Alan Merrill, who wrote and recorded the original version of the hit song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” passed away on Sunday in New York after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
The 69-year-old Merrill, was a huge star in Japan in the 1970s who wrote and recorded the anthem “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” in 1975 with his band The Arrows. Together with his bandmate Jake Hooker, who died in 2014, they wrote the song that became a massive hit for so many years.
In 1982, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts covered the song and the single shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and became certified platinum by the Recording Industry of America Association.
According to his family, her dad was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Saturday morning and immediately put on a ventilator because he had a fever and was experiencing severe difficulty in breathing.
His family reported he’d had a cold hor about 10 days, and had already self-quarantined at his home as a precaution.
Her daughter, Laura Merill, reported the incidents on an interview:
“He was still, you know, playing ball with his dog on his patio … and you know, kind of doing his usual stuff until he just woke up and couldn’t breathe.”
That same night, her sister sent a message to announce that his vital signs were failing and that family members could visit him for two minutes to say goodbye.
“When I got to the hospital, my stepmother was there and had been in with him and they said, his vitals were better. So we were hopeful again,”
“So I went in and comforted him and told him that his whole family loved him and rubbed his head.”
After visiting, she walked home to clear her head because she didn’t want to risk having the cab driver exposed to the virus.
When she got home she said her sister let her know that he died while being transferred to the ICU after his coronavirus test came back positive.
She said in his statement:
“It’s just been a big shock to the entire family and you know, you don’t think coronavirus is going to happen to you.”
“You hear about it, it’s something people joke about online and, and it’s just, you know, it’s real, it’s real and it’s affecting people and people are dying.”
Alan Merrill was 69 years old, which put him in a vulnerable group, but his daughter said he was healthy and had been playing gigs until about two weeks ago when New York City closed restaurants, bars and other venues.
Joan Jett posted an emotional tribute to Merrill on Twitter.
“I’ve just learned 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.”
He was also a member of Meat Loaf’s band for four years. The singer said he was saddened by the news.
“He was such a great human being and a 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.”
Merrill and her stepmother have both had to self-quarantine, so they won’t be able to have a proper funeral for him.
“We can’t even grieve together as a family.”
“This virus is devastating in so many ways.”