Jimmy Buffett’s First Holiday Album ‘Christmas Island’ Gets Vinyl Release

Born on Christmas Day in 1946, it was only fitting that Jimmy Buffett release a holiday album—and he did, 50 years later. Christmas Island, released in 1996, was Buffett’s first holiday album, a collection of original songs, and classics, and some reimagined covers giving Parrotheads something for the holidays.

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To celebrate Buffett’s musical contribution to the holidays, Christmas Island will be released on vinyl—in black and in limited edition red—for the first time on December 15.

Originally released on CD, Christmas Island was also Buffett’s 21st album and peaked at No. 27 on Billboard 200 chart, where it remained for 14 weeks, and also went to No. 4 on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart.

The album featured two original songs, co-written by Buffett, including “A Sailor’s Christmas” and “Merry Christmas, Alabama (Never Far from Home),” along with “Jingle Bells,” “Christmas Island,” and “Up on the House Top.” Buffeet also shared his renditions of Chuck Berry‘s “Run Rudolph Run,” the Hawaiian-themed Christmas song “Mele Kalikimaka,” written by R. Alex Anderson and made famous by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters in 1950, and John Lennon’s 1971 holiday protest song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).”

[RELATED: How a Potent Gummie with Paul McCartney, Navy Seal Training, and More Inspired Jimmy Buffett’s Final Album ‘Equal Strain on All Parts’]

A hidden track on the original CD of Christmas Island, “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (“Twas The Night Before Christmas”), also appears on the vinyl release.

“For those of you who didn’t know, I was born on Christmas Day 1946, the day W.C. Fields died,” said Buffett in the liner notes of the album. “I think this only goes to prove that God does have a sense of humor, but being born on Christmas was rough going at first. The most obvious scam was to try and double up on presents. It did not sit well with my mother, who made it known, in no uncertain terms to the aunts, uncles and cousins of the Buffett clan strung out along the Gulf coast, that she expected two presents for her bouncing baby boy-one for his birthday and one for Christmas.”

Buffett continued, “On the whole it worked quite well, though there were a few Scrooge like occurrences where I would get socks for my birthday and a tie for Christmas. This probably is the reason I never have liked to wear either since.”

With its steel drums and tropical renderings, on Christmas Island Buffett served up the perfect blend of “Margaritaville” for the holidays.

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Jimmy Buffett Wrote for Other Artists]

“’Christmas Island’ is a collection of songs, not ladled over with sugary sentimentality and not too far out there in the strange corridors down which my mind sometimes wanders,” said Buffett. “I hope it is what you would expect from the Christmas War baby turned island boy born on the day W.C. Fields died.”

Equal Strain on All Parts, the 32nd and final album recorded by Buffett, who died at age 76 on September 29, 2023, was also released on November 3.

Co-produced by Mac McAnally and Michael Utley, the album features guests Paul McCartney, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and more. Buffett also co-wrote 11 of the 14 tracks and covered three songs, including Bob Dylan‘s 1976 song “Mozambique,” featuring Emmylou Harris, Bill Currington’s “Like My Dog,” and Mary Black’s 1989 song “Columbus.” 

Christmas Island Track List:

Side A

1. “Christmas Island”
2. “Jingle Bells”
3. “A Sailor’s Christmas”
4. “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
5. “Up On The House Top”

Side B

1. “Mele Kalikimaka”
2. “Run Rudolph Run”
3. “Ho Ho Ho And A Bottle of Rhum”
4. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”
5. “Merry Christmas, Alabama (Never Far from Home)”
6. “A Visit From St. Nicholas”

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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