Cover of the West German 7 " single
|Single by Jimmy Buffett|
|from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes|
|B-side||"Miss You So Badly"|
|Released||February 14, 1977|
|Recorded||November 1976 at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida and Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee |
|Genre||Gulf and western, country rock|
ABC-12254 (U.S., 7")
ABC-17781AT (West Germany, 7")
ABC-22039 (Italy, 7")
ABC-021254/2 (Spain, 7")
|Jimmy Buffett singles chronology|
"Margaritaville" is a 1977 song by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. This song was written about a drink in Buffet discovered at Lung's Cocina del Sur restaurant on Anderson Lane in Austin, Texas, and the first huge surge of tourists who descended on Key West almost two decades ago[when?]. He wrote most of the song that night in Austin and finished it while spending time in Key West, Florida. The song was a chart hit in the United States when it was released and contemporary[update] popular culture references and remakes attest to its continuing popularity. It reached #8 on Billboard Hot 100 chart, topped the Easy Listening (Adult Contemporary) chart at #1, and peaked at #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart. It remains[update] Buffett's highest charting solo single.
Named for a cocktail, the margarita, and with lyrics reflecting a laid-back lifestyle in a tropical climate, "Margaritaville" has come to define Buffett's music and career. The relative importance of the song to Buffett's career is referred to obliquely in a parenthetical plural in the title of a Buffett greatest hits compilation album, Songs You Know By Heart: Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hit(s). The name has been used in the title of other Buffett compilation albums such as Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection and is also the name of several commercial products licensed by Buffett (see below).
Song narrative 
The song is a narrative overview of the singer's life for the previous season. He sings about laid-back living in a drunken haze in a beach community. "Margaritaville" is the mental state in which he exists during this period, induced by the perpetual imbibing of margaritas. This is best illustrated in the last verse, when the singer goes for a walk, cuts his heel and returns home to ease his pain with the eponymous alcoholic beverage. The singer is drowning his sorrows over a failed romance, and his friends are telling him that his former girlfriend is at fault. But in the respective last lines of the three successive choruses, over the course of the song we see the singer gradually confronting the fact that this emotional catastrophe was "his own damned fault."
Buffett revealed during the recording of an episode of CMT's Crossroads with the Zac Brown Band that "Margaritaville" was actually supposed to be recorded by Elvis Presley, but Elvis died the year that the song was going to be recorded. Buffett got to record it instead.
Lost verse 
There is a "lost verse" to this song, as described by Buffett, which he often adds when performing in concert, which was reputedly edited out before recording the song in order to make the song more airplay-friendly. The song was shortened even further for the radio edit.
- Old men in tank tops,
- Cruisin' the gift shops,
- Checkin' out chiquitas, down by the shore
- They dream about weight loss,
- Wish they could be their own boss
- Those three-day vacations can be (or "become") such a bore
Lyric confusion 
There is some confusion as to whether Buffett sings "Wasted away" or "Wastin’ away" in the chorus of the song. The original unedited lyrics, that appear on the record sleeve to the Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes LP, read "waistin'" [sic]. Also, most guitar tablature and sheet music read "wastin'." Buffett has never made a statement on the issue. However, he has also been known to use "wasted" in some performances, as well as in the video game re-recording for Rock Band.
Chart performance 
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||8|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||13|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||4|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||8|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||33|
Other versions 
Radio edit 
A radio edit was released in 1977, timing at 3:20. The abridged version omits:
- The interlude between the second chorus and third verse.
- The section during the third chorus and final refrain "…woman to blame but I know, it's my own damn fault. Yes and, some people claim that there's a…" This makes the song structure riff-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-riff, as opposed to riff-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-interlude-verse-chorus-refrain-riff.
- The track itself was sped up a half-step. The original recording of the key of D would be E-flat.
Cover versions 
|Song by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett from the album Under the Influence|
|Released||October 26, 1999|
|Under the Influence track listing|
American country singer Alan Jackson covered the song on his 1999 Under the Influence album. The cover featured Buffett singing along on the last verse; it also peaked at #63 after receiving play as an album cut. Professional wrestlers Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock sang the song together on the November 12, 2001 episode of RAW. Jimmy Buffett also re-recorded this song as well as "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Volcano" specifically for Rock Band as downloadable content.
In 2006, Kenan Thompson did a parody of the song on a Weekend Update sketch on Saturday Night Live where he plays a soldier who found out he was going to the U.S.-Mexico border and not Baghdad. When Amy Poehler asks him what his reaction was when he discovered he was going to the border, in the next shot, he has a Corona banner above him, a sombrero on his head. He is swaying a Corona beer bottle and singing, "Wasting away again not in Iraq." This was likely a parody on Mortaritaville, which was recorded around 2 years prior. In the show Napoleon Dynamite, Kip mentions that the animatronics at Goof Nutz Pizza sing the song "Pizzaritaville."
As Buffett's best-known song, "Margaritaville" has been used in a number of commercial ventures and product licensing tie-ins including:
- Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, a casual dining restaurant chain, tourist destination and chain of stores (shops) selling Buffett-themed franchise merchandise in Jamaica, Mexico and the U.S. In 1985, Buffett opened a "Margaritaville" restaurants in Key West, though his first was in Orange Beach, Alabama.
- Margaritaville Chips and Salsa
- Margaritaville frozen seafood
- Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
- Margaritaville Chicken Wings
- Margaritaville margarita mix (manufactured by Mott's)
- Margaritaville bottled malt beverages
- Margaritaville tequila
- Margaritaville branded LandShark Lager
- Radio Margaritaville, a radio station that broadcasts on the Internet and Sirius XM Radio
- Margaritaville Soles of the Tropics Footwear
- Margaritaville Outdoor & Beach Furniture
- Margaritaville Apparel for Men and Women
See also 
- The U.S. single did not have a picture cover but was issued with a standard ABC Records cover.
- Preshow Interview (at 3:45) confirms recording took place in November.
- Song length time given is for the single version. Album version is 04:09.
- The Country Vibe News from TheCountryVibe.com
- [The Parrot Head Handbook]
- Vinyl sleeve with original lyrics
- Retired Reservist: Mortaritaville - song from Iraq. Accessed on July 31 2008.