Alan Merrill Reveals The Money He Earned After Joan Jett Turned ‘I Love Rock And Roll’ Into A Hit

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Alan Merrill opened up about writing one of the most well-known songs of all time, ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,’ in a recently unearthed interview with Guitar Player. Apparently, the musician had no hard feelings that his own song is often mentioned with Joan Jett‘s name. In fact, he’s happy with the way that things turned out at the end as the song earned about 50 million dollars from the royalties.

‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was originally recorded and released by Arrows in 1975 with Alan Merrill on lead vocals and guitar. Merrill himself wrote both the music and lyrics but gave a co-writer credit to Hooker as part of settling a debt. The musician previously stated that he wrote the song as opposed to the Rolling Stones’ song entitled ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It).’

While they were the original creators of the monumental song, it was actually Joan Jett & the Blackhearts who brought it to popularity with their 1982 cover. Her version was released as the first single from her album of the same name and became Jett’s highest-charting hit after reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

Furthermore, the single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, which meant that two million units of Joan Jett’s cover version were shipped to stores. In addition to this, her version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.

During a recently revealed interview, Alan Merrill opened up about having a song that’s represented to the world by another artist. According to the musician, life had its own way of making things happen as he couldn’t have his life if Joan Jett never heard of his song and turn it into a global hit.

As a result of her hit version, Merrill had the life he had as the song earned about 50 million dollars to that date in worldwide royalties. While its creation happened solely thanks to Merrill himself, he got the return through somebody else’s release which wasn’t so bad at the end of the day.

About the royalties, Merrill said:

“As I’ve gotten older I’ve taken a more philosophical approach to the whole thing. Life has its own way of working things out, and I guess if things hadn’t panned out the way they did, Joan might never have heard the song, not had the hit, and I wouldn’t have the life that I’ve got now. I think the song has earned about 50 million dollars to date in worldwide royalties. Considering that the plane ticket cost Jake a thousand bucks, he got a pretty good return.”

You can listen to both versions of ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ below.