Album: Volcano (1979)
Charted: 35
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Buffett: "I was in a bar up near Daytona Beach and saw a group of guys crowded around some girls who were obviously in town for a beauty contest of some sort. I sat back and listened to their conversation and took notes. For a moment I pictured that these guys had fins coming out of their backs as they hit on the girls. It was a pure feeding frenzy, and I scribbled down pieces of their conversation and wrote the song. Now it seems the 'land shark' population has increased tremendously." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - LaSalle, Canada
  • This song has its own dance - sort of. When Buffett plays this, audience members put their hands together above their heads (same as the "A" in the Village People's "YMCA" dance) and move their "Fins to the left" and "Fins to the right." Many audience members have enjoyed some island cocktails by this point.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 8

  • Tamara from Mechanicsville, IaActually I have read that Joe Walsh came up with the name "Parrotheads" .
    We love you here in Iowa, Jimmy!
  • Sean from Altoona, WiI am going to see Jimmy Buffett in East Troy, WI on August 29th (Tomorrow). It is the same day as my birthday. I have never seen Jimmy Buffett before. It should be a great concert!! Hope he performs this song. Fins to the left, Fins to the right!!
  • Sailorbob from Orange Park, FlOf Course it is about the girl from Cincinnatti on vacation with all the men circling around her trying to pick her up....

    fins to the left, fins to the right, you are the only bait in town....not many women around

    Can't you feel circling means do you not sense they are ready to strike and take the bait (the you, the girl!)
  • Darrell from EugeneThe line about land sharks could refer either to lawyers or to huge cars with large tailfins, such as the 1960 Plymouth Fury and 1959 Lincoln Capri that I owned until 1988 and 1974, respectively.
  • Mark from Lancaster, OhI had never heard this until it showed up on the sound system at Wal-mart, for heaven's sake. Background music is short on program notes, so I listened carefully, wrote down as many words of the lyrics as I could, and put them into Google. Bingo. I didn't recognize the singer as Mr Buffet until that point. Excellent.
  • Gary from Sandusky, OhI believe the girls name was Mary. Cincinnati was the home of a great friend and she left to join the ligh manager of a rock band in Monsaratt.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrWhen I think of the lyrics, "Fins to the left, fins to the right", I think of people that are surrounded by hundreds of sharks in the ocean.
  • Jillian from Cincinnati, OhHe mentions "Cincinnati" in the first line.

    Jimmy makes sure he plays Cincinnati on every tour; he always sells out there in record time! In fact, the Cincinnatian Buffett fans coined the term "Parrotheads," which is now what his loyal fans are called.
see more comments

Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSongwriter Interviews

Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.

James Williamson of Iggy & the StoogesSongwriter Interviews

The Stooges guitarist (and producer of the Kill City album) talks about those early recordings and what really happened with David Bowie.

Top American Idol Moments: Songs And ScandalsSong Writing

Surprise exits, a catfight and some very memorable performances make our list of the most memorable Idol moments.