How Jimmy Buffett and Bono Were Nearly Killed in the Carribean

How Jimmy Buffett and Bono Were Nearly Killed in the Carribean | Society Of Rock Videos

via Rock N' Roll True Stories / Youtube

In the early months of 1996, Jimmy Buffett was a global music sensation known for his unique blend of rock, country, and island vibes. With two decades of musical innovation under his belt, Buffett had carved out his own musical niche and could be recognized anywhere in the world.

During that year, while taking a plane trip around Jamaica, he faced a terrifying ordeal when authorities mistook his personal aircraft, the Hemisphere Dancer, for a drug-smuggling vehicle.

Buffett, renowned as the leader of the Coral Reefers, was accompanied by some noteworthy passengers on that flight: Bono, the lead singer of U2, along with his family, and Chris Blackwell, the president of Island Records. However, despite the famous names on board, Buffett wasn’t carrying anything illegal.

As the plane touched down just off the coast of Negril, the passengers were startled by the sound of gunfire. Bullets pierced the aircraft’s fuselage, and one even shattered the windshield. Buffett managed to de-escalate the situation, but the experience left Bono and his family in a state of profound fear.

Bono recounted the ordeal to the Belfast Telegraph, saying:

“These boys were shooting all over the place. I felt as if we were in the middle of a James Bond movie — only this was real. It was absolutely terrifying, and I honestly thought we were all going to die. Thank God we were safe and sound. My only concern was for their safety. It was very scary, let me tell you. You can’t believe the relief I felt when I saw the kids were okay.”

How Buffett Turned the Incident Into Song

The incident left Bono so shaken that he and his family hastily boarded a flight out of Jamaica to Miami, Florida. Authorities later apologized to Buffett for the misunderstanding, hoping it wouldn’t affect his continued support of the country.

Buffett took the incident in stride but not before immortalizing it in his song “Jamaica Mistaica,” which appears on his 1996 album Banana Wind. The song serves as a firsthand account of the harrowing experience, including the authorities’ hope for his return to Jamaica despite the shooting incident.

With characteristic humor, Buffett encapsulated the ordeal with the lyrics, “Some thought me crazy for bein’ way too nice / But it’s just another shitty day in paradise.”

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