Fins

Album: Volcano (1979)
Charted: 35
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • 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.
  • Buffett shares songwriting credit with his Coral Reefer band members Deborah McColl and Barry Chance, along with Florida-based mystery novelist Tom Corcoran. Back in the '70s, Corcoran worked as a bartender at The Chart Room, a hotspot for Buffett when he first came to Key West, and the pair became fast friends. Corcoran also co-wrote Buffett's tune "Cuban Crime of Passion."
  • In 2009, Buffett rewrote the lyrics for the Miami Dolphins football team, known colloquially as "The Fins." It's played during home games at Hard Rock Stadium when the team scores a touchdown.
  • This was Buffett's last solo entry in the US Top 40, though he had chart success with a couple guest singles. In 1991, he appeared on the multi-artist charity single "People Who Care," which hit #11, and in 2003 he joined Alan Jackson on the #17 hit "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." In 2011, "Knee Deep," a collaboration with the Zac Brown Band, also hit #18.

Comments: 9

  • Tim Formerly From Fort Lauderdale from Orange, VaTamara - Actually, Timothy B. Schmit (also from the Eagles) actually coined the name, "Parrotheads" while playing with Jimmy during a concert.
  • 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

Editor's Picks

Sarah Brightman

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Yacht Rock!

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors Examined

Deconstructing Doors Songs With The Author Of The Doors ExaminedSong Writing

Doors expert Jim Cherry, author of The Doors Examined, talks about some of their defining songs and exposes some Jim Morrison myths.

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining Victims

Jay, Peaches, Spinderella and other Darrining VictimsSong Writing

Just like Darrin was replaced on Bewitched, groups have swapped out original members, hoping we wouldn't notice.

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.