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Ken Cocker
Ken Cocker
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Van Morrison on criticism for his anti-lockdown stance: “Freedom of speech used to be OK. Why not now?”


Van Morrison stirred up controversy last year when he urged his fellow artists to “fight the pseudoscience,” meaning end the COVID-19 lockdown and return to performing live.  He also released three anti-lockdown songs. Morrison was criticized for his stance then, and now, in a new interview with the Times of London, he complains that his freedom of speech is being curtailed.

“Poetic license, freedom of speech…these used to be O.K. Why not now? I don’t understand it,” Van the Man tells the paper, adding, “Whether anyone agrees with me or not is irrelevant. Just as there should be freedom of the press, there should be freedom of speech, and at the [moment], it feels like that is not in the framework.”

“If you do songs that are an expression of freedom of speech you get a very negative reaction,” he adds, noting that his upcoming album, Latest Record Project: Volume 1, features “social observation, commentary and satire.” 

Indeed, song titles on the new record include “They Own the Media,” “Why Are You on Facebook?” and “Where Have All the Rebels Gone?”

“At my age, this is where I’m at,” the 75-year-old explains. “I’m going straight for the jugular.”

As for when he thinks live music will return, Morrison says, “Your guess is as good as mine because freedom is not a given any more. You have to fight for it.”

While Van’s fighting, he’ll be doing a virtual concert on Saturday, May 8, one day after his album is released.  As previously reported, it’ll be streamed from Peter Gabriel‘s Real World Studios in England on platform starting at 3 p.m. ET. You can pre-order tickets now at

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