'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies after coronavirus diagnosis

Alan Merrill

Rocker Alan Merrill, who wrote and recorded the original version of the hit song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," died on Sunday in New York after being...

Posted: Mar 30, 2020 12:57 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2020 1:47 PM

Rocker Alan Merrill, who wrote and recorded the original version of the hit song "I Love Rock 'n' Roll," died on Sunday in New York after being diagnosed with coronavirus, his daughter told CNN.

Merrill, 69, was a big star in Japan in the 1970s and wrote and recorded the anthem "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" in 1975 with his band The Arrows. He wrote the song with bandmate Jake Hooker, who died in 2014.

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts covered the song in 1982 and the single shot to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry of America Association.

Laura Merrill told CNN that 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 struggling to breathe.

He'd had a cold for about 10 days and had self-quarantined at his home as a precaution.

"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," she said.

That night, her sister texted to say 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," she said. "So I went in and comforted him and told him that his whole family loved him and rubbed his head."

After the visit she walked home to clear her head and because she didn't want to risk exposing a cab driver 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.

"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," she said. "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, 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.

He had just finished a new album that was scheduled for release in April and she was finishing the photos for the cover art.

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," she wrote. "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 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," he wrote on Facebook.

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," she said. "This virus is devastating in so many ways.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97049

Reported Deaths: 2919
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7148160
DeSoto562361
Harrison388374
Jackson352170
Madison331289
Rankin330879
Lee274870
Forrest250075
Jones249879
Washington225977
Lafayette219340
Lauderdale2064125
Bolivar184766
Oktibbeha180152
Lamar172435
Neshoba1580104
Lowndes157958
Panola150731
Sunflower147346
Leflore141381
Warren140950
Pontotoc127916
Pike124051
Monroe123669
Copiah119233
Scott117627
Coahoma116229
Marshall111117
Lincoln110453
Holmes109859
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104746
Tate100638
Union99824
Leake96138
Adams94237
Wayne90521
Pearl River89453
Marion86835
Prentiss86317
Itawamba83121
Covington82723
Alcorn82311
George78213
Tallahatchie77421
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69138
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67217
Attala67025
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59618
Hancock58822
Jasper57715
Noxubee55116
Smith53615
Calhoun52212
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43614
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38717
Humphreys37815
Quitman3775
Stone37512
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll32012
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2283
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Columbus
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 61°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather