He recorded two solo albums in Japan: “Alone in Tokyo” (1971), in Japanese, which yielded one other hit, “Namida” (“Teardrops”), and “Merrill 1” (1972), in English. On the similar time, he performed with the favored glam-rock group Vodka Collins, and acted in a tv cleaning soap opera, “Jikan Desuyo.”
However by 1974 — after a disagreement along with his expertise supervisor, he mentioned — Mr. Merrill left for London, the place he helped begin a brand new glam-pop band, the Arrows; he was its singer and bassist. The group had a High 10 hit in Britain in 1974 with “Contact Too A lot.” A single the following yr, “Damaged Down Coronary heart,” was unsuccessful, however its B-side, “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” written by Mr. Merrill and Jake Hooker, the guitarist for the Arrows, would turn out to be a basic.
The track caught the ear of Ms. Jett, who recorded it for the primary album together with her band the Blackhearts, releasing it in 1981. It held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart for seven weeks the next yr, and — with a couple of tweaks to position the track from a girl’s perspective — launched Ms. Jett’s profession as a tough-talking rock star.
“I can nonetheless bear in mind watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the track that screamed hit to me,” Ms. Jett recalled in a Facebook post on Sunday.
In a 2009 interview with the web site Songfacts, Mr. Merrill described “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll” as a “knee-jerk response” to the 1974 Rolling Stones track “It’s Solely Rock ’n Roll (However I Like It),” and to Mick Jagger’s elite social circle.
“I virtually felt like ‘It’s Solely Rock ’n’ Roll’ was an apology to these jet-set princes and princesses that he was hanging round with — the aristocracy, you already know,” Mr. Merrill mentioned. “That was my interpretation as a younger man: OK, I really like rock ’n’ roll.”