A Good Life All the Way

‘Get Off on … A1A’ and the early struggle to sell Jimmy Buffett to the world

Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way will be out May 9 on Touchstone Books. It’s about Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville and the way time passes and the world changes. It’s about middle class yearning and the dream of something more beyond the Bed, Bath & Beyond. Among other things.

So the thing you hear time and again when you talk to people about Jimmy Buffett’s career is that no one in the industry got him. They didn’t know what to do with him or where to put him. They knew where they couldn’t put him, and that was on the radio. And they weren’t wrong about that. He pretty much had to build his own radio station to get on the radio with any regularity.

As evidenced throughout the book, he’s always known who he is. The world eventually came around to him. That doesn’t happen often.

But that doesn’t the label didn’t try to market Buffett. I came across a couple of full-page ads from Billboard, ABC Records trying their damn best to figure out how to sell the guy.

For example: 1974

Jimmy-Buffett-A1A

Please have mercy on Key West, Giant Probably Stoned Godzilla Jimmy Buffett.

Two years later, in 1976:

womangoincrazybillboardaug1976

No. And that’s one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs and there’s some fascinating back story about it in the book and I’m glad it got that attention when the album came out but … no. Maybe for “Kick It In Second Wind,” but probably not then, either. Would have made a hell of an ad for a Warren Zevon’s “The French Inhaler,” though.

 

 

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