NONFICTION

Phil Gernhard, Record Man

Univ. Pr. of Florida. Mar. 2018. 189p. photos. discog. notes. ISBN 9780813056777. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780813063423. MUSIC
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Music journalist DeYoung (Skyway) details Phil Gernhard's (1941–2008) knack for finding hits. At 19, he produced his first No. 1 hit, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs' "Stay," in 1960. Later, Gernhard released the novelty chart-topping "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" by the Royal Guardsmen and revived the career of doo-wop singer Dion DiMucci. In the 1970s, he scored big with Lobo's "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" and the Bellamy Brothers' "Let Your Love Flow." Gernhard could also be a ruthless businessman, whose star acts later claimed they'd been cheated out of money that was rightfully theirs. However, years of drug and alcohol abuse caught up with Gernhard, and he spent the remainder of his career as an A&R man for Curb Records, producing albums by country stars Tim McGraw and Rodney Adkins. Ultimately, Gernhard's narrative is a sad one, filled with familial estrangement, multiple divorces, and reclusiveness.
VERDICT A testament to longevity in a notoriously tenuous profession where fame is often fleeting, Gernhard was not a legend. DeYoung's page-turner will convince readers he should be.

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