Nick Tosches, Music Biographer of Jerry Lee Lewis and Dean Martin, Dies at 69

ONE TIME USE ONLY - Nick Tosches — Getty — H 2019
Louis MONIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Tosches earned critical acclaim for his first biography, 'Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story,' in 1982 and later 'Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams.'

Nick Tosches, a pioneering music journalist and writer of classic biographies about Jerry Lee Lewis and Dean Martin, died Sunday in New York City. He was 69.

The cause of Tosches' death had not been determined at press time, but he had been ill, according to a report in The New York Times.

Tosches got his start as a music writer in the late 1960s alongside fellow writers Richard Meltzer and Lester Bangs. The three were labeled the "Noise Boys" and known for their "gonzo" style of journalism.

Tosches wrote for music publications like Rolling Stone and Creem in the late 1970s and early '80s. He went on to earn critical acclaim for his first biography, Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story, in 1982. Ten years later, he published the classic Martin biography Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams.

He became a contributing editor at Vanity Fair in 1996. Tosches was also a novelist, penning fictional works like Cut Numbers (1988), In the Hand of Dante (2002) and Me and the Devil (2012).

Tosches was married for a brief time in 1972, according to the Times. Information about his survivors were not available at press time.

This story first appeared on