Alan Merrill, who fronted the ’70s rock band Arrows and co-wrote “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll,” has died at the age of 69 due to complications with the coronavirus.
Merrill was born in New York but his music career spanned the globe. He started out in Japan, where he was in a band called the Lead and acted in a soap opera. He released a solo album while he was there, and also fronted a glam-rock band called Vodka Collins. He moved to London and started Arrows in 1974, which also had a pop TV show in their name.
While a part of Arrows, he co-wrote the song “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” with Jake Hooker in 1975. He sang lead vocals on the original version. In 1982, it was covered by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and released as the lead single from her second studio album. Jett’s version reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 and was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.
Merrill continued making music for the rest of his life, returning to New York and recording three albums with Rick Derringer and putting out a long list of solo albums of his own. His daughter revealed his passing in a Facebook post.
Jett paid tribute to Merrill in a tweet: “I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me,” she wrote. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”
— Joan Jett (@joanjett) March 29, 2020