'I Love Rock N Roll' songwriter Alan Merrill dies aged 69 from coronavirus

30 March 2020, 12:35 | Updated: 30 March 2020, 13:20

Arrows Singer Alan Merrill in 1975
Arrows Singer Alan Merrill in 1975. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

The original singer of 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll', Alan Merrill, has died after testing positive for coronavirus.

Alan Merrill's daughter Laura shared the tragic news, saying the 69-year-old musician had been healthy enough to perform shows just a few weeks ago.

"He played down the 'cold' he thought he had," she wrote on Facebook, before warning other people not to be complacent about the virus.

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"You don't think It'll happen to you or your strong family. It has," she wrote. "Stay home if not for you, for others. For my dad. This thing is real."

'I Love Rock 'N' Roll' was a massive hit for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts in 1982, and has been covered by many artists including Britney Spears.

A parody version titlted 'I Love Sausage Rolls' was last year's Christmas number one in the UK for LadBaby.

Country singer Joe Diffie also died due to coronavirus over the weekend, while Nashville legend John Prine is also critically ill on a ventilator after being treated for Covid-19 symptoms.

Alan Merrill released two successful solo albums, hosted TV shows and appeared in soap operas in Japan in the early 1970s, before forming glam rock band The Arrows.

The group scored hits with 'A Touch Too Much' and 'My Last Night With You'. He wrote 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll' with guitarist Jake Hooker.

The song's success led to the band being given a weekly ITV series, with musical guests such as Marc Bolan, Slade and The Bay City Rollers. US singer Joan Jett then first heard the song, and decided to cover it.

Joan Jett paid tribute to Merrill, writing: "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."

Alan Merrill I am very very sad right now as I start to write this. Alan was a member of our band for 4 years. He was...

Posted by Meat Loaf on Sunday, 29 March 2020

Merrill also joined Meat Loaf's band for two albums, with the rock legend saying: "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."