Farewell Jimmy - A Letter from WHRV's Barry Graham
- Written by Barry Graham
- Category: Featured - Radio
- Published: 31 August 2023
There’s great talent in storytelling - and so many artists are able to tell a narrative through their lyrics and take the listener on a journey. Like others, I mourn the loss of great musicians who, over the years, have enthralled us with stories through their music.
There are artists that are synonymous with the art: John Prine, John Denver Harry Chapin, and now, Jimmy Buffett. At first, I never really understood the Buffet phenom at his concerts- the funky Hawaiian shirts- the parking lot tailgating with blenders of margaritas, and the “fins up” dance. However, as a producer of a show that showcases songwriters, I came to appreciate his unique storytelling abilities. Buffet’s wonderful book “Tales from Margaritaville” wove characters through a series of chapters with handoffs and cameo appearances where storylines intersected. However, Buffet’s greatest strength in telling stories was through his music. Sure, there were novelty tunes like “Cheeseburger in Paradise”- but also reflective songs like “A Pirate Looks at Forty” which laments on the passing of youth.. “Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred years too late ….I'm an over-forty victim of fate.” And on his hit “Come Monday”, he sings about missing his future wife Jane ….” I spent four lonely days in a brown L.A. haze / And I just want you back by my side.” When experiencing these lyrics, I’m reminded why I love acoustic music. You hear a story and get to feel like you’re a part of it- or at least, getting to see it play out in front of you. And when I hear Jimmy Buffet, I think about the power of music to connect people to times and places and perhaps even to make you remember, a really good time.
Thanks Jimmy - I hope Bob and you are sailing a beautiful sunset.
*Pictured above is Barry Graham and his brother Bob at a Jimmy Buffett show in 1996.