Exploring the rise of Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ empire ahead of his concert in St. Louis | St. Louis Public Radio

Exploring the rise of Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Margaritaville’ empire ahead of his concert in St. Louis

Jul 5, 2017

Tropical icon Jimmy Buffett was not always the brand he's seen as today. How did he rise to fame and influence?

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, acclaimed music critic and author Ryan White joined host Don Marsh for the entire hour to discuss his book “Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All The Way” ahead of Buffett’s concert in St. Louis this week.

Ryan White's "Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way."

The book explores Buffett’s laid-back attitude, iconic tropical rock music and transition into big-time business. 

"For someone who has been around for so long and is as popular as he is, he is under the radar in terms of the size of the figure and the path that he has cut through the culture for the last 40-45 years, he's been right there on the periphery of so many things," White said. 

Buffett got his start in New Orleans and Nashville in the late '60s, playing politically-aware folk songs. What? That's not the sound we typically associate Buffett with. 

"He was too folk for country, too country for rock n' roll and he was in a town that folk wasn't a thing people were looking for," White said. "His marriage busted up. His record deal was gone. He flew down to Florida for a gig and he knew Jerry Jeff Walker from his days at Billboard and they decided to drive down to Key West. The rest was history."

Today, Buffett is worth about $400 million. How did he do it?

Listen to the full conversation about Buffett's rise to music, publishing and economic powerhouse here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.