Read a Lengthy Statement from the Dude Who’s Suing Iron Maiden Over “Hallowed Be Thy Name”
Yesteday, we learned that Iron Maiden have been forced to drop “Hallowed Be Thy Name” from their setlist, at least for the time being. Not a huge deal, given how many classic songs the band has written over the years, but kind of a huge deal, given that according to setlist.fm, it’s the group’s third-most performed song.
So why is the song suddenly unplayable? Because a new lawsuit alleges that parts of it were lifted from “Life’s Shadow,” a track by the band Beckett. In fact, a statement from Maiden’s management admits that “some six lines from ‘Life’s Shadow’ were referenced” in the Maiden song, and reveals that bassist Steve Harris previously entered into some kind of legal/financial agreement with one of the writers of “Life’s Shadow,” Robert Barton. The statement asserted that “As far as Steve is concerned, this matter was settled some years ago” by this agreement. This new suit, however, was brought by the song’s other writer, Brian Quinn, and his manager, Barry McKay.
Last night, McKay e-mailed MetalSucks a lengthy statement on the matter, as well as “a photo of Brian Quinn in his motor home taken last month in Palm Springs where he wintered.” We’re going to run the statement in full, as well the photo, below…
…but first, I’d like to express some reservations about McKay’s statement. It is not competently written. Which is not the biggest crime in the world. But parts of it also come across as fishy and/or, well, a little nutty.
For example, McKay posits that “If Steve Harris was to collaborate in future with Brian Quinn, they might yet go out on another platinum album.” But no one has ever heard of Brian Quinn (Google him; hell, Google his alias, Brian Ingham, as well), and Maiden haven’t had a platinum record in the U.S. or the U.K. since Somewhere in Time in 1986 and Piece of Mind in 1983, respectively (in fact, few of their releases have certified platinum in any country, save for good ol’ Finland). Does McKay seriously expect us to think that the secret to Maiden’s scoring their first platinum-certified album in thirty-plus-years is to collaborate with some random guy? And even if that were the case, doesn’t it seem like Maiden are doing just fine on their own?
McKay also calls Harris “greedy,” which is only true if Harris a) really owes Quinn money and b) knows he owes Quinn money. It’s entirely possible that Quinn’s actual beef should be with Robert Barton, the guy who signed an agreement with Harris years ago but apparently never thought to take care of his songwriting partner.
Additionally, McKay spends a lot of time talking about himself for a guy who’s supposed to be fighting on someone else’s behalf. Statements like this one…
“It is ironic that I am almost always on the side of musicians against big business but in this case I am on the side of a totally honest musician against other musicians.”
…are self-aggrandizing and completely beside the point. For one thing, it’s never a great look to pat yourself on the back. For another thing, no one cares if McKay is a champion to working class musicians — they only care about whether or not this gets sorted out so Maiden can play “Hallowed” live again.
And finally, I just have to question the logic of even releasing a statement such as this. Y’know how in interviews, whenever someone asks about a pending lawsuit, artists always say “My lawyers have told me I can’t talk about that right now”? So was it really advisable to release a novella like this one?
You, of course, are free to disagree with me. Read McKay’s statement below — completely unedited by us — and see what you think:
A RESPONSE FROM BARRY McKAY
It’s such a shame that Brian Quinn and Steve Harris couldn’t just meet. They are both fantastic musicians and really into their music. Steve is on record as saying he’s happy to write with anyone. Brian Quinn’s Life’s Shadow is one of four songs he wrote around a similar theme and they are all terrific. If Steve Harris was to collaborate in future with Brian Quinn, they might yet go out on another platinum album.”
Brian’s music written when he was a teenager inspired a teenage Steve Harris at the start of his career. Brian could do it again with Steve and he’s such a great guy. It upsets me when music business people get in the way of the music. There’s no way I will be the one to get in the way, which is why Steve and Dave should over-rule their management if their management are advising them to go to trial against me. I will fight for Brian Quinn if have to but I would much rather see Steve and Brian meet and shake hands after acknowledging each other’s contributions to two great Iron Maiden heavy metal epics. It is ironic that I am almost always on the side of musicians against big business but in this case I am on the side of a totally honest musician against other musicians and I don’t like to be in this position. Perhaps Iron Maiden’s manager, Rod Smallwood is used to being just a little too heavy. That does not work with me.
I don’t want to stop fans hearing their favourite Maiden song, written by Steve Harris and Brian Quinn, and in any event, new 12″ LP’s, CD’s, DVD’s, video games, downloads and streaming all containing ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ are all still available worldwide. And this coming week Parlaphone release the vinyl version of Brave New World which includes The Nomad. This will all have to be be straightened out in court, if not before.”
I really don’t know what is going on with Steve Harris, or is it that he is being poorly advised by his management? Surely Steve Harris is not so greedy that he would rather deprive his fans of enjoying seeing Iron Maiden perform their best and most popular song than pay the actual co-writer of that song his entitlement to publishing from a performance of a joint copyright?
Do Phantom Management prefer to deprive Brian Quinn from earning a few hundred pounds per live arena performance of ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ rather than have Iron Maiden perform the song he co-wrote on the rest of their tour? I don’t know. Why not ask Phantom Management? Rod Smallwood always has a lot to say. Now it’s my turn and I speak for the man who actually wrote one of Steve’s favourite songs, Life’s Shadow. Brian Quinn has never earned a penny from writing ‘Life’s Shadow’, the song that clearly inspired Steve Harris to write ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ and earn a fortune in the process. Brian’s lyrics and music were taken and used by Steve Harris and Dave Murray without Brian being even credited. Brian Quinn lives in a mobile home in Canada while the profits from Brian’s work would have helped Dave and Steve pay for their wonderful lifestyle and for their various homes including those in the Bahamas and Hawaii.”
Often the public performance societies, i.e. the PRS, will allow compositions to be performed while there is a dispute, but they will freeze the royalty payments until the dispute is determined or settled. There was no need for Iron Maiden to withdraw Hallowed Be Thy Name from their set.
But if they wish to do the right thing, they are welcome to contact either myself or my lawyers and reach a simple agreement to happily perform ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ during the rest of their 2017 World Tour. After all, Steve Harris’ Iron Maiden have been performing ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ without crediting Brian Quinn or Bob Barton as co-writers for thirty-five years. Why disappoint the fans? I don’t want to.
This can and should be resolved. Or is Steve Harris’s management that stubborn and upset at the secret deal with Robert Barton a few years ago now being exposed, that they are willing to disappoint fans just weeks after Iron Maiden fans again voted ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ Iron Maiden’s all-time best song?
They know where to contact me and where to contact my lawyers and an arrangement, on a without prejudice basis, could easily be reached between Steve Harris and I so as not to disappoint the fans.
‘Life’s Shadow’ was written and completed, both the music and lyrics, by Brian Quinn and later Robert Barton made some irrelevant changes to it some three years later and also changed the title from ‘Lying In My Shadow’. They are both credited on the copyright. This happened because Barton loved Brian’s song and when he got a job as Beckett’s guitarist, he wanted to record it. In order to get himself a share of the publishing, he added three rubbish lines to the end of the song and then he claimed half of the publishing. Brian had by then emigrated to Canada, where he still resides, and did not know about this. This is how they are both credited on the copyright. Brian was credited as Brian Ingham being his then professional name.
Then, in 2011, when Barton found out, as a result of online chat on Iron Maiden forum sites (which also involved Keith Fisher who was Beckett’s drummer) that Steve had used music and lyrics from Life’s Shadow for Hallowed and The Nomad, Barton claimed he wrote 75% of Life’s Shadow, taking in all of Brian’s lyrics and the section of music that was used in The Nomad. Sadly, Barton was desperate for money at the time and desperate people can do terrible things. The reason for Iron Maiden and Barton agreeing a secret deal may well have been because they hoped Brian Quinn would never find out and therefore never be paid for his work.
When Barton therefore decided to bring a claim against two members of Iron Maiden in 2011 after managing to get a Newcastle law firm to act for him on a no-win/no-fee basis, he did so because, as his emails at the time make clear, he was desperate for money. He then asked Brian Quinn to join him because he realised that he needed to involve him. He invited Brian Quinn to give up his share of the copyright but Brian refused point blank.
What then happened is that Barton then lied to Iron Maiden by saying that he was the sole author of the relevant lyrics to Hallowed Be Thy Name.
It is remarkable that Iron Maiden were willing to believe what Barton told them without even making contact with Brian Quinn. Barton could probably not believe his luck. As soon as he realised that Iron Maiden were willing to believe that he was the sole author he immediately ended all further communication with Brian Quinn and proceeded to agree a secret deal. Brian Quinn had no idea Barton had been secretly paid off until September 2016.
What was Phantom Management thinking of? They certainly wouldn’t have been generous in settling Barton’s claim because they’d have known that a further claim by Brian Quinn may turn up at any time. All they really did back in 2012 was get rid of Barton and hope Brian Quinn would never appear. Brian Quinn has been repeatedly ripped off by not only by his former friend Robert Barton but also by two members of Iron Maiden.
Now Iron Maiden admit they ‘referenced’ lyrics from Life’s Shadow. Did Steve Harris and Dave Murray also ‘reference’ that somewhat complex and lengthy section of music that was also taken from Life’s Shadow almost note for note and used in The Nomad on the Brave New World CD in 2000? “Referenced” is the act of referring to something. If Steve Harris intended to ‘reference’ Life’s Shadow, given he was indeed a fan of Beckett, he should also have also referenced the writers of that song by crediting them on Iron Maiden’s 1982 top selling LP The Number of the Beast which was a landmark release for Iron Maiden—becoming their first album to reach No. 1 in the UK Album charts and be certified platinum in the USA. Instead Steve Harris used Brian Quinn’s lyrics and took the full credit (and earnings from Hallowed Be Thy Name) for himself and his managers, without even giving the writers of Life’s Shadow a writer’s credit.
It is obfuscating the true situation for Phantom Management to simply claim, “There now appears to be a dispute between the two original writers as to their respective shares in Life’s Shadow”. When settling his claim in 2012 Barton knew very well that Brian Quinn maintained his claim to Life’s Shadow and always had done. Iron Maiden should have known that too but they never bothered to enquire (or perhaps they didn’t want to know).
‘The dispute’ is primarily between myself (on behalf of Brian Quinn) and Steve Harris and Dave Murray (as well as Imagen Music and Robert Barton) who five years ago entered into a secret agreement (which Brian Quinn and I did not know about) with Mr Barton purporting to settle this damages claim, however, like it or not, there are two writers of Life’s Shadow and in order to settle this claim Harris and Murray needed to settle with both writers. They can’t just reach a secret agreement with one of them and then hope the other writer would not find out about it. In settling with 1 of 2 copyright owners, they took a calculated risk that has clearly backfired.
As regards Mr Barton, I am indeed Barton’s music publisher and I signed him to a publishing contract back in 1976 when I also released a record for him and my company is credited as Barton’s publisher on that record label and sleeve. I am also suing Robert Barton on behalf of Brian Quinn. However, as Barton later only added 10% of the final content to the Life’s Shadow song as recorded with Beckett, my interest in this legal action as Mr Barton’s publisher would in any event be very small in comparison to Brian Quinn’s interest as original writer of that song.
The legal papers correctly claim that it was Brian Quinn who originally composed Life’s Shadow music and lyrics. The legal papers state that all Barton later did was add three lines to the end of Brian Quinn’s finished song some three years on, when Barton wanted to record the track for his new band’s first and only LP (and the lines added by Barton were rubbish lines). In so doing, I now realise that Barton took a 50% writer’s credit at that time without Brian Quinn’s knowledge or agreement. Furthermore, the legal papers correctly allege that on discovering in 2011 that Iron Maiden had used lyrics and music from Brian Quinn’s original song, Barton then secretly informed Iron Maiden that he had written 75% of the song. This is matter of record with The Performing Rights Society who have provided this information.
This is Brian Quinn’s statement : ‘Brian Quinn insisted today that all of the lyrics copied by Steve Harris for Hallowed Be Thy Name and all of the music copied by Steve Harris and Dave Murray for The Nomad were written and composed by him and that none of it was composed by Robert Barton.”
I am personally in no doubt that Brian Quinn is being 100% honest.
If Steve Harris and Dave Murray think they have settled the claim for taking lyrics and music from Life’s Shadow by having secretly paid off Robert Barton, they are sadly mistaken. They may as well have paid off Mickey Mouse.
This entire statement has been cleared by my lawyers, EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND (INTERNATIONAL) LLP and I take full responsibility for it. That is the reason I am taking Barton, along with Steve Harris, Dave Murray and Imagen Music, London Ltd to the High Court in London. I am fed up with Phantom Management and their expensive publicists putting out misleading information. Hence this statement.
The final two verses of Brian Quinn’s ‘Life’s Shadow’:
Mark my words my soul lives on
Please don’t worry, coz I’ve gone
I’ve gone beyond to see the truth
While I consider my new youth.
When your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll understand
Life down there is just a strange illusion.
The final two verses of Iron Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’:
Mark my words believe my soul lives on
Please don’t worry now that I’ve gone
I’ve gone beyond to seek the truth.
When you know that your time is close at hand
Maybe then you’ll begin to understand
Life down here is just a strange illusion.