Gainesville Music History

For those seeking to learn about the Gainesville music scene and its history, check out the resources below.

Music everywhere: the rock and roll roots of a southern town

by
Marty Jourard

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 rolling 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.

Download the e-book version here.

Gainesville Punk: A History of Bands & Music

by
Matt Walker

Known for The Fest, Less Than Jake and Hot Water Music, Gainesville became a creative hub in the 1980s and '90s for many of punk rock's greats.

Whether playing at the Hardback or wild house parties, earnest acts like Against Me!, Spoke and Roach Motel all emerged and thrived in the small northern Florida city. Radon burst onto the scene with chaotic energy while Mutley Chix helped inspire local torchbearers No Idea Records. Through this succinct history, author Matt Walker traces each successive generation's contributions and amplifies the fidelity of the Gainesville scene.

Florida soul : from Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band

by
John Capouya

When recalling the roots of soul music, most people are likely to name Memphis, Detroit, New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, or Macon. But Florida also has a rich soul music history—an important cultural legacy that has often gone unrecognized. Florida Soul celebrates great artists of the Sunshine State who produced some of the most electric, emotive soul music America has ever heard.

This book tells the story of Ray Charles’s musical upbringing in Florida, where he wrote his first songs and made his first recordings. It highlights the careers of Pensacola singers James and Bobby Purify and their producer, Papa Don Schroeder. Florida Soul reveals how Hank Ballard created his international hit song "The Twist" after seeing the dance in Tampa and profiles Gainesville singer Linda Lyndell ("What a Man"). Miami’s Overtown and Liberty City neighborhoods produced Sam Moore of the legendary duo Sam and Dave, Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall of Deep City Records, and singer Helene Smith. Miami was also the longtime headquarters of Henry Stone, whose influential company T.K. Productions put out hits by Timmy Thomas, Latimore, Betty Wright, and KC and the Sunshine Band. Stone’s artists and distribution deals influenced charts and radio airplay across the world.

Born in the era of segregation with origins in gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz and reaching maturity during the civil rights movement, soul music is still enjoyed today, still very much a part of our collective culture. John Capouya draws on extensive interviews with surviving musicians to re-create the excitement and honor the achievements of soul’s golden age, establishing Florida as one of the great soul music capitals of the United States.

Download the e-book version here.

Petty: The Biography

by
Warren Zanes

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a kid without a whole lot of promise. Rock and roll made it otherwise. From meeting Elvis, to seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, to producing Del Shannon, backing Bob Dylan, putting together a band with George Harrison, Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne, making records with Johnny Cash, and sending well more than a dozen of his own celebrated recordings high onto the charts, Tom Petty's story has all the drama of a rock and roll epic. In his last years, Petty, known for his reclusive style, shared with Warren Zanes his insights and arguments, his regrets and lasting ambitions, and the details of his life on and off the stage.

Download the e-book version here.

Tranny: confessions of punk rock's most infamous anarchist sellout

by
Laura Jane Grace

The provocative transgender advocate and lead singer of the Gainesville punk rock band Against Me! provides a searing account of her search for identity and her true self.

It began in a bedroom in Naples, Florida, when a misbehaving punk teenager named Tom Gabel, armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a headful of anarchist politics, landed on a riff. Gabel formed Against Me! and rocketed the band from its scrappy beginnings-banging on a drum kit made of pickle buckets-to a major-label powerhouse that critics have called this generation's The Clash. Since its inception in 1997, Against Me! has been one of punk's most influential modern bands, but also one of its most divisive. With every notch the four-piece climbed in their career, they gained new fans while infuriating their old ones. They suffered legal woes, a revolving door of drummers, and a horde of angry, militant punks who called them "sellouts" and tried to sabotage their shows at every turn.

But underneath the public turmoil, something much greater occupied Gabel-a secret kept for 30 years, only acknowledged in the scrawled-out pages of personal journals and hidden in lyrics. Through a troubled childhood, delinquency, and struggles with drugs, Gabel was on a punishing search for identity. Not until May of 2012 did a Rolling Stone profile finally reveal it: Gabel is transgender, and would from then on be living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace.

Listen to the audiobook here.

Check out music from Gainesville in our catalog

In addition to books about music, Alachua County Library District also has a large collection of music CDs, including many from local Gainesville artists. From artists such as Less Than Jake, Radon, and more, there's local artists from every genre in our collection.

Descriptions adapted from the publisher.
By Sofia on July 9, 2024