JOAN JETT Mourns Death Of 'I Love Rock 'N Roll' Songwriter ALAN MERRILL

JOAN JETT Mourns Death Of 'I Love Rock 'N Roll' Songwriter ALAN MERRILL

Alan Merrill, the singer and co-writer of the original version of "I Love Rock 'N Roll", has died at the age of 69. According to his daughter Laura, he passed away of complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In 1975, Merrill recorded "I Love Rock 'N Roll" with his band the ARROWS. Seven years later, JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS' version of the track became a No. 1 single in the U.S. and remained at the top of the chart for seven weeks.

Jett issued a statement earlier today, saying: "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 a 2009 interview with Songfacts, Merrill stated about the inspiration for of "I Love Rock 'N Roll": "That [song] was a knee-jerk response to THE ROLLING STONES' 'It's Only Rock 'N' Roll'. I remember watching it on 'Top Of The Pops'. 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 'N' 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."

He elaborated on how the track came together: "You have to write a three-chord song with a lick that people remember, and it has to build. So I had the chorus, which to me sounded like a hit. And I thought, I'll do something really unusual. I'll write it that this is a song separate from the verse. So the actual chorus is something that's coming out of a jukebox, and the two kids in the disco who are flirting are hearing this song that's a hit. It felt like 'The Twilight Zone'. I was so sure 'I Love Rock 'N Roll' was gonna be a hit for the ARROWS that I thought, well, when we have a hit with it, it's gonna be a hit within a hit. A fictional hit coming out of the chorus with the kids singing it as their favorite song in the verse of the song… So when it actually became a huge hit for Joan Jett, my 'Twilight Zone' concept came true. And I don't think too many people get that about the song. They just like the melody, and it's catchy. But it was actually a pretty clever stroke, one that I'm proud of."

Photo credit: Roger Erickson

I’ve been trying to sleep but I can’t. I woke up normally yesterday with the world at my feet and now today I lay here...

Posted by Laura Merrill on Sunday, March 29, 2020


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