19th July 2017

iron maiden

Former Lindisfarne manager Barry McKay, the man who is suing Iron Maiden's Steve Harris and Dave Murray over alleged breach of copyright regarding the Maiden classic 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', has levelled fresh allegations at Maiden's founder and leader.

McKay alleged earlier this year that Maiden's two longest standing members "stole" music and lyrics from Newcastle band Beckett's sole album and used them on 'Hallowed...' and 'The Nomad' from the 'Brave New World' album. A High Court case is due to be set soon.

He is now claiming that "Harris has his name on an album's worth of Iron Maiden released recordings which contain a combination of stolen lyrics/music and co-written works which, for some very curious reason, the co-writers are not credited."

Posting on the Destroyer Of Harmony public forum, McKay responded to a post titled 'So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett' which questioned the importance of the case and whether artists can actually steal songs or parts of songs.

McKay's repsonse was as follows:

"In this case it was theft of property... intellectual property... a theft of music and lyrics. The motive was to commercially exploit the stolen property for personal profit and that is exactly what Steve Harris has done. Harris had no intention of 'returning' the stolen property (by crediting the other songwriters) or returning the proceeds of his song-thieving. His behaviour was somewhat Faustian as well as being dishonest. It was outright theft. I used to manage the late Alan Hull who composed hundreds of songs with nothing stolen from anyone. Harris, along with his manager Rod Smallwood, have a lot of questions to answer.

"It is interesting to look at Harris' continued behaviour. He was interviewed by Seymour Duncan for an interview published in May 2017:

"Question from Seymour Duncan: 'As Iron Maiden's chief songwriter, what form are the songs in when you present them to the rest of the band?'

"Steve Harris' reply:

"'If you see a credit with just my name on it, that means I write absolutely everything. Rhythm guitar parts, guitar melodies, vocal melodies, absolutely everything really. The only thing I don't write is the guitar solos but even then I might suggest one or two things.'

iron maiden

"Steve states that he writes 'Absolutely everything'. The above answer is an outright lie.

"Harris and his manager Rod Smallwood have a lot of explaining to do. As a former manager myself, I am absolutely astounded that Rod Smallwood allowed Steve Harris to intentionally use the music and lyrics of others. Smallwood knew. Smallwood should have dealt with the situation at the time.

"What a shame all of this is going on. Harris could have still had all of his success without depriving others of songwriting credits or their fair share of the songwriting royalties. As I said, watch this space."

And in a further post on the same forum made Just this morning, McKay continues:

"Steve's 'idea' for 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' came from repeatedly watching the original Beckett performing 'Life's Shadow' live (Steve was a teenage fan of Beckett and repeatedly in the audience), complete with Terry Wilson Slesser's theatrics for the opening, involving a sword.

"Steve Harris was in fact a really serious fan of Beckett and of course he also bought their album. The entire mood of 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' is similar to 'Life's Shadow' as is the opening of 'Hallowed...' and whole verses of lyrics are copied so if you were correct (which with respect, you are not) then even the 'idea' belonged to Beckett.

"On Iron Maiden's 'The Nomad', the entire (and absolutely wonderful) guitar solo was also stolen from 'Life's Shadow'. Add the respective thefts together and Harris has obviously stolen lyrics and music.

"I now allege that my investigation suggests that Steve Harris has his name on an album's worth of Iron Maiden released recordings which contain a combination of stolen lyrics/music and co-written works which, for some very curious reason, the co-writers are not credited. As for 'Ides Of March' that is even more curious as an identical track written by someone else appears on a Samson album but with a different name. Very strange indeed.

"Steve and/or Steve's manager Rod Smallwood did not want the fans to see others credited as Smallwood clearly wished to build up Harris in the early days as this uniquely creative songwriter. This has clearly been deliberate concealment from the fans by Steve Harris aided and abetted by Rod Smallwood. That is why I am now suing Steve Harris. All they needed to do was credit the writers I represent and pay them their small share of Harris and Smallwood's estimated £100m earned partly from deliberate copyright theft.

"For further proof of appalling behaviour by Harris in cheating other musicians, wait for the trial of the action which will be in the chancery division (intellectual property) of the High Court in London, UK, some time next year."