Musician Van Morrison, best known for songs like "Brown Eyed Girl", "Domino" and "Wild Night", and for seminal albums "Moondance" and "Astral Weeks", is set to release three songs protesting the United Kingdom lockdown.
Sir Van said his new songs would be released at two-week intervals with the first, Born To Be Free, arriving on 25 September. In them, Morrison makes it clear the he is deeply unhappy with the way the government has taken away personal freedoms.
The tunes, which include titles such as "No More Lockdown" and "Born to be Free", were recorded in both Belfast and England and, the BBC reports, channel jazz, blues, R&B in a sound that will be familiar to fans of the singer. "No more closures / No government overaccess / No fascist harassment / No hindering our peace / Freedom / God-given rights / Pretend for safety / When you really become a slave". "It's about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves", he said.
On Thursday official figures showed 41,705 people have died in the United Kingdom after testing positive for coronavirus, although separate figures published by the statistics agencies show 57,500 cases where Covid-19 was mentioned on a death certificate.
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"I don't know where he gets his facts", Swann said.
Last month, Morrison called on people to denounce the supposed "pseudoscience" around coronavirus and "speak up", while also asking them to help save live music.
"No More Lockdown" is possibly the most blunt of the lot.
Northern Ireland's health minister Robin Swann has described the new songs as "dangerous". I understand where the feelings are about this, however I shall say that kind of messaging is harmful.
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He said: "I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this".
The song became a symbol of hope for some people enduring the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ironically, Van Morrison's single "Days Like This" went viral at the height of lockdown after Dermot Kennedy performed the song on Ireland's Late Late Show. "Come ahead, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and talk", he explained. "Come forward. It's not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs".
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