‘I Love Rock 'N' Roll’ writer Alan Merrill dies of coronavirus

Alan Merrill in 2013
(Image credit: Vanwalker / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0))

Alan Merrill, who wrote the classic I Love Rock 'N' Roll, has died of coronavirus. He was 69.  

The news was confirmed by Merrill's daughter Laura. She wrote on Facebook, "The coronavirus took my father this morning. I was given two 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."

"How could this be? I was just at his show a couple of weeks ago. I had just photographed his portrait for his new album. Texted with him earlier.

"He played down the 'cold' he thought he had. I’ve made a million jokes about the 'Rona' and how it’ll 'getcha'... boy, do I feel stupid."

"If anything can come of this I beg of you to take this seriously. Money doesn’t matter. People are dying. You don’t think It’ll happen to you or your strong family. It has."

Merrill was born in New York but formed The Arrows, with drummer Paul Varley and guitarist Jake Hooker, in 1974 in London. Signed to RAK Records, they released two singles written by the classic Chin/Chapman songwriting team before composing I Love Rock 'N' Roll in 1975. It failed to chart, but was a huge hit for Joan Jett in 1982, and the third-best selling single of the year.

"I've just learned of the awful news that Alan Merrill has passed," wrote Jett. "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."

Meat Loaf wrote, "I am very very sad right now as I start to write this. Alan was a member of our band for four years. He was such a great human being and very talented one. He passed away yesterday from the coronavirus. I am really sad. I have not kept in touch with Alan and that makes me feel even worse. Let this be a lesson to all of us, try to stay in touch with the people you really love and care about. Life is very short. Alan I am sorry that I didn't reach out to you years ago. I love you very much."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.