Jimmy Buffett, 69, isn’t your typical millionaire. He’s not even your typical millionaire musician. For over four decades, Buffett has sang about getting drunk, island paradises, how he wants a pencil-thin mustache and what a pirate looks like at 40. But for many, he’s the guy behind “Margaritaville,” a song that paints such a perfect picture of paradise that it inspired a whole chain of restaurants around the world. The brand name has become so synonymous with Buffett that he doesn’t have an official “JimmyBuffett.com.” Instead, you have to visit Margaritaville.com.
Buffett is constantly on tour, pleasing Parrotheads from coast-to-coast. On July 29, he performs on NBC’s The Today Show and hits the road for an August tour.
Here’s a look at Buffett’s career and net worth.
1. Buffett Is One of the Richest Singers in the World with a Net Worth of $500 Million
Jimmy Buffett might not be the world’s most successful songwriter, but he’s not too far behind Paul McCartney in the wealth department. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that the Mississippi-born Buffett has an estimated net worth of $500 million. Forbes estimates that Buffett made $40.5 million in the past year.
Buffett got his start in the music business as a folk rock musician in Nashville with the album Down To Earth (1970). After his first two albums flopped, Buffett went to Key West, where he was inspired to change direction. While he kept those folk rock roots, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean (1973) revealed a drastic change in creative direction. His albums often included a hit single or two and 1977’s Changes in Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes was his breakthrough. It included the title track and “Margaritaville.”
Amazingly, Buffett only had one album reach the top of the Billboard 200. That was 2004’s License to Chill. Even though he still records, his concerts draw much more attention.
2. ‘Margaritaville’ Was Named the Most Lucrative Song Ever, Even Though It Wasn’t a No. 1 Single
Back when “Margaritaville” was released in 1977, it was a hit single, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard 100. However, the song has gone on to have a life of its own. In May 2013, Bloomberg Businessweek called it “the most lucrative song ever.”
That’s because it’s the inspiration behind the Margaritaville empire. There are Margaritaville restaurants in Atlantic city, Chicago, Key West, Las Vegas, Orlando and more. One will be opening soon at the Mall of America. There are Margaritaville REsorts in Hollywood Beach, Biloxi, Orlando, Pensacola and Pigeon Forge. He even has a vacation club in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.
And if you like “Cheeseburger in Paradise” more than “Margaritaville,” there are restaurants inspired by that song too. They’re located in Indianapolis; Myrtle Beach; California, MAryland; Miramar Beach, Florida; Omaha; Pasadena, Maryland; Secaucus, New Jersey; and Virginia Beach.
You can also listen to Radio Margaritaville on SiriusXM.
3. Buffett Co-Founded Save The Manatee & Singing For Change
Buffett has backed two major charities. In 1981, he co-founded Save The Manatee Club with Bob Graham, the former Florida Governor and Senator. The organization’s goal is to help manatees in the wild and their growing population.
“Clearly, the genesis of Save the Manatee Club must be attributed to Jimmy,” Save The Manatee Executive Director Patrick Rose said as the organization celebrates its 35th anniversary.
Buffett’s other charity is Singign For Change, which he started in 1995. It gives out grants to non-profit organizations that focus on environmental issues. In its first 11 years, the charity distributed $11 million.
4. Buffett’s Tours Grossed Over $215 Million in the Previous Decade
Buffett really has no reason to continue recording music as long as his Margaritaville brand still exists and he can keep touring. In 2009, when Billboard put together a list of the top touring performing artists, Buffett came in at number 22 with $215.4 million in total gross from 196 shows. That includes 131 sellouts.
In 2014, Billboard put together a list of the top acts between 1990 and 2014, with Buffett coming in at number 20. His shows grossed $407.7 million in that period, drawing 9.7 million Parrotheads to his shows.
5. Buffett Bought a Beverly Hills Mansion for $8.25 Million & Has Houses in Palm Beach
Whenever Jimmy Buffett and his wife Jane need a change of scenery, they can go to their homes on both U.S. coasts. In June 2014, Variety reported that the Buffetts bought a Beverly Hills, California mansion for $8.25 million. The home covers 4,322 square feet and has four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Buffett also has three homes in Palm Beach, Florida. In 2013, the third property cost him $1.3 million, Trulia reported at the time. He bought the other two properties for $5 million in 2011, and $802,000 in 2002.
He also has three homes in Sag Harbor, New York and a home on St. Barts in the Caribbean.