The song "I Love Rock & Roll" rolls on as the biggest hit for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Originally released by them in 1982, it's a mainstay that usually closes out Joan Jett's shows and shows up on your radio and digital playlists with reckless abandon. Catchy and fun, the song is fully associated with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts but many don't realize the song was actually a cover.
"I Love Rock & Roll" was originally penned by Alan Merrill, a singer born in New York City in 1951 who made it big in Japan both in music and on Japanese soap operas before heading to London to form The Arrows in 1974. A bit glam rock, a bit Bay City Rollers-esque, The Arrows' 1974 song "Touch Too Much" was a big hit in Britain, South Africa, and some other countries; they even had their own show called Arrows on a regional British TV network from 1975 until their breakup in 1977 where they performed a number of their own songs as well as covers. "I Love Rock & Roll" was written by Merrill and Arrows' guitarist Jake Hooker; it originally was served up as a "b-side" (you remember what that is, right kids?) to another song but eventually - with a new pressing as an "a-side" - got released as a single and became a minor hit on its own, though not in the U.S.
Merrill once said in an interview he wrote "I Love Rock & Roll" as "kind of a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock & Roll (But I Like It)." Merrill passed away this weekend at age 69, reportedly due to complications from coronavirus. Let's remember him by watching him and The Arrows perform his classic, from back around 1975 on British television: