Cheeseburger in Paradise

"Cheeseburger in Paradise"

Cover of the Japanese 7 " single[1]
Single by Jimmy Buffett
from the album Son of a Son of a Sailor
B-side "African Friend"
Released March 1978
Genre Country rock, gulf and western
Length 2:51
Label ABC
Writer(s) Jimmy Buffett
Producer Norbert Putnam
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
"Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
"Cheeseburger in Paradise"
"Livingston Saturday Night"
Audio sample
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"Cheeseburger in Paradise" is a song written and performed by American popular music singer Jimmy Buffett. It appeared on his 1978 album Son of a Son of a Sailor and was released as a single, reaching #32 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Cheeseburger in Paradise" has become one of Buffett's best-known songs and was selected as the first track on his greatest hits album Songs You Know by Heart.



According to Buffett's Margaritaville web site, the myth of the "cheeseburger in paradise" was inspired by a boat journey Buffett once took in the Caribbean. Buffett states that while subsisting on canned food and peanut butter, he envisioned eating a "piping hot cheeseburger". He reports that upon finally arriving in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, he was surprised to find a restaurant serving American cheeseburgers:

...we gave particular instructions to the waiter on how we wanted them cooked and what we wanted on them -- to which little attention was paid. It didn't matter. The overdone burgers on the burned, toasted buns tasted like manna from heaven, for they were the realization of my fantasy burgers on the trip.[2]

Chart performance

Chart (1978) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 32
Canadian RPM Top Singles 24


A Cheeseburger in Paradise at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

In 2002, Buffett's company Margaritaville Holdings LLC licensed the name of the song to OSI Restaurant Partners as the name of the Buffett-themed Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant chain. As of 2006, the restaurant has 38 locations in 17 states in the United States.

A Cheeseburger in Paradise is a menu item at Buffett-owned Margaritaville Cafes located in the United States, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, as well as being on the menu at his siser Lucy's restaurant "Lulu's" in Gulf Shores, Alabama.[3]


According to the lyrics found on the vinyl sleeve, Buffett sings "cheeseburger is Paradise" twice throughout the song. It is unclear whether he is actually saying in or is, but "cheeseburger is Paradise" can clearly be heard during live performances.[4] Whether this is a fact for the studio version hasn't been confirmed.

Also, another lyrical-confusion is in the second chorus, during the line "medium rare with Münster would be nice"; the line is commonly mistaken as saying mustard instead of Münster.[5]


1978 saw Jimmy begin his own tour with the Coral Reefer Band, spending March and April playing along the east coast and then the mid-west. June brought California dates which included a few shows opening for Jackson Browne in San Jose and Angels Camp, California. August brought a Florida stadium tour with the Little River Band and the Steve Miller Band along with three shows in Atlanta and Miami which were recorded for the live album You Had To Be There. Jimmy then took some much needed time off during the fall.[6]

1978 Coral Reefer Band

  • Jimmy Buffett: Vocals and guitar
  • Barry Chance: Guitar
  • Harry Dailey: Bass and background Vocals
  • Deborah McColl: Background vocals
  • Greg “Fingers” Taylor – Harmonica and background Vocals
  • Jay Spell – Piano
  • Michael Utley – Organ
  • Kenneth Buttrey – Drums


The set list changed nightly, mainly with an acoustic set between "Margaritaville" and "Why Don't We Get Drunk"—however, You Had to Be There chronicles some unusual inclusions, such as: "Miss You So Badly" replaces "Mañana"; a new song "Perrier Blues" emerges later in the tour; a rare performance of "The Captain and the Kid" appeared during the acoustic set; and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" was ironically missing. The shows opened with "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and closed with "Tampico Trauma" every night; and the encore typically consisted of "Morris' Nightmare", "Dixie Diner" (Larry Raspberry And The Highsteppers cover) and "Last Line" (Keith Sykes cover) respectively, with "Morris' Nightmare" closing the show only when it debuted in Boston.


An average set list:[7]

  1. "Son of a Son of a Sailor"
  2. "Pencil Thin Mustache"
  3. "Wonder Why We Ever Go Home"
  4. "Landfall"
  5. "Mañana"
  6. "Livingston Saturday Night"
  7. "Margaritaville"
  8. "Grapefruit—Juicy Fruit" (acoustic)
  9. "Banana Republics" (Steve Goodman cover) (acoustic)
  10. "He Went to Paris" (acoustic)
  11. "God's Own Drunk" (Richard Buckley cover) (acoustic)
  12. "Why Don't We Get Drunk" (mostly performed with the Coral Reefer Band, but occasionally performed acoustically)
  13. "Coast of Marseilles" (Keith Sykes cover)
  14. "Cheeseburger in Paradise"
  15. "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
  16. "A Pirate Looks at Forty"
  17. "Come Monday"
  18. "Tampico Trauma"


  1. "Morris' Nightmare"
  2. "Dixie Diner" (Larry Raspberry And The Highsteppers cover)

Encore 2:

  1. "The Last Line" (Keith Skyes cover)


  1. ^ The U.S. single did not have a picture cover but was issued with a standard ABC Records cover.
  2. ^ Top 10 Cheeseburgers
  3. ^ Lulu's - Our Story
  4. ^ Jimmy Buffett - Cheeseburger In Paradise Youtube
  5. ^ What's on cheeseburger in paradise? Houston Chronicle
  6. ^ BuffettWorld, Cheeseburger In Paradise tour
  7. ^ Average set list for the Cheeseburger in Paradise Tour

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