NEW YORK — Singer and songwriter Alan Merrill, who co-wrote Joan Jett’s signature hit “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” died of coronavirus Sunday in New York, his daughter announced on social media.
“The Coronavirus took my father this morning,” Laura Merrill wrote in a Facebook post. “I was given 2 minutes to say my goodbyes before I was rushed out.”
The woman said her 69-year-old father “seemed peaceful” and she left Mount Sinai Hospital still hoping he wouldn’t become “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,” she wrote.
The Bronx native wrote “I Love Rock N’ Roll” with bandmate Jake Hooker when they were in The Arrows in 1975. Rock star Joan Jett saw him perform the iconic song on a British TV show the following year and she ended up recording her own version, which became an instant hit that helped define an era and was the No. 1 song in the U.S. for eight weeks in 1982.
The rock anthem has since been recorded by Britney Spears and many other artists.
Jett paid tribute to Merrill in a tweet Sunday evening.
“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.”
Alan Merrill, who was also an actor and guitarist, started his musical career in Japan and had hits in both English and Japanese over the years, according to his official website.
He was also a member of Meat Loaf’s band for about four years in the late 1980s. Meat Loaf praised his old friend in an emotional tribute Sunday night.
“He was such a great human being and very talented one,” he wrote. “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.”
In her Facebook post, Laura Merrill also urged the public to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously before it’s too late.
“This is a nightmare,” she wrote. “You think ignorantly that it can’t happen to you or your family until you walk into the ICU and actually say goodbye. My heart is broken.
“Stay home if not for you … for others. For my dad. This thing is real. We probably won’t be able to mourn him properly with a funeral. I just lost the greatest love of my life and won’t be able to hug anyone because I’ve been exposed and need to self quarantine for two weeks … . alone.”
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