Photo: Neil H Kitson/Redferns
Singer and songwriter Alan Merrill, perhaps best known for co-writing Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ monster hit “I Love Rock ’N’ Roll,” has died at the age of 69 following a battle with COVID-19. His daughter Laura Merrill wrote about his passing this morning on Facebook.
“The Coronavirus took my father this morning,” Merrill writes. “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. I walked 50 blocks home still with hope in my heart. The city that I knew was empty. I felt I was the only person here and perhaps in many ways I was. By the time I got in the doors to my apartment I received the news that he was gone.”
Merrill, born Allan Preston Sachs, recorded the first version of “I Love Rock ’N’ Roll” with his band the Arrows in 1975, after rising to pop stardom in Japan in the late ‘60s with bands like The Lead and Vodka Collins, and through his solo Atlantic Records album Alone In Tokyo. In 1982, Joan Jett’s cover brought “I Love Rock ’N’ Roll” to the top of the Billboard Charts.
The singer remembered him on social media Sunday. “I’ve just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed,” Jett writes. “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.”
‘I Love Rock ’N’ Roll’ Writer Alan Merrill Dies of COVID-19