Tributes & Reactions – Billboard
Written by GRB on 02/09/2023
Musicians are mourning the loss of legendary singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who has died following an undisclosed illness.
Superstar artists like Kenny Chesney, Elton John, Alan Jackson, Sammy Hagar and many others took to social media to honor the “Margaritaville” singer, who passed Friday night (Sept. 1), according to a post on his website. He was 76.
“Jimmy passed away on the night of September 1st surrounded by his family, friends, music and dogs,” the statement reads. “He lived his life like a song till the very last breath and will be missed beyond measure by so many.”
Sitting on a beach in Key West, Fla., Chesney paid tribute to Buffett by singing the first verse and chorus of Buffett’s 1974 track “A Pirate Looks at Forty.” He also shared a video of himself performing “Margaritaville” — which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977 — alongside the late singer-songwriter.
“So goodbye Jimmy. Thanks for your friendship and the songs I will carry in my heart forever. Sail On Sailor,” the country star captioned the post on Instagram.
Chesney and Buffett teamed up for a remake of Buffett’s “Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season,” which was featured on Chesney’s 2018 album, Songs for the Saints. Chesney also appeared with Buffett on the star-studded track “Hey Good Lookin’,” alongside Jackson, Keith, Clint Black and George Strait. The Hank Williams cover was part of Buffett’s 2004 album, License to Chill.
Jackson took to X (formerly Twitter) to honor Buffett, quoting lyrics from “Boats to Build,” another song he sang with Buffett for License to Chill. The post also featured a snapshot of the pair at the 2003 CMA Awards, where they took home vocal event of the year for “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”
Keith added on Instagram, “The pirate has passed. RIP Jimmy Buffett. Tremendous influence on so many of us.”
Renowned for his wildly enthusiastic audiences, known as “Parrotheads,” Buffett — a former correspondent for Billboard magazine — charted 13 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. After tallying five top 40 entries in the 1970s, reaching No. 8 with his signature anthem “Margaritaville,” he tallied other hits thanks to turns on Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (No. 17 in 2003) and Zac Brown Band’s “Knee Deep” (No. 18 in 2011). Buffett also scored 40 entries on the Billboard 200 albums chart during his lengthy career.
In addition to music, Buffett also built a billion-dollar personal fortune with a series of Margaritaville and LandShark Bar & Grill restaurants across the U.S., as well as licensing agreements for Margaritaville tequila, shoes, cruises, pre-packaged food items and an Atlantic City casino.
Below, find more tributes to Buffett:
Elton John via Instagram Story: “Jimmy Buffett was a unique and treasured entertainer. His fans adored him and he never let them down,” he said in an Instagram story. “This is the saddest of news. A lovely man gone way too soon. Condolences to (his wife) Jane and the family from (my husband) David (Furnish) and me.”
Sammy Hagar via Instagram: “The Godfather of lifestyle. Jimmy started it all and took it farther than anyone. He taught us all how to live. Jimmy taught us all how to wear shorts, flip-flops and a worn out T-shirt, walk on stage or to your favorite restaurant, and be comfortable. Jimmy turned us onto Corona beer, tequila, and margaritas. The first time I met Jimmy he said ‘Oh you’re the guy that’s trying to get my job’ and I said, ‘Of course, we all want to be you.’ Rest in paradise, Mr. Buffett.”
Oak Ridge Boys via X: “Rest Easy Jimmy … Thanks for the fun …”
Hillary Clinton via X: “Fair winds and following seas, dear Jimmy.”