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Alan Merrill, "I Love Rock and Roll" songwriter, dies of coronavirus complications

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Alan Merrill - who co-wrote the song "I Love Rock and Roll" that 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 Sunday 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."

As thick as thieves daddy. You were more than a father...you were one of my best friends. We spoke EVERYDAY. We’ve...

Posted by Laura Merrill on Monday, March 30, 2020

Merrill, who posted images of her with her father early Monday, 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.

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."

In an interview with Songfacts, Merrill said that "I Love Rock and Roll" was "a knee-jerk response" to "It's Only Rock 'N' Roll" by the Rolling Stones.

"I remember watching it on Top of the Pops," Merrill said. "I'd met Mick Jagger socially a few times, and I knew he was hanging around with Prince Rupert Lowenstein and people like that - jet setters. I almost felt like "It's Only Rock and Roll" was an apology to those jet-set princes and princesses that he was hanging around with - the aristocracy, you know. That was my interpretation as a young man: Okay, I love rock and roll."

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

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