Volcano (Jimmy Buffett song)

"Volcano" is a song performed by American popular music singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett. It was written by Jimmy Buffett, Keith Sykes, and Harry Dailey and released as a single (b/w "Stranded on a Sandbar") on MCA 41161 in November 1979.

West German single picture sleeve[1]
Single by Jimmy Buffett
from the album Volcano
B-side"Stranded on a Sandbar"
ReleasedNovember 1979
Format7-inch single
RecordedMay 1979
GenreRock, Gulf and Western
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Buffett, Keith Sykes, Harry Dailey
Producer(s)Norbert Putnam
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
Audio sample
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It was first released on his 1979 album Volcano. It reached #66 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #43 on the Easy Listening chart. This song was originally a minor hit.

The song and album are named for the then-dormant Soufrière Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies where Buffett recorded the album in May 1979 at AIR Studios. The studio was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Soufrière Hills erupted again in 1995.

The lyrics describe the narrator's anxiety about his possible whereabouts following the impending eruption of a volcano. The bridge before the final chorus mentions a number of placenames, some important largely in the context of 1979:

But I don't want to land in New York City,

I don't want to land in Mexico.
I don't want to land on no Three Mile Island,
I don't want to see my skin a-glow.

Don't want to land in Camanche Skypark,
or in Nashville, Tennessee.
I don't want to land in no San Juan Airport
or the Yukon Territory.

Don't want to land no San Diego.
Don't want to land in no Buzzards Bay.
I don't want to land on no Ayatollah.
I got nothin' more to say.

"Volcano" is one of Buffett's more popular songs with fans, and is part of "The Big 8" that he has played at almost all of his concerts. Recorded live versions of the song appear on Feeding Frenzy, Buffett Live: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and the video Live by the Bay. The placenames in the final bridge are often altered in concert to reflect more recent news. The song was also re-recorded and released for Rock Band on June 3, 2008, with the last two lines listed above changed to, "I want to be a couch potato / Just play Rock Band everyday."

Volcano was recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat and was played at the London benefit concert "Music for Montserrat", arranged by Sir George Martin to support the island after the twin disasters of hurricane Hugo and the eruptions of the Soufrière Hills volcano. The lyrics were changed to fit the context. For example, the phrase "We've got to help our friends in Montserrat" appeared in the song.

When performed at concerts, a video of the song on Rock Band is shown.

Chart performance

Chart (1979) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 66
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 43
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 1


  1. "45 rpm Records - 1979 to 1993". Web.archive.org. 2002-04-23. Archived from the original on 2002-04-23. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
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