Record ManBook - 2018
In 1960, "Stay" reached number one on the charts. The song was impossible to get out of your head: Stay--aaah--just a little bit longer . The innocuously catchy R&B song was produced by Phil Gernhard for South Carolina doo-wop group Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. At just 19 years old and with no formal training, Gernhard was a go-getting, red-headed kid eager to break into the music business. "Stay" was just the beginning of a career that would span nearly fifty years' worth of chart-topping songs.
Phil Gernhard, Record Man is the story of a self-made music mogul who dropped out of law school to open a tiny office and studio in Florida and went on to produce hits that would rock the airwaves and resonate throughout the country. He cowrote the Royal Guardsmen's "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron," America's fastest-selling single of 1966. He revived the career of singer Dion DiMucci with the ballad "Abraham, Martin and John," which sold over a million records. He discovered and produced hit records for Lobo, Jim Stafford, and the Bellamy Brothers. Through a long collaboration with music business icon Mike Curb, he launched to fame many others, including country superstars Tim Mc-Graw and Rodney Atkins. In Nashville and Los Angeles, Phil Gernhard was a legend.
Yet Gernhard's private life was crumbling. He battled physical and emotional demons that he simply couldn't overcome, struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. He also never quite overcame the scars left by an emotionally abusive father. He was in the process of divorcing his fourth wife when he took his own life in 2008.
Through interviews with Gernhard's musicians, business partners, family members, friends, and ex-wives, Bill DeYoung offers an intimate portrait of an eccentric and troubled musical genius who channeled his talent, ego, and ambition into the success of others. A true "record man," Gernhard did it all. He lived to make records into gold, to make unknowns into stars, and above all, to make music that lasted.