Jimmy Buffett at 60

Slate music critic Jody Rosen sums up the career of Jimmy Buffett, who turned 60! this past Christmas:

Buffett is one of the music business’ singular success stories. He has parlayed an unlikely subject—getting shitfaced while cruising the Gulf Coast in your power boat, basically—into a multimillion-dollar industry, a perennial place on Forbes‘ list of highest-grossing entertainers, and the most passionate concert audience this side of the Deadheads. (He also has written a couple of New York Times best sellers, operates a chain of seaside bars, and has his own seaplane airport, Lone Palm. Take that, Mick Jagger.) Buffett has done all this without altering his music one iota—indeed, without any evident effort at all.

She says that like it’s a bad thing. Indeed, combined with the ridiculously prolific production of Christopher Hitchens, who, according to a recent New Yorker profile, manages to crank out first-draft-equals-final-copy columns in between cocktails while hosting dinner parties, Abraham Lincoln’s (perhaps apocryphal) retort to his complaints about his commanding general’s alcohol problem: “I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven Plunk says:

    Powerboat? Try sailboat. If this person can’t get the most basic thing correct in the story how can I believe she researched any of it. He may have a powerboat today but his career was based upon sailboat songs.

    As for altering his music any long term fan will tell you he has had many shifts in style over his long career. Personally I won’t buy any of the new stuff, why when the early stuff was so good.

  2. Timmer says:

    I listen to his Greatest Hits about once a week. I noticed his music started making more sense as I entered my 40s.