Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Hellfire

by Nick Tosches

“The best rock ‘n’ roll biography ever written. . . . There is a novelistic intensity to this story of tragedy, triumph and love. Its portrayal of a society alien to mainstream America is riveting.” –Newsday

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date May 22, 1998
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3566-7
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

“Nick Tosches’s Hellfire is the finest book ever written about a rock ‘n’ roll performer—nothing else comes close. But that is hardly all it is. Sooner or later, Hellfire will be recognized as an American classic.”—Greil Marcus, from the Foreword

The dramatic and tormented life of Jerry Lee Lewis is the most fabled in rock ‘n’ roll history. Hellfire is a wild, riveting, and beautifully written biography that received universal acclaim on its original publication and remains one of the most remarkable biographies ever written.

Born in Louisiana to a family legacy of great courage and greater madness, Jerry Lee was torn throughout his life between a harsh Pentecostal God and the Devil of alcohol, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. He began performing publicly at fourteen, and at twenty-one he recorded “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” which propelled him to stardom. Almost immediately, news of his marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin all but destroyed his career. Over the next twenty years, Jerry Lee, ever indomitable and ever wild, would rise again as a country star, and then lose it all again to his own inner demons. Hellfire is a brilliant, audacious journey into the soul of a rock ‘n’ roll legend, and into the soul of rock ‘n’ roll itself.

Praise

“The best rock ‘n’ roll biography ever written. . . . There is a novelistic intensity to this story of tragedy, triumph and love. Its portrayal of a society alien to mainstream America is riveting.” –Newsday

“Quite simply the best rock and roll biography ever written.” –Rolling Stone

“Tosches’s book is a work of art.” –The Boston Globe

“The book is undeniably a feat–turning a sordid, tormented life into a rousing piece of poetic expressionism.” –Esquire

Hellfire sets a new standard.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Fascinating.” –The New York Times Book Review

“The finest rock-star bio ever.” –The Village Voice

“Superb.” –The New Yorker

“Brilliant . . . the best account we have of how the first rock and rollers were torn between salvation and the Devil’s music.” –The New Statesman

“To call Hellfire the best book written about a rock ‘n’ roller is to miss the point. . . .Hellfire is a rock ‘n’ roll event.” –The Boston Phoenix

“A definitive rock biography.” –Time

“Probably the best, certainly the most readable, account of a rock performer’s life.” –The Guardian

“Disturbing and important.” –The Toronto Sun

“Tosches works wonders.” –The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner

“A testament to the power of Tosches’s writing.” –The Arizona Republic

“Terrific.” –The Washington Post

“A tale scary with horror and heights, made even more compelling for the knowledge that it’s true.” –The Memphis Commercial Appeal

“Audacious.” –The Dallas Morning News

“Hellfire’s extravagantly descriptive opening chapter is worthy of any great American novel”Tosches’s extravagant and evocative biography is a superbly told story that makes sense of the wildest, most messed-up survivor in the history of rock ‘n’ roll”. A killer of a book.” –Sean O’Hagan, The Observer (UK)

“A motherfucker.” –Jim Dickinson

“A great book.” –Barry Hannah