As part of the 1960s counterculture, Northern Irish rock legend Van Morrison was revered for helping the hippie generation fight against the forces of fascism.
Now, the famously reclusive “Brown-Eyed Girl” singer, 75, has come full-circle in his contrarian tendencies by attacking the “fascist bullies” responsible for coronavirus lockdowns that have been driven largely by leftists.
Starting next week, Morrison is set to release three new anti-lockdown protest songs spread out, in true socially-distanced form, over two week intervals, The Irish Times reported.
“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already,” he said in a statement on his website.
“It’s about freedom of choice,” he continued. “I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”
He will debut the tracks in a series of upcoming gigs at the London Palladium.
In the first, “Born to Be Free,” which drops Sept. 25, he sings, “The new normal, is not normal / We were born to be free.”
In another of the songs, “No More Lockdowns,” set to be released on Oct. 23, he sings, “No more lockdown / No more government overreach / No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace … No more taking of our freedom / And our God given rights / Pretending it’s for our safety / When it’s really to enslave.”
Sandwiched in between them is “As I Walked Out,” due for an Oct. 9 release. The track reportedly references a widely shared post from the UK government website that says “Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease.”
While denouncing the virus panic as “pseudoscience,” Morrison also has spoken out publicly about the need to resume live music and has played a series of socially-distanced shows in Europe while campaigning for venues to reopen at full capacity.
Live music restrictions have inflicted a crippling blow to the performing arts sector.
Van will be releasing three exclusive songs. Stay tuned ? pic.twitter.com/WvjfwMz9Ca
— Save Live Music (@Save_LiveMusic) September 18, 2020
The newfound advocacy hasn’t won him many new fans in the cancel-culture set.
In fact, Northern Ireland’s health minister denounced the subversive songs as “dangerous,” the BBC reported.
“I don’t know where he gets his facts,” said Health Minister Robin Swann. “I know where the emotions are on this, but I will say that sort of messaging is dangerous.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself was hospitalized in intensive care with the virus, has struck a more conciliatory tone saying his goal is simply to prevent a relapse.
While the US mortality rate has remained around 3 percent, the UK has seen one of the higher mortality rates, around 11 percent of those stricken with the highly contagious virus.
However, Morrison has gotten support from some fellow musicians in the UK, including the Gallagher brothers best known from the band Oasis, and Ian Brown, the lead singer of the band Stone Roses.
NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX #researchanddestroy
— Ian Brown (@ianbrown) September 5, 2020