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Obituaries

Alan Merrill, ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ songwriter, dies at 69 of coronavirus

Alan Merrill, shown in 2009, died Sunday of coronavirus complications.
Alan Merrill, shown in 2009, died Sunday of coronavirus complications.
(Neil H. Kitson / Redferns/Getty Images)

Alan Merrill — who co-wrote the song “I Love Rock and Roll,” which became a signature hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett — died Sunday in New York of complications from the coronavirus, his daughter said. He was 69.

Laura Merrill said on her Facebook account that he died in the morning.

“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,” she wrote. “I walked 50 blocks home still with hope in my heart. The city that I knew was empty. I felt I was the only person here and perhaps in many ways I was. By the time I got in the doors to my apartment I received the news that he was gone.”

Instagram Live DJ sets from D-Nice have become sensations, with celebs from Michelle Obama to Drake joining tens of thousands of quarantined viewers.
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Merrill said her father was in good spirits recently. She went to a show of his about two weeks ago and had taken a photograph of him for his new album, Merrill said.

“He played down the ‘cold’ he thought he had,” she said. “I’ve made a million jokes about the ‘Rona’ and how it’ll ‘getcha’ ... boy do I feel stupid.”

Jett scored a major hit with “I Love Rock and Roll” in 1982. Alan Merrill wrote the song for his band the Arrows and recorded it in 1975.

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On her Twitter account, Jett wrote: “I’ve just learned of 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.”

Merrill was born in New York and grew up in Switzerland, Los Angeles and Japan before starting his music career in New York.

“E.T.” and “Empire of the Sun” cinematographer Allen Daviau, jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz and music producer Hal Willner have all died from COVID-19.


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