Sir Van Morrison will donate profits from his new collection of anti-lockdown songs to musicians impacted by measures he says do “more harm than good”.
The musician, 75, has faced criticism for announcing a trio of protest songs calling for an end to rules aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Money from downloads of Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out and No More Lockdown will be distributed by his arts charity, the Van Morrison Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
A written statement issued alongside the announcement said: “Lockdown is taking away people’s jobs and freedoms across all sectors of society.
“I believe live music is essential, and I worry that without positive action it will not survive.
“Without live music the world would be a much poorer place.
“It makes a huge contribution to the economy and you cannot put a price on what music does for people’s wellbeing.
“Pilot events have shown there are ways in which venues can reopen safely at full capacity.
“It’s essential for their survival that the government allows them to do so.
“Surely, there is a debate to be had around whether lockdown is doing more harm than good.”
Sir Van will debut the tracks this week during three consecutive and socially distant shows at the London Palladium on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Belfast musician’s announcement last week prompted Northern Ireland’s leaders to urge the public not to be swayed by his views.
Van Morrison was given the Freedom of Belfast – the highest honour the city can bestow. His most recent lyrics undermine the guidance in place to protect lives and are ignorant of established science as we grapple with #COVID19
So I've asked @belfastcc to consider revoking it.
— Emmet McDonough-Brown (@EmmetMcDB) September 18, 2020
Belfast councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown called on the local authority to revoke his freedom of the city, which he was given in 2013 in recognition of his storied career.
The song No More Lockdown labels those who are “disturbing our peace” as “fascist bullies”.
The lyrics also include reference to an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that scientists are “making up crooked facts”.
He criticised celebrities “telling us what we are supposed to feel” as he called for an end to the “status quo”.
The tracks will be released between Friday September 25 and Friday October 23.