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The Meaning Behind The Song: The Great Filling Station Holdup by Jimmy Buffett

The Meaning Behind The Song: The Great Filling Station Holdup by Jimmy Buffett

Personal Connection with the Song

I have always been a fan of Jimmy Buffett and his laid-back, beachy tunes. One song that particularly stands out to me is “The Great Filling Station Holdup.” This catchy tune not only has a fun melody, but it also tells a story that resonates with me. The humorous lyrics and the catchy chorus make this song an enjoyable listen, but there is also a deeper meaning behind the words.

The Storyline

“The Great Filling Station Holdup” tells the story of a daring gas station robbery. The narrator pulls into a gas station and asks for fifty cents worth of gas. Suddenly, his partner jumps out with a pellet gun, announcing a holdup. They manage to steal fifteen dollars, a can of STP, a jar of cashew nuts, and a Japanese TV. Feeling triumphant, they believe they have pulled off the perfect heist.

However, their celebration is short-lived as the deputy sheriff walks into a nearby diner, holding their stolen TV. They are promptly arrested, roughed up, and sent to jail. The final line of the song expresses the regret and longing for a different outcome, as the lead character reflects on the two years lost due to their failed criminal endeavor.

Symbolism and Themes

While “The Great Filling Station Holdup” may seem like a light-hearted, comical song on the surface, it explores several underlying themes. Firstly, the song touches on the idea of escapism. The narrator wishes he was somewhere else, specifically in a honky tonk, sipping on a beer. This sentiment represents a desire to evade reality and seek solace in a carefree environment.

Additionally, the song delves into the consequences of impulsive actions. The narrator and his partner thought they had the perfect plan, but it quickly unraveled. They end up paying a hefty price for their foolish decision, serving time in jail and losing two precious years of their lives. This cautionary tale serves as a reminder to think before acting and consider the potential consequences.

Album and Release Information

“The Great Filling Station Holdup” was featured on Jimmy Buffett’s 1969 album titled “The Uncovered.” The album, known for its mix of country and folk genres, showcases Buffett’s storytelling abilities and clever songwriting. The song was released as a single on June 4, 1973, and has since become a fan favorite.


“The Great Filling Station Holdup” is more than just an entertaining song. It is a tale of impulsive decisions, regret, and the desire for escapism. Jimmy Buffett’s clever lyrics and catchy melody make this song both relatable and enjoyable to listen to. So next time you find yourself daydreaming of a different place or considering acting without thinking, remember the lessons hidden in this humorous tune.

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