Famous Alachua County Residents

Alachua County has started out as, or become, home for many prominent, creative individuals, some of which you may not know have roots in the area. We've compiled a list for you of some prominent Alachua County residents, as well as some of their works, which are available from your library!

The Meaning of Soul
Emily Lordi, featuring: Minnie Riperton

With a four-octave soprano range and a successful musical career, Minnie Riperton was a distinctive voice of the 1970s--that almost didn't make it to stardom. After her debut album failed as a commercial success, Minnie Riperton became a homemaker and mother in Gainesville, when Epic Records gave her a second chance in 1973. In the six following years prior to her death, Riperton released four more critically acclaimed albums, leaving an indelible mark on music.

For patrons interested in exploring her music, our catalog features two albums with her voice as well as the book The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience since the 1960s.

Hard Promises
Tom Petty

Probably not a surprise on this list, since even his 39th street graffiti mural credits Petty as "Gainesville's No 1 Son." Lead member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a member of the Traveling Wilburys, as well as a solo artist, Tom Petty also boasts some unique television credits, as an 8-time repeat guest of Saturday Night Live and a recurring cast member on King of the Hill.

If you want to look more into Tom Petty, we have 70 different entries related to him in our library catalog. These include musical albums, DVDs of live concert performances, and a number of books written about his life and lyrics for readers of all ages.

Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff's contemporary fiction has garnered attention from all corners of the globe. Groff's most famous work is arguably Fates and Furies, which was named as a favorite book by President Barack Obama; Alachua County Library District has it available in five different formats. Alachua County readers who have yet to fully explore Groff's bibliography will want to pick up Florida, a short story collection focusing around the lives of women in the Sunshine State.

Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout
Laura Jane Grace

A prominent punk musician as the frontwoman of two bands--Against Me! and Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers--Laura Jane Grace is a great exemplar of why the Gainesville punk rock scene is nationally known. Grace is also prominent for being one of the most visible transgender women in modern music, expanding the borders of both punk music and LGBTQ+ artistry.

Laura Jane Grace has several albums available at the library, as well as her autobiography Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout.

Bo's Blues
Bo Diddley

An inspiration to the likes of Elvis Presley and an instrumental figure in rock and roll, Bo Diddley lived out the final years of his life in Hawthorne and Archer.

Bo Diddley has a wealth of music CDs available at the library, as well as appearances on music history documentaries, and music in chord books, should you want to learn to play along to Bo Diddley's music.

My Own Private Idaho
River and Joaquin Phoenix

Famous for decades, the Phoenix brothers were raised in circumstances of turbulence, moving dozens of times in their childhoods. By the time he turned 18, however, River Phoenix was a known Hollywood star, and he offered 14-year-old brother Joaquin and the rest of the Phoenix family stability by purchasing a ranch in Micanopy.

River Phoenix's entire bibliography is available in our catalog; particularly acclaimed roles include his star turn in Stand By Me as well as My Own Private IdahoMany films featuring Joaquin Phoenix are also available, including his recent Oscar-winning turn as the Joker and his Oscar-nominated performance as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.

By CynthiaM on August 1, 2022