Van Morrison slammed as ‘dangerous’ over anti-lockdown protest songs

Singer launches campaign to save live music and hits out at ‘fascist bullies’ in government

Northern Irish blues and rock singer Van Morrison is not a fan of lockdown measures. AFP
Northern Irish blues and rock singer Van Morrison is not a fan of lockdown measures. AFP

Music icon Van Morrison has penned three anti-lockdown songs protesting against the UK’s anti-coronavirus tactics.

At the launch of what he called a campaign to save live music, Sir Van accused the government of “taking our freedoms”.

Since lockdown orders were first imposed in the UK, the star has performed some socially distanced gigs, but he insisted they were not economically viable.

His comments came as the UK considers a new ‘circuit-break’ lockdown that would restrict socialising while trying to keep most of the economy open.

No More Lockdown

No more lockdown / No more government overreach

No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace.

No more taking of our freedom / And our God given rights / Pretending it's for our safety / When it's really to enslave

But concert venues, where hundreds or thousands of people sweat together, are likely to be on the closed part of the equation.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann called the star’s new songs “dangerous”.

“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already,” Morrison said in a statement.

“It’s about freedom of choice. I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”

He has now released three songs targeting lockdown restrictions, bearing the titles ‘No More Lockdown’, ‘Born to Be Free’ and ‘As I Walked Out’.

‘No More Lockdown’ also brings in slavery.

The 75-year-old has previously said lockdown orders were “based on pseudoscience”.

"I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up," he said last month.

He said the songs, mixing jazz and blues, were recorded recently in Belfast and England.

Mr Swann suggested Sir Van pen a sing about saving lives.

"I don't know where he gets his facts. I know where the emotions are on this, but I will say that sort of messaging is dangerous.

"Our messaging is about saving lives. If Van wanted to sing a song about saving lives, then that would be more in keeping with where we are at the minute."

"If Van Morrison has counter-scientific facts that he's prepared to stand over, and have that debate with the chief scientific adviser, then I think that's how he should do it," he added.

Songwriter Sir Van, who received his knighthood for service to music and tourism in his native Northern Ireland, has played three socially-distanced gigs this month.

He has two shows scheduled for next week but the smaller capacities brought in to meet Covid-secure social distancing rules.

He added: "This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrum.”

The star's new material has also been attracting some online criticism using his previous song titles.

Updated: September 18, 2020 03:57 PM


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