Jimmy Buffett wrote this song in 1977 on his return to Key West in Florida after he and his Coral Reefer Band had made a string of concert appearances in Texas. It describes the style of living in a tropical beach locale and the state of mind, called “Margaritaville”, which results from imbibing too much alcohol. The title is a reference to the well-known and popular margarita cocktail.
It became a signature song for Jimmy Buffett and his biggest hit, reaching No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and No. 13 on the country chart. Jimmy Buffett concert-goers will normally hear an extra verse to the song but it has been stated that it was edited to make it more acceptable for air-play. It’s first release was on the album Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes and has since appeared on later albums such as Feeding Frenzy, Meet Me in Margaritaville, Under the Influence, You Had to be There and Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads. Alan Jackson recorded a cover version in 1999 with Jimmy Buffett making an appearance on the final verse and this made it to No. 63 on the country chart.
Not escaping from being parodied, it has been renamed as ” Marijuanaville” by both the Barenaked Ladies and the comedian Mark Eddie and has also been used for a parody by Kenan Thompson on Saturday Night Live. In the movies the song has been mentioned in Broken Lizard’s Club Dread and on TV it has been used on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Using the title of the song, Jimmy Buffett began a series of business ventures using the name and product licensing on a radio station, a chain of restaurants, footwear, frozen food products, chicken wings, alcohoic drinks and a margarita mix. 2008 saw the song being re-recorded for the video game Rock Band.
Jimmy Buffett recordings
(ABC Records 45-17097-M, AB-12254/45-17097-S, AB-12254) (US promo 45)
Vocals – Jimmy Buffett (plus acoustic guitar)
Keyboards – Mike Utley
Guitar – Roger Bartlett/Michael Jeffry
Bass – Harry Dailey
Drums – Kenneth Buttrey
Percussion – Farrell Morris
Recorder/Flute – Bill Puett
Backing Vocals – David Bryant/Harry Dailey/ Michael Jeffry