Remembering Jimmy Buffett

| September 2, 2023

Almost twenty years ago, in November of 2004, Jimmy Buffett co-hosted Country Countdown USA with Lon Helton. At the time, he was riding high with his first country #1, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” a duet with Alan Jackson. The song won the CMA Vocal Event of the Year. He told Lon, “It’s been a pretty good run, Lon. I’m havin’ a real good time. People are playing me on the radio for a change! There’s 35 years of touring and experience that goes into it. If you can’t have a good time doin’ this, I don’t think I’d keep doing this. That was a promise I made to myself.”

You came here to be a country star: “I came here in 1972, and when I came up here, I’d been working two jobs, I was broke and I didn’t want to get a real job. So I had two offers, and one was with a friend of mine in Nashville, and at the same time there was an offer to write for Johnny Rivers in Hollywood. I didn’t have the money to go to California, so I came here. When I came here, I couldn’t get arrested, although I did get arrested, for staying in a bar after hours. But when you talk about having been rejuvenated, there’s a great sense of satisfaction. Originally, I wanted vindication, but I’m over that now. I just have a lot of satisfaction.”

There are a lot of country singers are going to the beach lately: “I love it. When I came here, people tried to put me in a category. I didn’t fit in their category. Now I AM a category. So that’s a big step. There are Jimmy Buffett songs. I’m happy it happened, and happy it happened the way it did.”

How did the song with Alan get started? “I had obviously seen and heard a lot of people using my influence. Then out of the blue Alan called me because he did a version of Margaritaville. That was an honor for me. Then we traded phone conversations. I happened to be in NY, and so I went in the studio and did overdubs on that song. Then I got the check, and went ‘Whoa! This guy sells a lot of records.’ We finally met in Florida, and he told me about this song he had called It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere. He told me he thought it could be a hit. They already had their part. So we went into our studio in Key West, and I went in, and it was the best 26 seconds on record I ever did.”


Category: CO-HOST

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