If this guitar
could sing, oh, the stories it could tell. Over the past six months it has
snuggled with Marisa Miller under bamboo trees in Jamaica, sunbathed with
Fernanda Tavares on the white, sandy beaches of Itacar�, Brazil, and shared a
warm outdoor bath (in a horse trough, no less) under a sun-baked Tucson sky
with Yesica Toscanini.
guitar," says SI creative director Steve Hoffman, "has been intimate
with 20 of the most beautiful girls in the world."
guitar," says Swimsuit associate editor Jennifer Kaplan, "should have
its own frequent flier number."
guitar," says singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett, the instrument's original
owner, "looks like it had a pretty good time. I know I wish I could have
been caressed by that many beautiful women."
So how did this
000-JBS Jimmy Buffett--Shellback signature edition guitar (number 5 of 168
created by the famed C.F. Martin & Company) get so lucky? Back in August,
Hoffman was driving to a golf outing in New Jersey when he was struck by an
idea. "I was lamenting the fact that here we were, doing a music-themed
Swimsuit Issue, and we hadn't mentioned New Orleans," Hoffman says. "It
occurred to me that maybe we could do something to raise some money for the
That's where the
mayor of Margaritaville came in. Buffett agreed to donate one of his guitars to
the cause, and he autographed it--Play well, fins to the left, fins to the
right, Jimmy Buffett--before it was passed on to 20 of the models in this
issue, each of whom signed the guitar during her photo shoot. (Alas, not one of
them left her cellphone number on it.)
The guitar will
be auctioned on eBay, with bidding set to close on Feb. 23. The proceeds will
go to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic and the Habitat for Humanity Musicians'
Village, two organizations close to Buffett's heart. "I was born in a
little town called Pascagoula [Miss.], which was devastated by Katrina,"
says Buffett, who has worked to focus attention on the area. "I believe New
Orleans is the cultural soul of America and needs to be saved."
This isn't the
first collaboration between Buffett and SI. Two years ago he wrote a 4,700-word
article in the Swimsuit Issue about battling tarpon on a windswept coral reef
in the Virgin Islands. Along with his whimsical fishing tale, the issue
included a CD that featured a single Buffett wrote for the issue, License to
Chill, and a video of him singing the tune. Because of the success of that
venture and his longtime friendship with SI Group editor Terry McDonell (the
two have known each other since the late 1970s), Buffett was happy to join
forces with SI again. In this issue you'll find another CD with a catchy new
Buffett song, Getting the Picture, plus an accompanying video starring (and
inspired by) some of the world's most beautiful women, fiddling with one very
donated to SI, the mahogany guitar has traveled to 14 cities in four countries
on two continents. It has docked in posh surroundings (Four Seasons Maui, The
Caves in Negril, Jamaica) and tight but memorable quarters ( Oluchi Onweagba
strummed the guitar in the same tiny room at Sun Studio in Memphis where Elvis
Presley recorded his first album in 1954).
odyssey began in late August with a circuitous journey from Buffett's home in
Sag Harbor, N.Y., to the Brazilian resort town of Itacar�, with one precarious
layover in S�o Paulo. There it was nearly confiscated by customs officers
before a quick-thinking Kaplan explained to them that it was part of an SI
Swimsuit shoot. Upon hearing that story, Buffett smiled. "I have learned
over the years that a guitar is a passport," he said. "It really allows
you to go beyond borders."