According to Variety, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton will be releasing a new “anti-lockdown” song next month, at precisely the moment many cities are shutting down once again to stave off a climb in COVID-19 cases, to support Morrison’s “Save Live Music” campaign. The track, titled “Stand and Deliver,” was written by the “Brown-Eyed Girl” singer and will be performed by Clapton. Morrison also previously released three “anti-lockdown” songs earlier this fall, including “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out,” and (in case you weren’t clear on the message of the musician’s most recent work) “No More Lockdown.” Proceeds from the new single, set to drop on December 4, will go to Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund to benefit musicians.
“There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Clapton said in a statement Friday. “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.”
For some, the announcement called to mind (or, sadly, introduced fans to) the extremely racist comments Clapton made during a 1976 Birmingham concert, comments that helped inspire Britain’s Rock Against Racism movement that same year. “Stop Britain from becoming a Black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out,” Clapton told the crowd, according to the Daily Beast. “Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope. Now I’m into racism.”
In 2018, the musician expressed regret for his “chauvinistic” comments at a Q&A following a London screening of Lili Zanuck’s bio-doc Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars. Said a “disgusted” Clapton, “I was so ashamed of who I was, a kind of semi-racist, which didn’t make sense. Half of my friends were Black, I dated a Black woman, and I championed Black music.” The singer blamed his past comments on addiction and a deep self-loathing. Said Clapton, “I sabotaged everything I got involved with.”