James Taylor Pays Heartfelt Tribute To Jimmy Buffett
Following the news of Jimmy Buffett’s passing on September 2, condolences from his numerous friends, admirers, and fans flooded the internet.
Elton John called him “a unique and treasured entertainer,” Toby Keith said he had a “tremendous influence on so many of us,” and Blake Shelton hailed him as “an incredible talent and man.”
James Taylor was a different musician who was acquainted with Buffett and knew him well. Taylor pays significant tribute to his late friend, who he claimed emanated “his joy of being alive and being himself,” in a new first-person essay for Rolling Stone. Being in his presence was a treat, and it was fun to see how he lived. Taylor wrote:
“Jimmy didn’t have any illusions about who he was and what he was doing. He made fun of himself and he made fun of the institution of celebrity.
“His eyes were always open. And yet it was always celebratory and joyful. Sometimes melancholy, it’s true — songs about compromise, tarnished dreams, stuff like that. But you can’t think about the guy without smiling.”
Friendship Through Sailing
According to Taylor, the two originally came into contact because of a group of sailors he knew from areas like Martha’s Vineyard, Long Island, and even the Caribbean. In his opinion, they ultimately connected in Martha’s Vineyard at some point in the early 1970s. They naturally went sailing. Taylor wrote:
“We both were sort of brought up in it, so we had a lot in common. He liked single-hand sailing [sailing without a crew].
“He liked to sail alone on a sloop, and he loved to build and design boats. He was a competent captain. I can take my turn at the helm and hold the course for an evening or for a watch. But you got the feeling as though Jimmy could direct the whole enterprise.”
Taylor emphasized that although Buffett was a legend, he was not portraying a character when he lived the hard-partying lifestyle reflected in his music. Despite this, Taylor wrote, “you always felt you were in good hands, like he wouldn’t let you get into terrible trouble.” Simply put, he was Jimmy.
Watch the video below.