ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Bill DeYoung, author of the acclaimed “Skyway: The True Story of Tampa Bay’s Signature Bridge and the Man Who Brought it Down,” will introduce his new book at a free reading and launch party Friday, March 16 at 7 p.m. at thestudio@620.
The author will read from the book and give a brief multi-media presentation. There will also be live musical surprises.
“Phil Gernhard, Record Man” is a biography of Florida’s first-ever music mogul. Gernhard, from Sarasota, was a man who did it all. As a 19-year-old college student at the University of South Carolina, he produced “Stay,” the classic doo-wop record by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, which reached No. 1 in 1960. Back at home, he was behind most of the Tampa Bay area’s great “garage rock” records of the mid ‘60s, from the Tropics to the Raven to Hoppi & the Beau Heems.
With an office in St. Pete and a studio in Tampa, Gernhard co-wrote and produced the Royal Guardsmen’s “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” (the fastest-selling record of 1966) and published “Abraham, Martin and John,” the song that revived singer Dion’s career (Gernhard also produce Dion’s Top Ten record).
He discovered, produced and promoted Winter Haven natives Lobo (“Me and You and a Dog Named Boo”), Jim Stafford (“Spiders and Snakes”), and produced “Let Your Love Flow,” the first smash hit from Pasco County’s Bellamy Brothers.
Through a long affiliation with music business icon Mike Curb, he launched to fame many others, including country superstars Tim McGraw and Rodney Atkins. In Nashville and Los Angeles, Phil Gernhard was a legend.
Books will be available for purchase.
“DeYoung hooks Phil Gernhard’s genius, discipline, and love of music right up to the side of his self-indulgent, carny, smarmy business practices. I had no idea what a huge swath of great work he’d cut, starting right in his own backyard.” – Stan Lynch, songwriter and producer
“A great rock ‘n’ roll story that’s been hiding in plain sight. It’s the last half century of American music wrapped up in the story of one man.” – William McKeen, author of Everybody Had an Ocean: Music and Mayhem in 1960s Los Angeles
“Enigma, wunderkind, control freak, visionary, raconteur, artist advocate, shameless hustler and, in the end, kind heart, Gernhard spent four and a half decades chasing recording art and blatant novelty with the same dogged determination.” – Rodney Crowell, singer/songwriter