THE NEW YORK TIMES – Jimmy Buffett, the singer, songwriter, author, sailor and entrepreneur whose roguish brand of island escapism on hits like “Margaritaville” and “Fins” made him something of a latter-day folk hero, especially among his devoted following of so-called Parrot Heads, died on Friday. He was 76.
His death was announced in a statement on his website. The statement did not say where he died or specify a cause.
Peopled with pirates, smugglers, beach bums and barflies, Mr. Buffett’s genial, self-deprecating songs conjured a world of sun, saltwater and nonstop parties animated by the calypso country-rock of his limber Coral Reefer Band.
His live shows abounded with singalong anthems and festive tropical iconography, making him a perennial draw on the summer concert circuit, where he built an ardent fan base akin to the Grateful Dead’s Dead Heads.
Mr. Buffett found success primarily with albums. He enjoyed only a few years on the pop singles chart, with “Margaritaville,” his 1977 breakthrough hit and only single to reach the pop Top 10.
“I blew out my flip-flop/Stepped on a pop-top/Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home,” he sang woozily to the song’s lilting Caribbean rhythms. “But there’s booze in the blender/And soon it will render/That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.”
Mr. Buffett’s music was often described as “Gulf and western,” a nod to his fusion of laid-back twang and island-themed lyrics, as well as a play on the conglomerate name Gulf and Western, the former parent of Paramount Pictures, among other companies.
His songs tended to be of two main types: wistful ballads like “Come Monday” and “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” and clever up-tempo numbers like “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Some were both, like “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” a 1978 homage to Mr. Buffett’s seafaring grandfather, written with the producer Norbert Putnam …