Morrison recently shared three anti-lockdown protest songs, in which he accused the government of being “fascist bullies”. ‘No More Lockdown’, ‘Born to Be Free’ and ‘As I Walked Out’ were written in opposition to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.
Now, he and Clapton have shared ‘Stand and Deliver’, a track written by Morrison and performed by Clapton that continues Morrison’s protests against lockdown. All proceeds from the song will go to Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which helps musicians facing financial insecurity as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
“Do you wanna be a free man/Or do you wanna be a slave?” Clapton sings during the track.
Announcing the song, Clapton said: “It is deeply upsetting to see how few gigs are going ahead because of the lockdown restrictions. There are many of us who support Van and his endeavours to save live music, he is an inspiration!
“We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
Morrison added: “Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations. It is heart-breaking to see so many talented musicians lack any meaningful support from the government, but we want to reassure them that we are working hard every day to lobby for the return of live music, and to save our industry.”
Morrison’s recent comments about lockdown attracted criticism from Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann, saying the country “expected better from him”.
“Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions,” Swann said. “He is singing about ‘fascist bullies’ and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to ‘enslave’. It’s actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale.”
Morrison also recently criticised the “pseudo-science” of socially distanced gigs. “This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs,” he said of his recent run of socially distanced gigs. “This is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.”