NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Saturday, Music City mourned the loss of Parrothead leader and music legend Jimmy Buffett, who passed away at age 76, alongside family, friends and his dogs.
Countless fans passed by Margaritaville’s Broadway storefront to remember the icon and pay their respects.
“[He’s been] part of my family since I’ve grown up, my dad’s seen him in concert since he was like six, going to his concerts, so it’s really sentimental for my family; and so being here has been sentimental for me,” said Allie Olsen from Tampa, Florida.
Fans recalled his ability to bring together music fans of multiple genres and generations.
“For most people and for my family included, he’s been part of their internal structure for your whole family, from your parents to your kids, we’ve all been to shows together. It has been so much fun for all of us,” said Mark Hoover from Pennsylvania.
Before his days of booze in a blender and frozen concoctions, Buffett stopped in Nashville, where he released his first record. Eventually, he’d make his way down to Florida, but he leaves several marks on Nashville with his hotel and restaurant.
He also leaves behind special memories with the owners of Sammy B’s, which originally opened its doors on Music Row back in 1993.
“He and another gentleman walked in and sat down, first two customers in the door, and we were so excited to have customers walk in the door; and then we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s Jimmy Buffett,’ and so that has stayed with us for that many years,” co-owner Gina Stradley remembered.
The eatery now calls Lebanon home, but back in the day Stradley remembers Buffett coming in to escape from the hustle and bustle of the music scene, relaxed and living like a regular guy.
“I think he leaves a legacy of being just a very down-to-earth person, a very down-to-earth performer,” Stradley said. “I don’t think there are a whole lot like that out there anymore on that certain genre that he connected with and I was sad to see that, I was sad to see him go.”
As Buffett celebrates five o’clock somewhere on the other side, fans hope he’s finally been reunited with his lost shaker of salt and shared the legacy he leaves behind in their minds.
“I think Jimmy Buffett would want everybody to kind of live life as they want to see it, live life at every moment, appreciate every moment that you get to experience and live it to the fullest,” Olsen shared.
“At least for my family, it’s togetherness and partying and just enjoying the time that you have,” Hoover added.
Elliston Place Soda Shop owners also remembered Buffett as a loyal customer, often coming in for fried chicken and coconut pie.
Owner Tony Giarratana shared this statement with News 2:
“Sad day. I grew up in Florida and was in college when Margaritaville came out. I was hooked. He was a regular at our Elliston Place Soda Shop for years. I’m doing what Jimmy would love to be doing today: Sailing! Like millions of others, I’ll raise a toast to the “Son of a Sailor” tonight!”