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"Pencil Thin Mustache"
Pencil Thin Mustache.jpg
Cover of the German 7 " single
Single by Jimmy Buffett
from the album Living & Dying in ¾ Time
B-side"Brand New Country Star"
ReleasedAugust 1974
RecordedNashville, Tennessee, October 1973
StudioWoodland Sound Studio
LabelABC Dunhill
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Buffett
Producer(s)Don Gant
Jimmy Buffett singles chronology
"Come Monday"
"Pencil Thin Mustache"
"A Pirate Looks at Forty"
Audio sample

"Pencil Thin Mustache" is a song written and performed by American popular-music singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett. It was released as a single (with "Brand New Country Star") on Dunhill D-15011 in August 1974. It was first released on his album of 1974, Living and Dying in ¾ Time. It just missed the Billboard Hot 100 at number 1 on Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, and reached number 44 on the Easy Listening chart.

The song, written in a Western swing style,[1] is a nostalgic look by Buffett at the popular culture of his childhood. The title refers to the type of mustache worn by the film character, Boston Blackie.

Buffett refers to a number of other persons, characters, and products of the period, including Ricky Ricardo, Andy Devine, Sky (King)'s niece Penny, American Bandstand, Disneyland, Ramar of the Jungle, Bwana, Errol Flynn, the Sheik of Araby, and Brylcreem. The lyrics also say that in the 1950s, "only jazz musicians were smokin' marijuana".[citation needed]

Cash Box called it a "laid back honky tonker with incredible lyrics and a totally believable performance from Jimmy."[2]

Buffett has stated, "the thing about writing a song like this is that the older you get, the more people there are who need an explanation of the characters in the song. I shudder to think how old Sky King's niece Penny is today. It all started with that two-toned Ricky Ricardo jacket. I can't wait for them to come back."[3]

"Pencil Thin Mustache" is a popular song with Buffett fans, and is often played at concerts, but is not part of "The Big 8" songs that he has played at almost all of his concerts. Recorded live versions of the song appear on You Had to Be There and Buffett Live: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. Billboard described the song as "very well done and quite funny."[4]

Chart performance

Chart (1974) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[citation needed] 75
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks[citation needed] 22
US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100[citation needed] 1
US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[citation needed] 44
US Billboard Hot Country Singles[5] 58


  1. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon and Schuster. p. 117. ISBN 9780743201698. Jimmy Buffett Western swing.
  2. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. September 21, 1974. p. 21. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  3. ^ "Pencil Thin Mustache lyrics". Archived from the original on December 10, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
  4. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. September 21, 1974. p. 54. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  5. ^ "Jimmy Buffett".