In an email to the Miami Herald, Jimmy Buffett shared a remembrance of his good friend Glenn Frey, who died Monday at the age of 67.
In August of 1975, I was sitting in a dressing room in the Columbia Coliseum in South Carolina, about ready to go onstage. It wasn’t your ordinary gig by any stretch of the imagination, and still gives me “chicken skin” as I write about [it] this morning. We were opening for the Eagles, the best American band of my generation and many to follow. Any band worth their salt started out as an opener for somebody. Opening for the right band at the right time, could be your stairway to heaven.
Earlier in the afternoon Tommy Nixon, one of their road managers, had invited us to watch the Eagles sound check. I sat there with all the members of the Coral Reefer Band in awe, and when it was over, we strolled back through the empty arena towards our dressing room, and I said to my band, “that is the kind of band we want to become.”
Waiting to go on that night seemed like an eternity. Mixed emotions were flowing, fear, excitement, and a lot of “what if’s” were running through my head, when the door suddenly opened and in walked Glenn Frey. That was the first time we met. He greeted me and the band warmly, thanked us for being there (duh?) and said to me how much he loved A Pirate Looks at 40. He wished us luck and then went back out the door. That was the beginning of a long and lovely friendship.
Only a few people really know how significant Glenn, Don, Irving and the Eagles were to my rise through the ranks of bands trying to achieve just a sliver of the success that they had achieved. After that first night, Glenn and I went on to become close friends, songwriting collaborators and neighbors in Aspen. He and Don were instrumental in getting Irving Azoff to become my manager, and eventually open for the Eagles on the Hotel California tour of America, which was the rocket ship we rode to eventually becoming a headliner.
When the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they asked me to give their induction speech. I was humbled. Glenn was a true friend, a true professional, an inspiration and sometimes could be a handful. I cherish great memories of our time spent together and will never forget his kindness that first night and our friendship for all these years. My heart goes out to Cindy, Deacon, Taylor and Otis. He rocked all our worlds.
Jimmy Buffett was in New Orleans on Friday for the memorial service for his friend Allen Toussaint.
Jimmy and Allen at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 2014
World-renowned stars and home folks who love New Orleans’ rich musical heritage crowded into a historic theater Friday to bid farewell in words and song to Allen Toussaint, a prolific songwriter, performer and producer who died last week at age 77.
Jimmy Buffett sang “Fortune Teller.” Davell Crawford accompanied himself on piano, singing a haunting version of “Southern Nights,” the New Orleans-born Toussaint’s reminiscence of childhood visits to relatives in rural south Louisiana. Other performers included John Boutte, Dr. John and New Orleans’ “Queen of Soul” Irma Thomas, who said farewell with a gospel tune. The Preservation Hall Brass Band joined Trombone Shorty to close out the performances with a rousing “I’ll Fly Away.”
The tribute was at the Orpheum, recently renovated and reopened a decade after it was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The performances were carried live on the city’s community radio station WWOZ. Toussaint’s body lay in repose in a closed casket in the theater.
Toussaint died from a heart attack on Nov. 10 while on tour in Spain. A private burial is planned Saturday.
Jimmy Buffett’s last studio album, Songs From St. Somewhere (2013), included the Toby Keith duet “Too Drunk to Karaoke”. Around the same time that the pair recorded that song, they also recorded “Sailboat For Sale” for a later Keith album, and the time has now come.
Toby Keith will release his next studio album entitled 35 MPH Town on October 9th, and “Sailboat For Sale” with Buffett is listed as the 8th track on the record.
Winchester died at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday morning after battling cancer. He was 69.
When Buffett played the concert for the Gulf Coast in 2010, Winchester joined Buffett on stage to sing “Rhumba Man,” “Mississippi You’re On My Mind,” and “Biloxi.”
A year after that, in 2011, Jesse was told he had esophageal cancer. He stopped in the middle of a tour and began radiation treatments, followed by surgery. Immediately, Buffett and Elvis Costello agreed that it would be a good idea to put together a tribute album as a show of support.
At Christmas of 2011 Buffett wrote to Jesse and told him the album was coming, a gift from a whole bunch of grateful musicians and songwriters to a master. Jesse expressed his gratitude and had some good news of his own. He had beat the odds – after treatment and surgery the doctors had told him he was cancer free.
Winchester’s cancer returned in February, this time in his bladder and was inoperable.
Jimmy Buffett was able to nab Toby Keith for his new single “Too Drunk to Karaoke”, but a couple years ago Keith was unable to get Buffett for one of his songs that became a big hit:
“I always talk about Willie and Hag (Merle Haggard) and people like that. Guys like Jimmy Buffett were just as big of an influence on me growing up as anybody,” Keith said.
Keith, who recorded the albums “Unleashed” and “Shock’n Y’all” in Buffett’s Florida studios, said he offered “Red Solo Cup” to the Margaritaville singer as a duet in 2011, but then went on with it himself. Buffett reached out to Keith for “Too Drunk to Karaoke.”
“To me, to work with Jimmy Buffett is a feather in my hat. I think the guy’s brilliant in what he does,” Keith said.