Locator Super: Key West, Fla.
Video: Video to match this story is available on the Florida Keys News Bureau's FTP server via Google Link here.
Spot B-roll of tributes to Jimmy Buffett and fans placing them in front of Buffett’s recording studio Shrimpboat Sound, 00:04-1:00 and Margaritaville Café, 1:01-1:18; SOTs with Key West City Commissioner Clayton Lopez and Fausto’s Food Palace owner Jimmy Weekley and file footage of Buffett’s 2011 concert on Key West’s Duval Street.
Video Source: Florida Keys News Bureau
KEY WEST, Fla. — Internationally recognized singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, who passed away Sept. 1 at age 76, is being remembered and honored in Key West Saturday, the island where he developed the tropical mystique that flavored his music throughout his life.
Buffett discovered Key West in the early 1970s and the island’s influence is widely credited with inspiring many of his most enduring songs, including the hit “Margaritaville.”
“Actually ’Margaritaville’ became an iconic anthem for the city of Key West; everybody equates that song with our city,” said Key West City Commissioner Clayton Lopez Saturday. “I mean, when you say Margaritaville, you’re talking about the city of Key West.”
As well as being Buffett’s home during some of his most productive years, Key West —and its characters, offbeat atmosphere and laidback lifestyle — are referenced repeatedly in his lyrics.
His songs memorialize Key West locales like Fausto’s Food Palace, the Blue Heaven restaurant, and legendary bars Captain Tony’s and the Chart Room, and recall larger-than-life residents including late saloon owner Captain Tony Tarracino and late “pirate” Phil Clark.
“The song that kind of kicked Jimmy’s career off was ‘Come Monday.’ Lyrics in that song are ‘Heading out to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show’,” said Jimmy Weekley, owner of the landmark Fausto’s. “Here we are on Labor Day weekend with the passage of Jimmy Buffett. He’s doing another show now, but it’s in the sky.”
In the mid-1980s Buffett founded the Margaritaville Store in Key West’s waterfront Lands End Village.
The store is now located beside his original Margaritaville Café on Key West’s Duval Street, while his unmarked recording studio stands near the old shrimp docks. Both were adorned Saturday with tributes ranging from flowers and notes to saltshakers, a nod to “Margaritaville’s” lyrics about a “lost shaker of salt,” placed by fans.
Buffett’s portrayal of Key West in song made it a mecca for his Parrot Head fans, named for the offbeat tropical parrot caps and other headgear they wear at concerts.
In 2011 he staged a surprise performance during their then-annual gathering on the island. From a stage on Duval outside the Margaritaville enclave, he and his Coral Reefer Band played a 15-song set for the Parrot Heads lining the street.
By then Buffett had lived elsewhere for many years, but he interspersed the songs with commentary and memories that reflected his abiding affection for the island.
“Jimmy always called Key West home,” said Lopez. “No matter wherever else he built a house, or wherever he decided to reside for the moment, Key West was always home.”
A group of Key West locals and city leaders are organizing a “It’s 5 O’Clock in Key West” Second Line Procession beginning at 5 p.m., Sunday on Duval Street, to honor Buffett.
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