Key West Remembers Jimmy Buffett

Thousands of Florida Keys residents and visitors gathered on Key West’s Duval Street late on Sun., Sept. 3 for a march honouring singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who passed away Sept. 1 at age 76.

Buffett discovered Key West in the early 1970s and its influence is widely credited with inspiring many of his most enduring songs, including the signature hit ‘Margaritaville.’

March participants, some sporting the flower leis and offbeat headgear favoured by Buffett’s “Parrot Head” fans, travelled up Duval to the Margaritaville Store and Café launched by the singer in the 1980s.

There they sang Buffett’s song, ‘Margaritaville,’ led by Florida Keys musician Howard Livingston.

As well as being Buffett’s home during some of his most productive years, Key West was the place where he developed the ‘tropical rock’ style that flavoured his music throughout his career. The island’s characters, landmarks and freewheeling lifestyle are referenced repeatedly in his lyrics.

Buffett’s portrayal of Key West in song made it a mecca for his fans, who over the Labour Day weekend, left tributes at the Margaritaville enclave and at his unmarked Shrimpboat Sound recording studio.

The Sept. 3 march featured strolling musicians, people carrying large photos of Buffett, and the camaraderie found at his typically sold-out concerts.

Jimmy Buffett’s final Key West performances took place in February 2023, when he kicked off his “Second Wind Tour” with four unforgettable shows on the island that inspired his celebrated sound.