Buffett Sued for “God’s Own Drunk”

back to Incidents

In the “Names and Faces” section in newspapers all over the country on August 30, 1983, the following story ran:

Singer Jimmy Buffett, known for hits like “Margaritaville” and “Havana Daydreaming,” has been named in an $11-million suit alleging that one of his songs was taken from a dramatic monologue by the late Richard (Lord) Buckley, an entertainer during the 1930s and 1950s. Buckley’s son, Dick Buckley Jr., charged in a suit filed last Thursday in US District Court in Los Angeles that Buffett infringed on his father’s copyright. Buckley charged that Buffett took parts of his father’s monologue from “A Tribute to Buckley” and claimed it as his work in “God’s Own Drunk.”

Though few details on the incident are known, it inspired a song, much like all of Jimmy’s incidents over the years have. The song was titled “The Lawyer and The Asshole” (lyrics at right) and was played often through the 1980’s, with the earliest known performance being in Telluride, Colorado on August 27, 1983 and the last being November 16, 1986 in Gainesville, Florida. The song went something like this:

Although the outcome of the court case is unknown, “God’s Own Drunk” was replaced in set lists between the 1983 “Somewhere Over China” tour and 1987’s “A Pirate Looks at Forty” tour with the above song. Once a staple of Buffett shows and a favorite of everyone, the song still reappears every now and then. As of now, the song was last performed October 25th, 2008 in Las Vegas. Despite it reappearing throughout the 1990’s, the question still remains, can Jimmy legally perform “God’s Own Drunk” in concert?

Lord Buckley

Lord Buckley


The Lawyer and The Asshole

This lawyer and this asshole,
Out in California,
Told me I can’t sing “God’s Own Drunk”
For you no more
I hate being told what I can and can’t do
So here’s a little message ’til I even up the score
Kiss my ass Mr. Buckley
Hey something here’s wrong
You want all the money
And you never wrote the song
I bet your poor daddy’s
Rolling over in the ground
So I’ll just sing my own good tunes
They still get me around
Kiss my ass Mr. Buckley
Hey, something here’s very wrong
You want all this money
And you never even wrote the song
I just bet your daddy used to beat you as a kid
If I find you in L.A. I’ll repeat just what he did
Kiss My Ass, Kiss My Ass, Kiss My Ass