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USM marker to note 1st Jimmy Buffett, Greg Taylor jam

HATTIESBURG, MS (AP) - The University of Southern Mississippi is putting up a bronze marker near the student center steps where singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett met and first jammed with harmonica player Greg "Fingers" Taylor, who became a member of Buffett's first Coral Reefer Band.

It was the early 1970s. Buffett was a recent graduate of USM. He was playing on the steps of The Hub for students between night classes. Taylor, then a student, asked if he could join in.

Taylor was in Buffett's band from 1974 until 2001. Popular songs during that time included "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise."

"It's only fitting we recognize the legacies of Buffett and Taylor, whose contributions to American popular music are indeed significant. The story of their session at The Hub and what followed is a treasured part of the Southern Miss story," university historian Chester "Bo" Morgan said.

A university news release says Taylor will be represented at the ceremony by Harrison Cunningham, a relative. Buffett will be represented by Phillip LemEre, president of Kappa Sigma Epsilon-Nu, the fraternity chapter Buffett joined at USM.

The bronze marker will be unveiled Saturday morning before the football game against Old Dominion.

Buffett earned his degree from Southern Miss in 1969 and performed, both solo and with a band called "The Upstairs Alliance," at student hangouts on the Hattiesburg campus and beyond. His 30-plus albums have included nine platinum and eight gold, a Grammy nomination and other honors, and three books that made the New York Times bestseller list.

Taylor has recorded more than half a dozen albums of his own, in addition to those with the Coral Reefer Band.

Both men are inductees in the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.



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