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Barry McKay Responds to Iron Maiden ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ Lawsuit Statement

KEVIN RC WILSON
KEVIN RC WILSON

We recently reported that Iron Maiden had settled a legal dispute with music manager Barry McKay, who claimed that the band had reproduced major parts of British band Beckett’s 1974 song “Life’s Shadow” in their classic track “Hallowed Be Thy Name” as well as in “The Nomad.”

Last year, Iron Maiden’s management issued a statement in which they acknowledged that “six lines from ‘Life’s Shadow’ were referenced in Steve Harris‘ song ‘Hallowed Be They Name.'” Management added that the matter had been settled some years ago with Robert Barton. However, the most recent suit sought payment for Brian Quinn who also had a songwriting payment on the track.

“We do not believe that Brian Quinn was the one who wrote these six lines in question over 40 years ago as was claimed by Barry McKay. However due to escalating legal fees and the potential huge costs of a court case it was pragmatic to reluctantly settle this action with McKay for £100,000, a fraction of what he brought the action for. A serial litigator like Mr McKay would have foreseen this,” was the initial statement from Iron Maiden on the suit.

McKay took exception to the statement released by Iron Maiden about the settlement and reached out to Loudwire with his own statement on the matter. It can be read below.

“I do not believe that Steve Harris writes all of his own songs for which he claims sole credit. Far from it.

 

Taking lyrics and music from the Barton/Quinn song Life’s Shadow has definitely ended up costing Harris and Dave Murray £900,000 in combined damages and costs, paid to Barton and to Quinn and to their respective lawyers. That should be a lesson for them. Next time, and there is going to be another claim, they need to be more reasonable and fair. I find it sickening to have to take very wealthy musicians to court for plagiarizing the musical works of musicians who are not at all wealthy and who cannot afford to take on the might of Iron Maiden.

 

If Andy Taylor and Rod Smallwood (managers of Harris/Murray/Iron Maiden) had provided accurate earnings figures for the two Maiden songs that infringed the ‘Life’s Shadow’ copyright at the very start of the claim (which they did not) and then offered Brian Quinn a fair settlement of around £250,000, Steve Harris and Dave Murray could have saved themselves around £600,000 in legal costs. Instead they wanted a fight and so they got one. Had they not settled, I would have taken this case to trial when Steve Harris and Dave Murray would have been cross-examined under oath in the witness box before a judge.

 

The last time I was in court for a music case, when a record production/management company sued me, after I had been asked to assist one of their recording artistes to break out of a contract with them, their case collapsed after they were exposed for lying under oath. The Defence papers serves by Harris and Murray contained unsatisfactory statements, which they would have been questioned on in court had this case not settled.

 

Brian Quinn did not settle for ‘a fraction’ of his claim. Our claim form lodged with the High Court stated that we were claiming a minimum figure of £200,000. Instead Harris/Murray instructed expensive lawyers (Simkins and a QC) to fight Brian Quinn who went on to cost them £300,000, as well as having to pay for every penny of my legal costs with Eversheds Sutherland, which were £285,000. On top of that, their plagiarism of ‘Life’s Shadow’ had already £220,000 in damages and costs when they secretly settled with the other co-writer of ‘Life’s Shadow’ Bob Barton.

 

To call me a ‘serial litigant’ is sour grapes. Harris and Murray and their managers appear to me to be bad losers. However, I am now representing three other songwriters who also allege that Steve Harris and Dave Murray have also profiteered from lyrics that they wrote. If that makes me a ‘serial litigant’ so be it. Musicians who have their intellectual property exploited by others who did not write or compose it are entitled to professional assistance.”

Loudwire reached out to Iron Maiden’s representatives, who had no further comment.

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