Ask any Jimmy Buffett fan they usually’ll inform you that his music isn’t simply catchy, it’s a frame of mind.
Broadly identified for hits like “Margaritaville,” “It’s 5 O’Clock Someplace” and “Come Monday,” the beloved singer died Sept. 1 of pores and skin most cancers at 76. And following the information, hundreds of devoted followers — affectionately referred to as “Parrotheads” — started concurrently mourning and celebrating their laid-back idol.
“Soundtrack to my life”
The time period Parrothead (additionally styled as Parrot Head) was coined by Eagles bassist Timothy B. Schmit, who was moonlighting in Buffett’s band within the Eighties. Throughout one gig, he seemed out upon a sea of followers clad in tropical-themed apparel that included Hawaiian shirts and, sure, parrot hats. His joking comment grew to become adopted by a fan nation that’s coming to grips with an incredible loss.
“His lyrics are the soundtrack to my life,” says Suzanne Calhoun, board member of the nationwide group Parrots Head In Paradise (PHIP), which has greater than 200 U.S. chapters and has raised almost $60 million for numerous charities through the years.
Calhoun, additionally president of PHIP’s Austin outpost, says Buffett’s songs replicate the easy pleasures in life: a chilly drink, good firm, tropical adventures, self-discovery and a contact of “humor and playfulness,” providing an escape to those that dream of dwelling the beachside way of life.
To pay tribute to his reminiscence, Parrotheads within the Austin space gathered on Monday on the Mexican restaurant Excessive 5 (previously referred to as Cocina del Sur), the place Buffett started writing the music that grew to become “Margaritaville” whereas ingesting on the bar. He completed his signature tune whereas driving on the freeway on his approach to Florida.
“A few our native musicians performed tribute songs,” she says of the occasion. “A bunch of our membership members raised a toast to Jimmy and all the wonderful issues he is delivered to our lives.”
An excellent larger tribute is about for October’s annual Meeting of the Minds in Gulf Shores, Ala., the place Buffett might be despatched out in type with an infusion of “Trop Rock” bands (shorthand for “Tropical Rock,” describing Buffett’s easy-going mix of folks, rock and Caribbean sounds) and group tithings.
“We’ll do a tribute to Jimmy on the primary night time,” says Calhoun. “We’re additionally elevating cash for Jimmy’s main charity referred to as Singing for Change,” giving funds to native nonprofits throughout the nation.
The concept of “partying with a objective,” is a part of the Parrothead ethos, she says: “We will dwell an escapist way of life whereas additionally giving again to our communities. Jimmy taught us that.”
Calhoun is way from alone. The day after Buffett’s dying, followers from coast to coast — Fort Meyers, Fla., to San Diego, New York City to the singer’s hometown of Pascagoula, Miss. — raised a “5 o’clock” toast in Buffett’s reminiscence (an homage to the singer’s seminal ode to happy hour).
And, as a number of Parrotheads inform Yahoo Leisure, extra followers might be flocking to beachside bars and eating places this month to provide hardy farewells.
“Jimmy Buffett was a lot bigger than life”
Kevin Carstens, president of Music Metropolis Phins, the Nashville chapter of PHIP, says whereas Buffett’s dying was a “shock to our methods,” a whole lot of Parrotheads celebrated his life with two Labor Day weekend festivals.
“The musicians redid their units to incorporate tales and songs from Jimmy and there was a spontaneously assembled tribute,” Carstens recollects of the festivities. “There have been tears in every single place all weekend as we’d hear one thing, see a tribute that was particularly significant or hear one in every of his songs that caught us very otherwise now than it did simply two days earlier than.”
In the meantime in Key West, Fla., membership president Eddie Kertis was current when hundreds of Parrotheads took to the streets to rejoice Buffett’s reminiscence in a New Orleans-style second-line parade, which got here collectively in lower than 24 hours, he explains.
“One of many native enterprise individuals put it collectively,” he says of the occasion. “In 16 hours, he obtained the allow, obtained the police paid for and had the whole lot put collectively. It was wonderful. The spirit was festive and folks have been bawling. It was an enormous, comfortable event.”
These festivities continued at an area bar the place Buffett started his profession. “He used to play for drinks,” Kertis says of the singer’s Key West beginnings. “Jimmy was the best songwriter that’s ever been identified, however what he’s actually performed is convey thousands and thousands of individuals collectively as an enormous household.”
“Jimmy Buffett was a lot bigger than life,” he continues. “Jimmy Buffett liked his followers greater than we liked him. And he was respectful. He was not distant. When you bumped into him anyplace and needed to speak or get an image, he would do it.”
“Like shedding a beloved member of the family”
John Patton, president of the Little Rock, Ark., PHIP chapter, says Buffett’s music “has been altering lives for many years.”
“It’s an escape from the visitors, troublesome workplaces, and normal stressors of our lives. It takes us to locations that we need to dwell however can’t,” he says. All through the month, Little Rock membership members plan on paying tributes in different methods.
“We’ve requested our members to submit their favourite songs and one in every of our membership musicians, Paul Tull, will play the songs for these in attendance,” he says of the membership’s subsequent meetup later this month, which can even have members convey mementoes from previous concert events.
“It’s like shedding a beloved member of the family,” says Tull of their shared grief.
“Jimmy will dwell on ceaselessly”
In Central Oklahoma, a chapter with greater than 300 members, president Dan Johnson says Parrotheads are collaborating with their pals in Tulsa, the place the state’s solely Margaritaville restaurant is situated, the place “persons are planning even larger issues.”
That features an occasion referred to as Jamaican Me Crazy on the Oklahoma State Honest on Sept. 20, the place ingesting, toasts and music is par for the course.
“Being a Parrothead modifications your life,” Johnson says. “You begin doing belongings you didn’t do as a lot earlier than. You journey extra, and that journey usually brings you to the Caribbean and the seaside. It’s definitely modified my life. It’s made me way more open.”
One music that embraces the mantra, in response to Johnson, is one in every of Buffett’s final songs, “Bubble’s Up,” an unreleased observe Johnson views because the singer’s “farewell music.” The lyrics embrace:
Bubbles up they are going to pоint you in the direction of house / Irrespective of hоw deеp or how far you roam / They may shоw уоu the floor / The plot and thе objective / Ѕo when the jоurney gеtѕ lengthy / Јust know that you simply all love.
“We’re nonetheless right here and we’ll develop stronger,” says Johnson of the music’s message, a name to motion for followers in every single place to by no means surrender on paradise.
“Jimmy,” says Johnson in a sentiment absolutely embraced by all Parrotheads, “will dwell on ceaselessly.”