Jimmy Buffett The Man From Margaritaville Revealed

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9780312146351: Jimmy Buffett The Man From Margaritaville Revealed

An extensive biography of Jimmy Buffett details his life from Mobile, Alabama, where he loafed around only wanting to play music, to his move to Nashville and his many attempts at getting record contracts, to his ultimate success.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Jimmy Buffett, the author of pop music hits such as ``Margaritaville,'' chose wisely when he refused to authorize this rambling biography. Eng, author of The Satisfied Mind: The Country Music of Porter Wagner (1992) includes a letter from Buffett near the beginning of the book urging the author not to finish the then-uncompleted work. The letter's inclusion suggests that Eng has written a no-holds- barred biography--which might have worked even without the cooperation of its subject. But Eng is a ``Parrot Head,'' or devout Buffett fan, and so Buffett's lack of input in the book puts the author, and the reader, back in the 100th row. Buffett's music is heavily influenced by sailing, the Caribbean, and its history. Eng includes much to connect Buffett to lore of the last two centuries. But fanciful, unsubstantiated speculations and reckless leaps across history are more confusing than elucidating. Other more modern references are also stretches. One footnote compares Buffett to John Lennon because both had ``childhood seaport backgrounds.'' Another section claims ``William Faulkner's beach-boy casualness was partly Buffett-esque--he went unshaven and wore a rope instead of a belt.'' Eng includes short political and historical vignettes, such as the assassinations of Kennedy and King, to limited effect. Musings by Buffett and those who know him--musicians, former classmates--are often lifted from interviews with other journalists. The biography covers all the bases: family history, childhood, early struggle, musical success, the ``Parrot Head'' phenomenon, love and marriage, the successful fiction efforts, business deals. But Buffett and those around him never come alive. Descriptions of Buffett's prickly manager, Irving Azoff, are the most entertaining sections. Buffett's ``Parrot Head'' followers will certainly pick this up off the shelf. But many will probably put it right back down. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

In 27 years of recording his own songs, Jimmy Buffet has managed only one top-10 hit: 1977's "Margaritaville." Yet the dreamy Utopian visions projected by the song?a lovable sot's reflection on Key West living?have proved so enduringly appealing that Buffet has, in spite of his marginal chart success, earned both a Grateful Dead-style following ("Parrot Heads") and, based on a Midas merchandising touch with "Margaritaville" gewgaws, a niche among Fortune's highest-paid entertainers of 1995. Backed by assiduous primary and secondary research (though denied an audience with his subject), Nashville-based music scholar Eng (The Satisfied Mind: The Country Music of Porter Wagner) chronicles Buffet's evolution as a musician, entrepreneur and political activist. We hear from long-forgotten bandmates and dive-bar acquaintances, and from Buffet himself through Eng's prodigious unearthing of the musician's interviews with relatively obscure periodicals like Colorado Homes and Lifestyles. Unfortunately, Eng suffocates his narrative with wildly extraneous trivia, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and unfunny asides. It's the rare fan who will care what the singer's alma mater served at a banquet held 50 years before Buffet's enrollment. The same applies to Eng's unsupported opinions on everything from the nature of creativity ("Art largely comes from the subconscious") to modern political history (the CIA created LSD, etc.). Parrot Heads willing to peck through such material will find a densely detailed, largely sympathetic rendering of their hero, balanced by Eng's atypically harsh conclusion that Buffet's career ultimately "contributed to the tourist homogenization of Key West." Discography; photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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