20th Anniversary of “Jamaica Mistaica”

Original story by Aaron J. Sams (2016-01-17)

Twenty years ago this week, on January 16, 1996, Bono and his family were disembarking from a small seaplane with Island Records chairman Chris Blackwell. The plane belonged to Jimmy Buffett, who was also on the plane, the Hemisphere Dancer. They were flying into Jamaica, when authorities opened fire on the plane thinking the plane was carrying drug traffickers. No one was hurt in the incident and no drugs were found.

But that incident did inspire Buffett to write a song, “Jamaica Mistaica” which discussed the incident. The song was released on his album “Banana Wind” in 1996.

Buffett explains some of the incident in the song lyrics:

It was a beautiful day
The kind you want to toast
We were treetop flyin’
Movin’ west along the coast
Then we landed in the water
Just about my favorite thrill
When some asshole started firin’
When we taxied to Negril

Just about to lose my temper
As I endeavored to explain
We had only come for chicken
We were not a ganja plane
Well you should have seen there faces
When they finally realized
We were not some coked up cowboys
Sportin’ guns and alibis

Bono would talk to the Belfast Telegraph: “I don’t know how we came through it. These boys were shooting all over the place. I felt as if we were in the middle of a James Bond movie — only this was real. It was absolutely terrifying and I honestly thought we were all going to die. Thank God we were safe and sound. My only concern was for their safety. It was very scary, let me tell you. You can’t believe the relief I felt when I saw the kids were okay.” According to press reports at the time Bono, his wife Ali, and the kids (Jordan and Eve) dove for cover, and immediately decided to leave for Miami and leave Jamaica behind. Bono and Ali had frequently vacationed at Blackwell’s house in Jamaica, known as GoldenEye, which would later inspire a Bond film.

Buffet still performs the song. The song can be listened to below if you are interested:

Thanks to Jason for the reminder.

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