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Eric Clapton joins Van Morrison’s ‘anti-lockdown’ crusade. Twitter is not amused

Eric Clapton walks onstage.
Eric Clapton onstage in 2017 at the Forum in Inglewood.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Music icons Eric Clapton and Van Morrison on Friday announced the release of an upcoming track protesting government restrictions meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, the latest in a string of Morrison-written “anti-lockdown” songs.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Clapton recorded Morrison’s song, titled “Stand and Deliver,” and it is set to be released on Dec. 4, the artists announced.

“Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations,” Morrison said in a statement via his group Save Live Music.

The idiosyncratic singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland, now 75, has faced criticism this year for emerging as a vocal critic of U.K. measures enacted to slow COVID-19 transmission. Morrison has focused on the effects on the live music industry — proceeds from the new single with Clapton are meant to support Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund.

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Yet in his crusade to keep musicians working he’s called for people to “fight the pseudo-science” in a country where more than 66,000 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19. In September, Morrison released his first three songs bemoaning the measures, prompting the health minister of Northern Ireland to call the music “dangerous.”

The most blunt so far, “No More Lockdowns,” opens with the lines: “No more lockdown / No more government overreach / No more fascist police / Disturbing our peace.” Another, “Born to be Free,” cries: “The new normal is not normal / It’s no kind of normal at all.”

In one of the singles, the BBC’s disinformation monitoring team noted an allusion to a debunked conspiracy theory related to the infectious rate of the novel coronavirus.

What’s more, the attention generated by the announcement has put the social media focus on racist statements made by Clapton at a 1976 concert expressing support for the National Front, with many on Twitter reminding the world of his call from the stage to “keep Britain white.” Clapton, who has blamed his addiction to drugs and alcohol for his behavior, has since expressed remorse for that stance: “I sabotaged everything I got involved with,” Clapton has been quoted as saying. “I was so ashamed of who I was.”


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