Jimmy Buffett translated his easygoing Gulf Coast persona into more than just a successful recording career -- he expanded into clothing, nightclubs, and literature -- but the basis of the business empire that kept him on the Fortune magazine list of highest-earning entertainers was his music. Born in southern Mississippi and raised in Alabama, Buffett moved to Nashville to try to make it in country music in the late '60s. After signing to the Barnaby label, he released one album, 1970's Down to Earth, from which the socially conscious single "The Christian?" suggested he might be more at home protesting in Greenwich Village. (Barnaby "lost" his second album, High Cumberland Jubilee, though they would find it and release it after he became successful.) Instead, the songwriter moved to Key West, FL, where he gradually evolved into the beach-bum character and developed the tropical folk-rock style that would endear him to millions.