Last year, Iron Maiden was in the news, but this time not for a new tour or new album that was being unveiled. The band had entered into rocky water after retired rock band manager Barry McKay had sued both Steve Harris and Dave Murray for similarities taken in a song by Beckett entitled “Life’s Shadow,” which he claims was used on one of Iron Maiden’s hit songs, “Hallowed Be Thy Name.”
“Life Shadows” was recorded for Beckett’s 1974 self-titled album, while at the time managed by Rod Smallwood, who had later moved on to manage Iron Maiden.
Both Iron Maiden and McKay had been taken to court for these matters, with an initial order for Murray and Harris to pay £900,000 (approximately $1.25 million) in costs and damages. At the end of the day, the two had settled out of court for a far lower amount, according to an Iron Maiden spokesperson.
“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,” the Maiden spokesperson said. “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 [approximately $139,000], a fraction of what he brought the action for. A serial litigant like Mr. McKay would have foreseen this.”
“To call me a ‘serial litigant’ is sour grapes,” said McKay. “Harris and Murray and their managers appear to me to be bad losers. However, I am now also representing three other songwriters who also allege that Steve Harris and Dave Murray have 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.”
JT “Doc” Berry \m/