As you probably know, Jimmy Buffett has long had an affinity with flying and space. On his new album Songs From St. Somewhere is the song The Rocket That Grandpa Rode, written about an encounter with Neil Armstrong’s family on the day of the final space shuttle launch.
Neil’s son relayed the following about the meeting:
As recalled by Rick Armstrong, one of the moonwalker’s two sons, he and his children were seated in the very last row of the bus. As they were driven past the voluminous Vehicle Assembly Building, he remarked something along the lines of “that’s where the rocket that grandpa rode was put together.”
Hearing this, the man seated in front of Armstrong and his family turned around and replied, “That sounds like a good idea for a song,” Rick Armstrong recounted in an e-mail to collectSPACE.
The exchange led to introductions, and Jimmy Buffett met the Armstrongs.
Behind us there was this quiet couple and a couple of kids sitting there with their iPads like kids on a bus ride with a bunch of boring adults saying “when we gonna get there dad?” Then the dad says when we get there we’re going to go to the museum, we’re gonna go look at the shuttle, then we’re going to go see the rocket that grandpa rode. And I went “that is some kind of statement. The rocket that grandpa rode.” I was thinking “who could this be?” I snuck a look back and on the nametag was ‘Armstrong.’ It wasn’t Neil. It was his son and grandson.
We went through the tour and saw the Atlas rocket on display and the Apollo rockets, and when we got off the bus I introduced myself and said “you know there aren’t many people who could say that line you said to your son. You may see that line again. Is that ok?” And he said “sure.” So I can’t wait for the Armstrong family to hear that song.
In the album special, Jimmy added “I’m going into space, by the way. Before I’m done here.”
Read the full lyrics to “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode” and what Jimmy had to say about the song during the album special here.
Jimmy Buffett was in Nashville on Thursday shooting a music video with Toby Keith, presumably for the song “Too Drunk to Karaoke.” Buffett revealed at one of the spring shows that the song would be on his upcoming album and that it is a duet with Keith.
AL.com has a great read on the destruction of a building in Mobile that was at one time a music studio where Buffett recorded some of his earliest stuff.
Jimmy Buffett is best known for his easy-going Key West lifestyle, but his musical roots began in Mobile inside a second-floor recording studio devastated by a Christmas Day tornado.
The studio’s building was torn down on Thursday, and rubble is being cleared from what had long been Cantrell’s photography studio at 1916 Airport Blvd., in an area referred to as “The Loop” where Airport, Government Street and Dauphin Island Parkway converge.
While it has not been occupied by a sound studio for decades, the location had become a popular sight-seeing stop for devoted “Parrot heads,” or loyalists to Buffett’s music. It was inside the studio where Buffett recorded his first songs.
“I could run (the studio) from 11 to 2 (a.m.) and during that three-hour period, we’d demo 10 songs,” Brown said. “That is unheard of today. I only had about seven of those songs ready to go and Jimmy was, by then, a good friend. I said, ‘hey, do you want to record some of yours?’ Jimmy said, ‘yeah, I want to do that.’”
Buffett, in the late 60s, was performing at the Admiral’s Corner at the Admiral Semmes Hotel in downtown Mobile.
“They were paying him $10 a night and he could put out a tip jar,” Brown said. “He wanted to get back (to work) so he didn’t lose that job.”
Said Thompson: “He was just one man with a guitar and a stool. He had not gotten the persona as the guy from Key West, yet.”
It was at Product Sound Studio where Buffett recorded two songs, “Don’t Bring Me Candy” and “Abandon On Tuesday.” Those two songs were released in 1970, but were not part of Buffett’s debut album, “Down to Earth.”
Jimmy Buffett was back in New Orleans on Thursday night where he played an acoustic show with help from Mac McAnally and Sonny Landreth. The concert included the debut of a new song entitled “Serpentine”:
A new composition called “Serpentine” made its world premiere at Jazz Fest. It celebrated Mardi Gras with an ambling, bluesy arrangement: “Two weeks out of the year, it’s all about sin….count me in.”
The Times Picayune has a great writeup on the show:
Seated center stage, surrounded by an arsenal of stringed instruments, Buffett showed up for work barefoot, in shorts, a purple polo shirt, sunglasses and a baseball cap. At his side was Mac McAnally, a member of the Coral Reefer Band and an acclaimed country songwriter and instrumentalist. Lafayette’s Sonny Landreth, another frequent collaborator, alternated electric and acoustic slide on some songs; a percussionist also helped out.
With the Coral Reefer Band, he generally closes out a Saturday at Jazz Fest. There was far more available real estate at the Acura Stage for the unplugged, weekday Buffett show than last year’s fully amped, weekend show. He reveled in the change in latitude, if not attitude: “It’s great to be playing ‘locals Thursday’!”
Noting that “we’re playing a home game tonight,” he sprinkled his set with references to Werlein’s, Morning Call, Cochon, Frenchmen Street and his pal Sean Payton. “This is where it all started. New Orleans was my Paris before I got to Paris.”
The Weather Channel is running a March Madness style tournament to determine the all-time favorite weather song.
There are four “regions,” and Jimmy Buffett’s song “Trying to Reason with Hurrican Season” is a contender in the Seasons region, though he’s well behind his opponent Bing Crosby with “White Christmas.”
Voting ends early Thursday morning, so you need to vote today for Jimmy!
Congratulations to Jimmy Buffett on another number one hit! “Knee Deep,” the duet with the Zac Brown Band, rose to the top of the Billboard Country Songs chart this week, giving Buffett his second number one (“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was the first back in the summer of 2003).
See Buffett’s full chart history here and watch the music video here.
Preview and download “Knee Deep” below from AmazonMP3, or get it at iTunes: