Greg Fingers Taylor obituary and dead, American harmonica player death

I just heard that my old friend and bandmate from many moons ago, Greg “Fingers” Taylor has passed away. My heart is heavy and very sad. I wish you safe travels, old friend. Your music, our good times and your memory will live on.

Mississippians proudly claim Jimmy Buffett as a native son, embracing him wholeheartedly no matter how big he became. Born in Pascagoula on Christmas Day in 1946, Buffett spent his formative years not far away in Mobile and attended Southern Miss in Hattiesburg.

During his time in Hattiesburg, Buffett crossed paths with Greg “Fingers” Taylor, a talented harmonica player who joined Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. A bronze marker at Southern Miss commemorates the spot where this musical collaboration began. Melanie Johnston, Greg Taylor’s sister, recalls their first meeting nearly fifty years ago, describing a young Buffett with a guitar who stayed at their North Jackson home. Their enduring friendship was marked by music and shared memories.

The shocking news of Buffett’s passing at 76 left many in disbelief, as he seemed eternally young despite the passing years. Buffett’s love for coastal living profoundly influenced his music, spawning hits like “Come Monday,” “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes,” and the iconic “Margaritaville.”

Beyond his musical career, Buffett demonstrated savvy business acumen by licensing the Margaritaville name, transforming his laid-back lifestyle into a thriving brand. Margaritaville expanded into various ventures, including tequila, margarita mix, casinos, hotels, retirement communities, and more. His business empire, with new ventures like the Margaritaville Resort Times Square, will endure, but the concert stage will miss Buffett’s presence.

A self-proclaimed beach bum, Buffett released 31 albums, undertook 45 concert tours, and generated over $570 million in revenue from his concerts, as reported by Forbes. In 1999, he founded Mailboat Records, perpetuating the island vibe with artists like Jeff Bridges and REO Speedwagon.

While his music resonates globally, it is in Mississippi that Buffett holds a special place in the hearts of his fans, known as Parrotheads. Despite his admission of not being a dedicated student during his Golden Eagle days, Buffett’s connection with Mississippi endured. The song “The Great Filling Station Holdup,” inspired by a late-night beer run in Hattiesburg, stands as a testament to the enduring influence of his Mississippi roots.

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