’m happy to inform you that we get to live like this.”

So, break out your blender and take a little island vacation of your own. It’s most likely five o’clock somewhere.

Jimmy Buffett Is Far from Done

If you’re looking for some new Jimmy Buffett tunes, there’s some good news. You can check out his new album “Songs You Don’t Know by Heart” right now.