By Bryan Alexander, USA Today | Alan Merrill, who penned the anthem “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” that became an era-defining hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett, has died of complications from coronavirus at age 69.
Daughter Laura Merrill announced her father’s death on Facebook Sunday, hours after leaving his New York City hospital room.
“The Coronavirus took my father this morning,” she wrote. “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 … By the time I got in the doors to my apartment I received the news that he was gone.”
Laura Merrill wrote ruefully about joking with her father about the “cold” he had come down with 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,” she wrote. “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.”
Alan Merrill wrote “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” for his band The Arrows and recorded it in 1975. In a tribute post on Twitter Sunday night, Jett recalled hearing the song for the first time. She recorded it in 1982 and it became her biggest hit, shooting to No. 1 for eight weeks on the U.S. charts.
“I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” wrote Jett. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”
Rocker Meat Loaf mourned Merrill, who played in his band for four years, on Facebook.
“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,” wrote Meat Loaf, urging fans to play “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” loudly. “Celebrate the life of Alan Merrill. Then say a prayer for Alan and the world.”
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Laura Merrill wrote there will likely not be a funeral for her father.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll’ songwriter Alan Merrill dies of coronavirus; Joan Jett mourns
Photo: The Arrows – I Love Rock ‘n Roll | This is the cover art for the album I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll by the artist The Arrows. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, RAK Records, or the graphic artist(s).