Tropical rock

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Tropical rock (also known as trop rock or Gulf & Western[1]) is a genre of popular music that incorporates elements and influences of rock, reggae, country, folk, calypso, zydeco, and pop music,[2] with themes and musical compositions inspired by an island style.[3]

Although today tropical rock is usually associated with southern Florida and the Gulf Coast of the United States, tropical rock has its roots in calypso, rock, and country by artists such as Jerry Jeff Walker. Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band helped create a tropical sub-culture beginning in the early to mid-1980s, along with other artists including Bertie Higgins. Some mainstream artists have songs in the tropical rock genre.


Instrumentation is usually based around an acoustic guitar (as well as electric instrumentation), and often includes steel drums, congas, marimbas, vibraphones, steel guitars, or other percussion instruments to create an "island sound". While country and other musical styles focus on falling in love/falling out of love themes, Trop Rock's main focus is on "escapism"—a laid back lifestyle, tropical places, boating, simplifying and having fun. Jimmy Buffett is often referred to as the "Pop of Trop Rock". Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band helped create a tropical sub-culture beginning in the early to mid-1980s, along with other artists including Bertie Higgins. Mainstream artists Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney have songs in the genre.


In 2005 the Margarita M.A.F.I.A. (music, artists, fans in alliance) was established because founders Tom & Michelle Becker, as well as many others, wanted a united voice regarding Trop Rock music. Two years later an annual awards show was created (now known as the TRMA Music Awards) to recognize the artists, songwriters, musicians, radio stations, fans and others in the genre. In 2012 the Margarita M.A.F.I.A. changed its name to the Trop Rock Music Association (TRMA) to better describe its overall purpose. Due to the significant growth of the genre, in 2018 the organization decided to further expand by creating a new Board of Directors, logo, website, mission statement, and establishment as a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization. [4]


The Official Jimmy Buffett Fan Club called "Parrot Heads in Paradise's (PHiP's) Meeting of the Minds", the national parrot head convention attended by members from all over the world is held each November in Key West, Florida at the Casa Marina Resort. This event now 29 years old features Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band as well as people associated with Jimmy Buffett's music. There are many trop rock musicians on multiple stages at this event. The annual gathering attracts close to 5,000 fans as well as thousands to the lower Keys area. Other than PHiP's Meeting Of The Minds in Key West, there are many other Trop Rock Music Festivals that take place throughout the year, from coast to coast. [5]

Trop Rock Radio[edit]

In 2000, WBWC-FM, Dennis King of Island Time Radio began programming this format on the air in Cleveland, Ohio and streaming worldwide on Monday nights. Radio Margaritaville, available on Sirius XM Radio, also plays many of the genre's hits.[6] As the genre flourished with the guidance of the Trop Rock Music Association independently owned internet radio stations began to rise to popularity within the "trop rock" genre to include Radio Trop Rock, Beachfront Radio, Songwriter's Island Radio, Tiki Pod Radio, Tiki Man Radio, Permanent Vacation Radio, Beach Bar Radio,Shore Life Radio, and Oyster Radio. [7]


  1. ^ Melada, Jeffrey (October 10, 2019). "Review: Jimmy Buffett's 'Escape to Margaritaville' at The National Theatre". DC Metro Theater Arts. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  2. ^ Barnett, Sheena (January 2, 2014). "Tupelo singer-songwriter releases trop rock album". Daily Journal. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  3. ^ "Trop Rock Artists". Beach Front Radio. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
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  6. ^ "Radio Margaritaville". Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  7. ^