Iron Maiden founder and leader Steve Harris and original and current Maiden member Dave Murray are to enter a High Court battle over allegedly stolen lyrics and music to ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and ‘The Nomad’. Court documents were made public within the last few hours that confirm this.
Brian Quinn, aka Ingham
A legal process is currently in motion which will lead to a trial date being set which is likely to be sometime in 2018.
The court writ alleges that classic Maiden track ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ contains verses of lyrics written by Brian Quinn in 1969 which originally appeared on a song called ‘Life’s Shadow’ which was recorded by Newcastle band Beckett.
It is also alleged that the instrumental part of ‘Life’s Shadow’ was used on Maiden’s song ‘The Nomad’ which appeared on their 2000 album ‘Brave New World’.
This is the song at the centre of the dispute, ‘Life’s Shadow’ by Beckett, track four from the band’s 1974 self-titled sole album.
This case first came to light over the Bank Holiday weekend six days ago via an inaccurate report by poor quality British tabloid The Sun but now that the court papers are in the public domain, the facts are readily available.
Maiden’s Steve and Dave are being sued by former Lindisfarne manager Barry McKay, who told us that he has spent over forty years “standing up for musicians who have been cheated by the industry”.
‘Life’s Shadow’ was co-written by Bob Barton and Brian Quinn, who used the stage name Ingham at the time. Barton has already received settlement in a ‘secret’ deal with Maiden some years ago, as revealed in the aforementioned court papers. Quinn elaborates on this below.
Steve Harris is on the record as having been a fan of Beckett, whose 1970s agent was Rod Smallwood.
The legal papers and Particulars of Claim released by the Chancery Division of the High Court in London names four defendants, Maiden’s Steve and Dave along with Robert Barton and publishing company Imagem London Ltd and states that said defendants are being sued for “unspecified damages over £200,000 for alleged copyright breaches”.
Brian Quinn said:
“I was lying in my bed and it surprised the hell out of me, to suddenly hear from an old pal after so many years and then to be told the news that my music and lyrics had helped make Iron Maiden so successful.
“I was not an Iron Maiden fan so I had never heard their music I had no idea that half of the lyrics of a song I wrote as a teenager had been used by a Heavy Metal band.
“I have written so many songs in my lifetime because I love music, but only one of them had ever been recorded – at least that’s what I thought, for the Beckett album.
“I wrote ‘Lying in My Shadow’ (which later became ‘Life’s Shadow’) during a trip to Sweden in 1969. It was to form part of a series of songs about the last surviving dragon and the last dragon slayer. I wrote the lyrics on the back of an airmail letter from my mother. There are only three chords in the original. It’s a very dark guitar sound with a simple melody.
“I was on a ferry for thirteen hours with nothing to do and started to think about my father’s death when I was eight years old.
“I don’t think I was able to grieve for him at the time and memory of my father seemed to infuse the words and music.
“In the early 1970s, back in Newcastle, I played ‘Lying In My Shadow’ to my then very good friend Bob Barton. He loved it right off.
“At the time I was working upstairs as an apprentice watchmaker and he was working on the retail section on the ground floor as a salesman at the same store, Summerfields Jewelers in Northumberland Street, Newcastle. We had become friends through our love of music.
“A couple of years later Bob Barton called and said he was in a band called Beckett. He said he wanted to record my song, but he would make some changes. I said OK, just make sure I’m credited.
“Back then song-writers were not always credited for their work, so I was keen to ensure that didn’t happen to me.
“I’m not exactly sure how it ended up with Iron Maiden, but I’m sure it will all come out in the court case. I’m told that a teenage Steve Harris had been a big fan of Beckett’s and apparently often went to see them play at their London gigs. Also, Beckett’s agent at the time was Rod Smallwood, who went on to make his fortune managing Iron Maiden and he still does.
“What I will say is that sometimes people copy songs hoping that no one will notice.
“The thing about this song is that it stands out. That must be why my lyrics were used for the most popular Iron Maiden song with their fans.
“The thing is that I’m not a fan of Iron Maiden and I had never heard any of their music.
“I listened to Iron Maiden for the first time, only after I learned of the copyright infringement five or so years ago.
“I’ve listened to ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ several times now and two verses of lyrics are clearly my work. No two ways about it. Yet I’ve never made a penny from it.
“I learned only a few months ago that my so-called friend Bob Barton, on discovering from fan websites that Iron Maiden had used my composition and lyrics, had dishonestly registered ‘Life’s Shadow’ with the Performing Right Society back in 2011 with a 75/25 split in his favour despite the bulk of it, around 90%, being my sole efforts and his additional lyrics not benefitting the song in any way.
“The version of ‘Life’s Shadow’ recorded by Beckett was still made up of all of my music and 80% of my original lyrics, including all of those lyrics taken and recorded by Iron Maiden. I would not have so minded if Barton had made it a 50/50 split as I’m not a greedy person and he did introduce my song to Beckett.
“But Bob Barton has told the PRS. and no doubt others involved, that he had written all of the lyrics when he only added the last three lines to my song before recording my song with Beckett in 1973, probably so as to get himself part of the publishing. And falsely claiming to PRS that he composed half of the music was probably because Iron Maiden also used my music for ‘The Nomad’ on a 2000 album. The half of my music he now so generously attributes to me is of course the half that Iron Maiden did not use for ‘The Nomad’. He has clearly secretly settled his threatened lawsuit against Steve Harris and Dave Murray claiming that all of the music and lyrics they stole from ‘Life’s Shadow’ were written and composed by him, while in fact none of it was Barton’s.
“Both Bob Barton and his Newcastle lawyers telephoned me and emailed me a few years ago trying to get me to give up my rights and I of course refused. Then they wanted me to join with them in bringing a claim against two members of Iron Maiden but I did not want to get involved with them as I didn’t trust them.
“I’ve heard nothing from either of them since. Now I hear that Barton has settled the entire ‘Life’s Shadow’ claim with Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris and Dave Murray for an undisclosed sum. He did this without notifying me and I did not know about this until very recently.
“I feel cheated, both by Bob Barton and by Steve Harris and Dave Murray. I’ve never received a penny from anyone. I wonder how much Barton has been paid or if he or his lawyers ever revealed my real name or where to find me to Steve Harris’ lawyers as they both certainly had my email, my telephone number and my then address.
“How could Steve Harris think he could settle this copyright claim with just one of the two writers credited on the Beckett album for ‘Life’s Shadow’?
“Barton has falsely claimed authorship of all of my lyrics as copied by Steve Harris for ‘Hallowed Be My Name’ and Barton has falsely claimed he composed my music which was copied by Steve Harris and Dave Murray for ‘The Nomad’, another Iron Maiden song which I’ve never made a penny from either.
“It’s not just about the money because I realised a long time ago that I would never be a wealthy man. I was a single dad for a long time and brought up my two children.
“Music was something I did at weekends, singing in bars and clubs. I’ve continued writing songs but never got the opportunity to go professional.
“To be honest, I suffered from anxiety and depression in my younger years, which is one of the reasons I left Britain in my early twenties.
“I’m now retired and I live in a mobile home, which I drive to Palm Springs in the winter months. I have no regrets about the way I’ve lived my life, but the number one thing for me now is for my grandson to know that I composed music and lyrics that have been so popular and to be proud of me.”
Barry McKay said:
“What Steve Harris of Iron Maiden has done, in stealing half of the lyrics from ‘Life’s Shadow’ to use in his most successful song, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, and passing these lyrics off as his own work has not only deprived the actual writers of a credit and a fair share of the income from the circa twenty million total record sales and public performances but has also deceived the Iron Maiden fans.
“This case may well create a precedent for the music publishing industry because unusually for a copyright infringement action, this claim goes back to 1982. The claim is estimated to be valued at between £2m and £3m. I am always on the side of musicians who have been unfairly treated and that has been the case since 1975.
“Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood was Beckett’s agent back in 1973 when a teenage Steve Harris used to be a fan and attend Beckett gigs in London and watch Beckett perform ‘Life’s Shadow’.
“‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ isn’t just an Iron Maiden song. It’s the song that has defined the band and put them on the map in 1982. It’s the band’s favourite song and their fans’ favourite song. ‘Hallowed…’ is heavily influenced by ‘Life’s Shadow’ but in particular one important entire verse and the entire chorus from ‘Life’s Shadow’ has been lifted word for word (along with a line from another Beckett song) by Steve Harris.
“Brian Quinn was first cheated by Robert Barton who made himself a co-writer a year or so after first hearing Brian Quinn’s original song by changing a few words and adding three irrelevant lines of lyrics to the previously completed song.
“Harris and Murray secretly settled with Barton at some point since 2011 without reference to Brian Quinn and then kept that arrangement very quiet. Brian Quinn knew nothing about that secret deal until very recently.”
The other Beckett song mentioned above is ‘Rainbow’s Gold’, covered by Maiden as the b-side to ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’ in 1984. The third line of ‘Rainbow’s Gold’ is: “Catch your soul, he’s willing to fly away”.
A statement by Iron Maiden publicist Alan Edwards says:
“Iron Maiden management are aware of the claim made against Steve Harris and Dave Murray, by Barry McKay and Brian Quinn.
“The dispute concerns the song ‘Life’s Shadow’, a song originally written in the early 1970s, credited to Robert Barton and Brian Ingham, and recorded by the band Beckett. Steve Harris was a fan of Beckett and some six lines from ‘Life’s Shadow’ were referenced in Steve’s song ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, which was recorded by Iron Maiden and appeared on the album ‘The Number Of The Beast’ which was released in 1982.
“As far as Steve is concerned, this matter was settled some years ago by agreement with Robert Barton, but it turns out there is a dispute between the two original writers as to their respective shares in ‘Life’s Shadow’.
“Mr Barton maintains he was the writer of the lyrics of ‘Life’s Shadow’ and said: ‘I wrote the lyrics of ‘Life’s Shadow’ and am happy with how Iron Maiden have, and are, dealing with this matter’.
“Iron Maiden management will consider carefully any evidence presented by Mr Quinn and Mr McKay.”
A part of this statement has been deleted for legal reasons.
Maiden’s ‘The Book Of Souls’ world tour resumed last Saturday in Antwerp, Belgium and the band pulled a big surprise by not including ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ in the setlist.
Iron Maiden Book Of Souls remaining European tour dates:
May 6th: Dublin 3arena, Ireland
May 8th: Manchester Arena, UK
May 10th: Sheffield Arena, UK
May 11th: Leeds First Direct Arena, UK
May 14th: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, UK
May 16th: Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena, UK
May 17th: Aberdeen AECC GE Oil & Gas Arena, UK
May 20th: Liverpool Echo Arena, UK
May 21st: Birmingham Barclaycard Arena, UK
May 24th: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, UK
May 27th: London O2 Arena, UK
May 28th: London O2 Arena, UK