Alan Merrill, Songwriter of Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ Dead at 69 Due to Coronavirus
Alan Merrill, co-writer on the hit song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," which was originally by his group Arrows and popularized later when covered by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, has passed away at the age of 69 due to complications from the coronavirus.
In a remembrance message, Joan Jett shared a photo of a young Merrill and wrote, "I’ve just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed. My thoughts and love go to his family, friends and music community as a whole. I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me. With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side."
Merrill's daughter Laura expressed her grief on Facebook, recollecting her final moments with her father while urging others to please take the threat of the coronavirus seriously. At press time, coronavirus has claimed nearly 35,000 lives worldwide (per Johns Hopkins University).
"The coronavirus took my father this morning," Laura wrote, in part, adding, "I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out. He seemed peaceful and as I left there was still a glimmer of hope that he wouldn’t be a ticker on the right hand side of the CNN/Fox news screen."
Stunned, she described recent memories of shooting his photograph for his next album and texting with him as he played down what he believed to be a cold.
The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was born in the Bronx in New York in 1951 and experienced a taste of success in Japan with one hit single with The Lead before the group dissolved. He later released a solo record in Japan, netting one more hit before landing acting gigs in the country and even transitioned into modeling before getting another band started.
It was in 1974 when he formed Arrows in London. While the group had its share of hit singles, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" wasn't so much of a feature song. It was performed once on television and resulted in Arrows securing a weekly television series. Unfortunately, they did not release any music during the time the Arrows TV program was airing and they ultimately disbanded.
In 1982, Joan Jett elected to cover the Arrows tune, which was a massive hit and was certified platinum by the RIAA in that same year.
Our thoughts go out to the Merrill family at this time.
For a list of best practices for staying safe and keeping others safe from the coronavirus pandemic, visit the World Health Organization's website.
Arrows, "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (Original Recording - 1975)
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