“Stand and deliver / You let them put the fear on you / Stand and deliver / But not a word you heard was true,” Clapton sings on the bluesy track which, like its predecessors, accuses the U.K. government of stripping personal freedoms in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “But if there’s nothing you can say/There may be nothing you can do/Do you want to be a free man/Or do you want to be a slave?”
“Stand and Deliver” was originally scheduled for release on December 4th, but the track was postponed until December 18th.
Have you downloaded @EricClapton and Van Morrison's Stand And Deliver?
The two artists have joined forces to support the UK #musicindustry and help musicians who have been struggling financially.
We must act now before it's too late. @Spotify @AppleMusic @amazonmusic @Deezer pic.twitter.com/UBeWXUaIDa
— Van Morrison (@vanmorrison) December 19, 2020
Beginning in September, Morrison released a trio of anti-lockdown songs — “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown” — that drew widespread criticism including from Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann, who referred to the songs as “dangerous.”
Swann added of Morrison’s songs, “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. His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms.”
“There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Clapton previously said the collaboration. “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.”
“Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations,” Morrison added in a statement. “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.”
Proceeds from the anti-lockdown tracks support Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which helps musicians facing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus and resulting lockdown measures.