Iron Maiden’s Reaction to Lawsuit is ‘Sour Grapes,’ Says Challenger
The music manager who launched a lawsuit against Iron Maiden over their classic track “Hallowed Be Thy Name” has called their reaction “sour grapes.” Barry McKay reached an out-of-court settlement on behalf of his client, Brian Quinn, who wanted redress because parts of the song had been taken from British band Beckett’s track “Life’s Shadow,” co-written by Quinn and Bob Barton. Barton had previously reached his own deal with Maiden’s Steve Harris and Dave Murray.
In a statement, the NWOBHM giants said: “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.”
McKay responded with a statement to Loudwire, in which he said: “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.”
He argued that the “Life’s Shadow” situation had “definitely” cost Harris and Murray £900,000 in damages and costs, and claimed that they could have saved themselves £600,000 if they’d offered Quinn a £250,000 settlement before the legal case began. He added: “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.”
He suggested that the court case would not have gone well for Harris and Murray because they’d made “unsatisfactory statements” in their defense papers. He’d previously queries Harris’s claim that he’d written the words for “Hallowed By The Name” in 1982, using parts of “Life’s Shadow” as “guide lyrics” which he forgot to replace. “This excuse is untrue… because Iron Maiden performed the song live during at least one gig in 1981, with the lyrics as they are now and always have been,” McKay had said.
The track appeared on Maiden’s 1982 album The Number of the Beast, and regularly appeared on their concert set list until the legal action began. Another song, “The Nomad,” from 2000’s Brave New World, had also figured in the proceedings.