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Parrothead Paradise: the definitive ranking of favorite Jimmy Buffett songs

On Sep. 1, after a four-year battle with skin cancer, the world was saddened by the sudden passing of music icon Jimmy Buffett. A statement shared on his website conveyed the news “Jimmy passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, friends, music, and dogs.” The news sent shockwaves across the world with fans taking to social media to share the impact that Buffett’s legacy has left.

A photo of the late Jimmy Buffett strumming on his guitar. (US Navy)

“I was shocked over his death,” Vanessa Stevens ‘27 told The Carroll News. “I enjoyed his music. It was uplifting and something I would throw on in the background during a beach day.”

Buffett got his start after picking up guitar while in college. He tried a few different colleges, ultimately landing on The University of Southern Mississippi where he graduated with a degree in Journalism. After graduation, he decided to put his luck to the test and released his first single “Down to Earth” in 1970. With his passion for music and storytelling, he later became one of the most well-known beach bums. 

Buffett’s music is a staple for fans who enjoy the laid-back beach life. His devout following took on the name “Parrotheads” in 1985. The nickname started at a concert in Cincinnati, Ohio after fans wore Hawaiian shirts and inflatable parrots on their heads. The coined name “Parrot’s head” is someone who not only listens to Jimmy Buffett but also supports the lifestyle that Buffett promotes. 

It is no secret that Buffett is a well-known name to many and with plenty of top hits, he has created a legacy that won’t be left behind. As someone who considers themselves to be a Parrothead, and owns quite a bit of Margaritaville merchandise, I would like to honor Jimmy Buffett by ranking my top five favorite songs that the singer-songwriter has created.

  1. “Come Monday” (1974)

This song is a heartfelt ballad that captures the essence of care and love. The tune has a soft and relaxing melody and words about missing a loved one. “Come Monday” talks about how even when there are challenges and time apart, love prevails. I enjoy this song because, even though it has a slower pace, it still gives us the overall feeling of walking along a beach yearning for time to pass to see your love once again. 

  1. “Fins” (1979)

Not only does this song have an infectious tune, but “Fins” captures the quintessential carefree beach bum lifestyle. The lyrics throughout the song are high-spirited and encourage the listeners to dance and have fun with their friends and family. The tune evokes others to put their worries on hold and live in the moment. 

  1. “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” (1977)

“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” is a song that takes you on a musical voyage with an upbeat rhythm and room for adventure. The lyrics send motivation to the listener in an encouraging way to take on the twists and turns life throws at them. It reminds us to not fear what is to come, but to accept and embrace growth and life. The song embodies who Buffett was and the joyful vibes he wanted to share throughout his life and music. 

  1. “Cheeseburger In Paradise” (1978)

Despite the silly name, this song is a beautiful story towards enjoying the small things in life. The art of storytelling in this song places it higher on my list of favorites released by Buffett. Not only are the melody and lyrics catchy, but the song takes you into a perfect  moment on a beach and eating a cheeseburger. Buffett does a fantastic job of achieving what it is like to be at peace while enjoying the seemingly trivial things in our paradise. As someone who enjoys the smaller things in life, Buffett does not fail to make it known that you don’t have to have everything in the world to be happy –- you can just enjoy a cheeseburger in paradise. abo

  1. “Margaritaville” (1977)

Last but not least on the list is “Margaritaville.” The song opened many restaurants and even more hearts. This iconic anthem is known to all and gives listeners the desire to forget their day jobs, unwinding on a musical island where the sun never sets instead. Not only do I rank this song number one for being a timeless classic, but it fully encapsulates who Buffett was and what legacy he wanted to leave on the world. With fans from across the world, this easily recognizable tune is just one thing to remember the late great Jimmy Buffett by.

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About the Contributors
Aliyah Shamatta, Multimedia: Visual and Technical Editor
Aliyah Shamatta is a senior from Parma, Ohio. They are a Communications major with a concentration in Digital Media and a double minor in Leadership development and Peace, Justice, & Human Rights. Around campus, you can find Aliyah being involved with WJCU as the Social Media Director, hosting their genre show “Do It For The B-sides”, and being a heights DJ. Other involvements include being in the Kappa Delta sorority, Orientation Leader, and a class of 2024 senator. From Halloween to horror, Aliyah loves anything that is spooky-related. Outside of school, you can find them taking daring adventures, playing video games, graphic design, and painting while watching the sunset. In their future, they want to work with companies' social media accounts and have a side broadcasting career.
Grace Sherban, Managing Editor
Managing Editor Grace Sally Sherban was born in the early hours on Tuesday May 20, 2003. She spent most of her childhood hooting, hollering and joshing around while constantly reading and watching movies in between. She continues to do much of the same now while double majoring in Communications and English so she stays busy between all the hooting, hollering, joshing around, listening to herself talk, class, walking in the rain and work. Grace’s biggest goal in life is to write a comprehensive novel about the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race and its implications on the movie industry. To request the slideshow on the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race, she can be reached at [email protected]

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