Jimmy Buffett and Paul McCartney are rock’n’roll legends in their own right, but together they shared a deep and surprising friendship right up until Buffett’s death on Friday after a four-year battle with cancer. In a heartfelt message on Instagram, McCartney saluted Buffett as “one of the kindest and most generous people” and confirmed that he appears on the latter’s new song “My Gummy Just Kicked In,” which will reportedly be released on Sept. 8.
McCartney recalled how Buffett once saved the day when he forgot to bring a guitar on vacation, despite the former Beatle requiring a left-handed instrument. “Jimmy had his roadie restring one of his guitars which he loaned me for the duration of the holiday,” McCartney said. “He then followed this act of generosity by giving me my own beautiful left-handed guitar that had been made by one of his guitar-making pals. It’s a beautiful instrument, and every time I play it now it’ll remind me of what a great man Jimmy was.”
A pretty peerless storyteller in his own right, McCartney said he was always in awe of Buffett’s way with a tale. “He had a most amazing lust for life and a beautiful sense of humor,” he wrote. “When we swapped tales about the past, his were so exotic and lush and involved sailing trips and surfing and so many exciting stories that it was hard for me to keep up with him.”
During sessions for “My Gummy Just Kicked In,” Buffett played McCartney some of his other new songs, including the as-yet-unreleased “Bubbles Up.” “I told him that not only was the song great but the vocal was probably the best I’ve heard him sing ever,” McCartney said. “He turned a diving phrase that is used to train people underwater into a metaphor for life. When you’re confused and don’t know where you are, just follow the bubbles — they’ll take you up to the surface and straighten you out right away.”
McCartney indirectly confirmed reports that he’d visited the gravely ill Buffett’s bedside earlier this week, writing, “right up to the last minute, his eyes still twinkled with a humor that said, ‘I love this world and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.'” In closing, he said, “so long, Jim. You are a very special man and friend and it was a great privilege to get to know you and love you. Bubbles up, my friend.”