On January 16, 1996, Buffett's seaplane, the "Hemisphere Dancer," was shot at when it landed off the coast of Negril by Jamaican police who thought it was smuggling marijuana. The windshield was blown out, but nobody on board was hurt.
Buffett, a frequent flier who was taking one of his many impromptu tropical excursions, had some high-profile guests on board: U2 frontman Bono (with his family) and Island Records producer Chris Blackwell. Speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, Bono said: "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."
Buffett was warned by his longtime pilot Jim Powell, who refused to make the trip, that landing in Negril could be a problem, as the area was politically volatile.
When they realized their mistake, the Jamaican government apologized. Buffett explains in the song:
Well the word got out all over the island
Friends, strangers, they were all apologizing
Some thought me crazy for being way too nice
But it's just another s---ty day in paradise