Paul Nelson Dead at 69

We have just learned that Paul Nelson, an influential music writer and talent scout for Mercury Records, was found dead in his New York City apartment last week. The cause of death was not reported.

Nelson is perhaps best known for his 30-year stint at Rolling Stone, but he first raised eyebrows with his spirited defense of Bob Dylan's transformation into an electrified rocker, in a 1965 article in Sing Out!. Nelson also wrote for Circus, The Village Voice, and Musician. His writing was passionate and intelligent, and he made this writer realize that writing about—and thinking about—popular music just might be a great way to make a living, even for an adult.

Nelson also discovered the New York Dolls while working A&R at Mercury Records. In 2000, he told, "I knew they were going to have to be a big success or I would lose my job—and I did."

We have no details, just a profound sense of loss. We'll let Nelson—and—have the last word.