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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

A rollicking requiem for a pirate



Jimmy Buffett at the Marquis Theatre, to promote his musical “Escape to Margaritaville” in New York, Dec. 8, 2017. At a rollicking requiem for a pirate, Buffett’s music echoed through the Hollywood Hills, a celebration of oysters and beer, surf and sailing, drinking and, well, let’s call it bold barroom flirtation, Maureen Dowd writes. (Aaron Richter/The New York Times)

By Maureen Dowd


When Jimmy Buffett was dying last August, Paul McCartney came to Buffett’s house in Sag Harbor to sing to him.


“He was in a pretty bad way but he still had a twinkle in his eye,” McCartney recalled. One of the songs was “Let It Be.” And on Thursday night, Sir Paul came to the Hollywood Bowl to play the piano and sing the song about an “hour of darkness” to more than 15,000 parrot heads who came together for a pirate’s wake.


Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts as far as the eye could see. Buffett’s music echoed through the Hollywood Hills, a celebration of oysters and beer, surf and sailing, drinking and, well, let’s call it bold barroom flirtation. “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and ...” Not to mention margaritas. (Including a giant green one slurped by the former Beatle onstage.)


A wild mélange of musical and Hollywood royalty showed up to honor their friend precisely because he refused to allow any hours of darkness if he could help it. Don Johnson, who hung out with Buffett in Aspen, Colorado, in the cocaine-fueled “Miami Vice” days, choked up as he read a Jimmy quote about making life a magical voyage. Even though there were storms and he “bounced across the bottom on occasion,” Jimmy said he relished the thousand ports of call behind him and wanted a thousand more.


Jane Fonda said that “Jimmy has the ability, like Tinker Bell, to spread happiness all over” — his generosity of heart and spirit always at the fore. She, John McEnroe and others paid homage to Jimmy’s love of weed with a running gag about smoking joints with him in outlandish places like the roof of the Vatican and center court at Wimbledon.


The Emperor of Key West, as he was known, was a sunny, magnetic presence in a world where the algorithms are always torquing up conflict and hatred, in a country where no one can seem to get along or even talk to one another.


Harrison Ford shared the story of a “boozy lunch” with Buffett and the “60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley. “I saw both of them had earrings, so right after lunch I got my ear pierced,” Ford said of his infamous piercing in his 40s. “That’s how infectious Jimmy’s coolness was.”


Dolly Parton, beaming in on video, reminded everyone that Buffett was more than just a guy in flip-flops. He wrote books and stuff, she said.


That stuff made him rich but he always kept the vibe of a lucky dude from the Gulf Coast who happened to busk his way to monumental success.

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