Florida Book Awards, Bronze Medal for Florida Nonfiction
When the Beatles launched into fame in 1963, they inspired a generation to pick up an instrument and start a band. Rock and roll took the world by storm, but one small town in particular seemed to pump out prominent musicians and popular bands at factory pace.
Many American college towns have their own story to tell when it comes to their rock and roll roots, but the story of Gainesville, Florida, is unique: dozens of resident musicians launched into national prominence, eight inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a steady stream of major acts rolled through on a regular basis. From Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Stephen Stills and the Eagles' Don Felder and Bernie Leadon, Gainesville cultivated some of the most celebrated musicians and songwriters of the time.
Marty Jourard—a member of the chart-topping band the Motels—delves into the individual stories of the musicians, businesses, and promoters that helped foster innovative, professional music and a vibrant creative atmosphere during the mid-sixties and seventies. The laid-back southern town was also host to a clash of cultures. It was home to intellectuals and rednecks, liberals and conservatives, racists and civil rights activists, farmers, businessmen, students, and hippies. Although sometimes violent and chaotic, these diverse forces brought wild rock and roll energy to the music scene and nourished it with an abundance of musical fare that included folk, gospel, soul, country, blues, and Top Forty hits. Gainesville musicians developed a sound all their own and a music scene that, decades later, is still launching musicians to the top of the charts.
Music Everywhere brings to light a key chapter in the history of American rock and roll—a time when music was a way of life and bands popped up by the dozen, some falling by the wayside but others leaving an indelible mark. Here is the story of the people, the town, and a culture that nurtured a wellspring of talent.