On Friday, the duo announced Stand And Deliver, performed by Clapton and written by Morrison.
Proceeds from the track – which is released on Friday – will go towards Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which aims to help musicians affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess,” Clapton said of the song (via Variety). “The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
Shortly after the track was confirmed to be in the works, both artists came under fire, with many suggesting that protesting lockdown measures put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus may not be the best use of their platforms:
— Ms. Lonnie 🦋💜🤗 (@Lon_S_J) November 28, 2020
They are both old enough to be high risk. pic.twitter.com/N2RHYu4PeG
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) November 27, 2020
So... these musicians would rather see income over protecting human lives?
Alrighty then. https://t.co/vmp8b0MnSQ
— Stacey Ma Dukes Hopkins (@staceyhopkinsga) November 27, 2020
Good morning to everyone but Eric Clapton and Van Morrison 🙄 https://t.co/a5LVDQc9s2
— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) November 27, 2020
In personal news feeling pretty good about early life choices of Neil Diamond over Eric Clapton and Van Morrison. pic.twitter.com/sViuHGuMja
— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) November 27, 2020
Clapton: “Live music might never recover.”
Not-crazy people: “Real people are literally never recovering from the plague. No one wants to die for your tunes.” https://t.co/j9uvmKGJe8
— Wes Platt (@WesPlattTweets) November 27, 2020
— Barbara Bellinger (@babsliness) November 27, 2020
Was tweeting last night about how much I miss live music but still the efforts of this pair of MOR rock has-beens to "save" it by killing people can get in the fucking bin https://t.co/aeCmLyBaYa
— mattthr (@mattthr) November 28, 2020
If wearing a mask and avoiding large venues is "oppression" to you, you've lived a very privileged life. https://t.co/3dZYBSH3VL
— mr. G (and the good trouble). (@invisiblelad007) November 27, 2020
2020 has thrown a lot of curveballs but I did not expect to wake up to the news that eric clapton and van morrison wrote an anti-lockdown anthem
— hannah 🛸 (@styxandstones_) November 27, 2020
Van Morrison, now Eric Clapton with new anti-lock down song? I'm prepared. pic.twitter.com/PO6khsQJpU
— Stu Pendous (@blueskiesecho) November 27, 2020
Dolly Parton helped fund COVID vaccine research. Lady Gaga helped raise over $35 million for PPE for healthcare workers. Halsey purchased and 100,000 masks that she distributed to various hospitals.
Be like Dolly, Lady Gaga & Halsey.
Don't be like Eric Clapton or Van Morrison.
— *you're (@RKJ65) November 27, 2020
The controversy also caused past comments made by the musician – most notably during a concert in 1976, when he spoke out against immigration, repeatedly used racist slurs and declared that he wanted to “keep Britain white” – to resurface on social media:
Not really surprised by Eric Clapton ... https://t.co/3L1RfP12d4
— Brandale Randolph (@Brandale1854) November 27, 2020
Lesson learned: Don't idolize talent.😕https://t.co/rZbrt3b8tE
— There are some who call me...TIM (@TimNoEgo) November 28, 2020
Blimey, have to say I did not know about Clapton’s awful racism
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) November 28, 2020
For those unaware, he actually said this shit on stage
And please don’t give me that ‘different era’ shit - it’s total bollocks https://t.co/2IDanJb5xf
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) November 28, 2020
You might not like some of his 70s comments either:https://t.co/hJ9uxPUisI
— Martin Phillips 🏴🇪🇺 (@nfliving) November 27, 2020
I was today years old when I learned Eric Clapton is such a huge racist that in the 70s the movement Rock Against Racism was started after Clapton showed public support for a UK far-right party.
And now he and Van Morrison have put out an anti-lockdown song. Makes sense.
— Ani-Mia (@AniMiaOfficial) November 27, 2020
On the one hand, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison are former rock stars.
On the other hand, they're now 75-year-old white guys. https://t.co/n8HmsSx8av
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 27, 2020
In 2018, Clapton said he was “disgusted” with himself for the language that he’d used at that time.
Van Morrison has already released three anti-lockdown songs during September and October; Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out and the less imaginatively-titled No More Lockdown.
“Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations”, Morrison said of his new collaboration with Clapton.
“It is heartbreaking to see so many talented musicians lack any meaningful support from the government, but we want to reassure them that we are working hard every day to lobby for the return of live music, and to save our industry.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.