Scott Atwell’s new book, “Buffett Backstories,” tells the untold stories behind 50 classic Buffett songs. Cover design by Irene de Bruijn

Half a century has passed since Jimmy Buffett boarded Jerry Jeff Walker’s Packard for a road trip from Miami to Key West, an excursion that inspired the singer’s tropical troubadour character and started a business of a billion dollars. Fifty years after Buffett found his new home, Key Wester native Scott Atwell celebrated the golden anniversary with a new book that uncovers the stories behind some of the artist’s generous song catalog: “Buffett Backstories – 50 Years, 50 Songs.

Former Coral Reefer Band Tour Director Bob Liberman provides the foreword.

“Jimmy Buffett is a storyteller at heart, but the song lyrics are just the distilled version of the story,” said author Scott Atwell, who was 10 when Buffett arrived in his hometown in November 1971. “I’m a fan, and like other Parrot Heads, I was curious to understand the stories behind the stories.

On a Key West radio station earlier this year, Atwell began volunteering as the host of a program devoted to Buffett’s music. Each week it featured a new backstory, often interviewing key members of the Buffett universe, and the compilation of the material began to take the form of printed text.

“It was so much fun connecting with people like Keith Sykes to see how he was inspired to come up with the idea for the song ‘Volcano’, or find out the details of ‘Song for the Little Children’ while speaking with Mishka. Frith, the “young Mr. Moon” described in the lyrics, “Atwell said.

Number one on Buffett’s Backstory list is “Railroad Lady,” the song that connected Buffett to Walker and ultimately led him to find Key West, while song # 50 from the book features “It’s Five O ‘ Clock Somewhere, “sharing new details on a phrase that is now part of the American vernacular.

Liberman, whose tour of duty with the Reefers earned him the nickname “Lip Balm,” was a guest on Atwell’s radio show and, after reading a draft of the book, decided to contribute his memories in the foreword. Even the price of the book is a nod to the year Buffett arrived in Key West: $ 19.71.

“Buffett Backstories” is available on Amazon, and locally on Books & Books and Last Chance Gifts inside Key West International Airport.


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