Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett is known for humorous chronicles of a laid-back seafaring life; his philosophical outlook is encapsulated in tunes like "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and Screw)" and "My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don't Love Jesus." He has since built a small Key West-based financial empire, written several best-selling books, and become a leading environmentalist.
On December 25, 1946, James William Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi to James Delaney Buffett and Mary Loriane. Raised in the Deep South, Buffett attended Auburn University and then the University of Southern Mississippi, majoring in journalism (he later worked as a Billboard reporter). He moved to Nashville in the late Sixties, intent on becoming a country singer. His first album, 1970's Down to Earth, sold 324 copies. Barnaby Records then temporarily misplaced the master tape of his second album before its release.
By 1972 Buffett had left both Nashville and a failed marriage, moving to Key West. There he helped to support himself by smuggling a little marijuana from the Caribbean. He signed to ABC-Dunhill, and his 1973 release, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, found Buffett developing his drunken-sailor persona. Buffett's commercial breakthrough came in 1977 with the platinum Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes (#12) and its hit single, "Margaritaville" (#8). The 1985 compilation Songs You Know By Heart (subtitled Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hit[s] in self-mocking reference to the fact that "Margaritaville" was his only major pop hit) sold two million copies; 1992's Boats Beaches Bars & Ballads also went platinum.
By that time Buffett had established a Margaritaville empire, including a record label and Margaritaville Store and Cafe outlets in Key West and New Orleans. He also wrote two best-selling books, Tales from Margaritaville, a collection of short stories, and the novel Where Is Joe Merchant?, as well as two children's books, The Jolly Man and Trouble Dolls, both coauthured with his daughter, Savannah Jane. He continues performing to sell-out crowds and crusades on behalf of Florida's endangered manatees. (from Rolling Stone)