The title track of Jimmy Buffett's ninth studio album finds the trop-rock singer worried over the Soufriere Hills volcano that threatened to erupt while he was recording his album on the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies. "One of the wildest times I've ever had in my career was an expedition to the Caribbean island of Montserrat to record an album," he explained. "The events which took place could fill a book, and one day they just might. The whole time we were there, the volcano above the studio seemed to be waiting for us to do it justice. One day [Coral Reefer guitarist] Keith Sykes came into our house strumming his little Martin, singing the chorus. I took it from there, and the gods of the volcano appeared to be satisfied."
In the bridge, Buffett lists a number of places he doesn't want to end up when the volcano blows, including New York City, Nashville, or Mexico. Another is Three Mile Island, where "I don't want to see my skin a-glow." He's referencing the nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that suffered a partial meltdown and radiation leak in 1979.
He also claims, "I don't want to land on no Ayatollah." Ayatollah Khomeini was an exiled Iranian politician who led the 1979 Iranian Revolution and became the country's Supreme Leader.
Buffett needn't worry about the volcano for awhile: It didn't erupt again until 1995.
On October 4, 1979, two months after Volcano dropped, Buffett was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, which included an article about his experience of making the album in Montserrat.
This was the album's third single. It had its greatest chart success in Canada, where it hit #1 Adult Contemporary.
This was used on the TV series Hawaii Five-0 in the 2019 episode "Ai no i ka 'ape he mane'o no ko ka nuku." Buffett was a recurring guest on the show, playing helicopter pilot Frank Bama (a character derived from the singer's 1992 best-selling novel Where Is Joe Merchant?).