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Margaritaville-West German7"SingleCover.jpg
Cover of the West German 7 " single[1]
Single by Jimmy Buffett
from the album Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
B-side"Miss You So Badly"
ReleasedFebruary 14, 1977
RecordedNovember 1976 at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida and Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee[2]
Length4:09 (album)
3:20 (single)
ABC-12254 (US, 7")
ABC-17781AT (West Germany, 7")
ABC-22039 (Italy, 7")
ABC-021254/2 (Spain, 7")
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Buffett
Producer(s)Norbert Putnam
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
"Woman Goin' Crazy on Caroline Street"
"Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
Audio sample
1977 Italian single picture sleeve
A margarita cocktail: the inspiration for "Margaritaville"

"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 Buffett discovered at Lung's Cocina del Sur restaurant (where High 5 is located today) at 2700 W. Anderson Lane in Austin, Texas,[3] and the first huge surge of tourists who descended on Key West, Florida, around that time. He wrote most of the song one night at a friend's house in Austin, and finished it while spending time in Key West. In the United States "Margaritaville" reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and went to number one on the Easy Listening chart,[4] also peaking at No. 13 on the Hot Country Songs chart.[5] Billboard ranked it number 14 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart.[6] It remains Buffett's highest charting solo single.

Named for the cocktail margarita, 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). The song also lent its name to the 2017 musical Escape to Margaritaville, in which it is featured alongside other Buffett songs. Continued popular culture references to and covers of it throughout the years attest to the song's continuing popularity. The song was mentioned in Blake Shelton's 2004 single "Some Beach".

"Margaritaville" has been inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historic significance.[7]


The song is about a man spending an entire season at a beach resort community. The three verses describe his day-to-day activities. In the first verse, he passes his time playing a six-string guitar on his front porch swing, watching tourists sunbathe, all the while eating sponge cake, and waiting for a pot of shrimp to boil. In the second verse, all he has to show for his time is a tattoo of a woman, but he cannot remember how he got it. In the third and final verse, while the narrator was going out for a walk, he blew his Flip-flops and cuts the heel of his foot by stepping on a "pop-top" (the pull tab from an old-style soda can), forcing the narrator to come home, and ease his pain, with a fresh batch of margaritas.

The three choruses reveal that the narrator is drowning his sorrows over a failed romance; all the while onlookers speculate that an ex-girlfriend is at fault. The last line of each shows his shifting attitude toward the situation: first "it's nobody's fault," then "hell, it could be my fault," and finally "it's my own damn fault."


Other versions[edit]

Single edit[edit]

When "Margaritaville" was released to radio stations in 1977, the single edit ran for 3:20, and it cuts another minute off of that, which made the song more radio friendly:

  • The instrumental break after the second chorus, and before going into the third and final verse was cut for radio airplay.
  • The song structure had changed from "riff-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-interlude-verse-chorus-refrain-riff" to "riff-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-riff", where the section during the third and final chorus, and the last refrain were also cut for radio airplay.
  • The track itself was sped up at half-step. The original recording of the key-of-d would be e-flat.

Cover versions[edit]

Song by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett
from the album Under the Influence
ReleasedOctober 26, 1999
LabelArista Nashville
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Buffett
Producer(s)Keith Stegall

In 1999, American country singer Alan Jackson covered the song on his album Under the Influence. The cover featured Buffett singing along on the third and final verse; it also peaked at No. 63 after receiving play as an album cut.

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 during the Weekend Update segment on Saturday Night Live, where he plays a soldier who found out he was going to the U.S.-Mexico border, rather than 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.[12]

In 2013, a parody has aired on the John Boy & Billy Big Show titled "Martinsville", referencing Martinsville Speedway.[13]


As Buffett's signature song, "Margaritaville" has been used in a number of commercial ventures and product licensing tie-ins including:

  • Radio Margaritaville, a radio station that broadcasts on the Internet and Sirius XM Radio
  • Tales from Margaritaville, a collection of short stories by Buffett
  • Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, a casual dining restaurant chain, tourist destination and chain of stores selling Buffett-themed franchise merchandise in Jamaica, Mexico and the U.S. In 1985, Buffett opened a "Margaritaville" restaurant in Key West, though his first was in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
  • Margaritaville margarita mix (manufactured by Mott's)
  • Margaritaville tequila
  • Margaritaville bottled malt beverages
  • Margaritaville branded Landshark Lager
  • Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
  • Margaritaville chips & salsa
  • Margaritaville chicken wings
  • Margaritaville frozen seafood
  • Margaritaville Soles of the Tropics footwear
  • Margaritaville men's & women's apparel
  • Margaritaville outdoor & beach furniture
  • Margaritaville key-lime pie filling mix
  • Margaritaville beach cruiser bicycles produced by Bicycle Corporation of America, a division of Kent International

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The U.S. single did not have a picture cover but was issued with a standard ABC Records cover.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Deep Dish Pizza, "Margaritaville," Dabney Coleman, Teddy Wilson: They Came From Austin". October 2, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 42.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 61.
  6. ^ "Pop Singles" Billboard December 24, 1977: TIA-64
  8. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, July 9, 1977". Archived from the original on March 21, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Top 200 Singles of '77 – Volume 28, No. 14, December 31 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 31, 1977". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "Retired Reservist: Mortaritaville – song from Iraq". July 2, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  13. ^ "Pics 'n Such". The Big Show. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2016.

External links[edit]