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So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett

A friend of mine said it’s fake news, but, seriously, so what if Steve Harris was influenced by the band “Beckett”. So what if Steve Harris borrowed from the band “Beckett”. Trust me when I say this, there is no way that “Beckett” and their song writers created their songs in a vacuum, free from any texts and music that could have influenced them. So as much as Harris borrowed from “Beckett”, the band “Beckett” also owes its dues to the people they borrowed from.

But this isn’t an issue with the Beckett songwriters.

For whatever reasons, Steve Harris made a deal settlement with “Robert Barton” and “Brian Ingham” from the band “Beckett” over the song “Life’s Shadow” and how six lyrical lines were referenced in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”.

The current issue is with a retired rock band manager called Barry McKay, who is taking Steve Harris and Dave Murray to court over a song called “Lying In My Shadow” (which to me is “Life’s Shadow”), also from the same band “Beckett” and written by “Brian Ingham”.

The rock manager claims “Hallowed Be Thy Name” reproduces major parts of “Lying In My Shadow” in “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. “Lying In My Shadow” could be a demo that was never released and Barry McKay might have paid for the rights to it.

But seriously who cares.

Every song that is created has multiple influences or reference songs. “Hallowed Be Thy Name” is no different.

There are comments that “Hallowed Be Thy Name” also has similar lyrics to another Beckett song called “Rainbow’s Gold”. And of course there is the fact that from 4.10 to the end of “Life’s Shadow” is the inspiration point for the whole middle section in “The Nomad” from “Brave New World”. Just to re-iterate, music creation is taking bits and pieces from songs that influence you, place them into the blender and the product that comes out is yours.

Yes, there are ties between the bands. Rod Smallwood managed both. There is a respect between both bands. Maiden has covered Beckett songs in the past and the guys in the band have played together in various little projects.

Fake news or not, this is the mess that “Copyright Hijacked By Corporations” has created. A rock manager, who did not even write the song, can bring up a suit against a band for being influenced by it. Ridiculous. This is all about cash. But it’s the public that determines success, not the label or the press. It’s the public that decided what is valuable to them.

From a listener’s point of view, all songs are different and unique in their own way. The fact that one song went on to define a band and become one of the best metal songs in history and make millions is the issue here. People feel wronged that someone else made money and they didn’t. One song doesn’t replace the other. They can all co-exist, even though the Maiden versions are vastly superior. And to me, it’s the main reason why this is in the courts.

Hell, Steven Jobs took bits and pieces from other companies to create the first Apple. Even his revolutionary iPod’s and iPhones copied designs and functionality from other designs. But he did it better than all the others. And so did Maiden, Zeppelin, Metallica, Jovi, The Eagles, Acca, Def Leppard, Motley, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Whitesnake and every other artist who made it big.

The Telegraph.co.uk article 

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16 thoughts on “So What If Steve Harris borrowed from Beckett

  1. Barry McKay says:

    Steve Harris did not only steal the work of others from ‘Life’s Shadow.’ There are other writers who wrote substantial parts of songs which are only credited to Steve Harris as sole writer. I don’t know how he sleeps at night. Perhaps his alleged £50m fortune offers a clue? It will all come out eventually…watch this space!

    • Stealing means to take another person’s property without permission and without intending to return it. The “stolen” songs are still available to be listened too and enjoyed by others. So I cannot see how artists steal. They might copy from others, but stealing they do not do.

      • Barry McKay says:

        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’s continued behaviour. He was interviewed by Seymour Duncan for an interview published in May 2017:-

        http://www.seymourduncan.com/blog/backstage-pass/talking-tone-with-iron-maidens-steve-harris

        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.”

        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

      • Barry,
        Intellectual Property is a term purposely used to mislead. The real term for it is “idea” and Similar ideas happen in people. Steve Harris took ideas he had (influenced by what he heard) and created a song that turned out to be popular. If it wasn’t popular, I am sure no lawsuit would have happened, but because it was popular, someone feels wronged.

        And you can’t steal an idea.

      • Barry McKay says:

        Steve’s ‘idea’ for Hallowed Be Thy Name came from repeatedly watching The original Beckett performing Life’s Shadow life complete with theatrics involving a sword. Steve Harris was a big fan of Beckett and he bought their album. The entire mood is similar as is the opening and the lyrics are copied so if you were correct, which with respect, you are not, then the “idea” belonged to Beckett.

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

    • Compliance is not my friend says:

      I was thinking that Harris was credited in the early days as money was needed to keep the band afloat. His royalties would go back into the band. Probably later on they should have done a negotiation once the band had success with not just beckett but all the pre recording guys that had input into the music.

  2. Barry McKay says:

    With typo corrected:
    BARRY MCKAY says:
    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 suggest 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 count-writers are not credited. As for ‘Ides Of March’ that is even more curious as an identical track written by someone else appears on. 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 other’s 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.

    JULY 18, 2017 AT 3:10 PM

    • Barry McKay says:

      JULY 18, 2017 AT 3:10 PM
      BARRY MCKAY says:
      With typo corrected:
      BARRY MCKAY says:
      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 suggest 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 count-writers are not credited. As for ‘Ides Of March’ that is even more curious as an identical track written by someone else appears on. 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 other’s 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.

      JULY 18, 2017 AT 3:10 PM

      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

  3. Reblogged this on Stick It In Your Ear and commented:
    Well Folks….
    Well all know about Steve Harris getting sued for swiping a few lines from another song decades back. Well my good Blog Friend “Destroyer Of Harmony” writes excellent and he tackled this subject and lo and behold one of the fella’s suing Harris/Maiden comments ….
    Read on!

  4. Ryan says:

    To Barry – but didn’t Mr. Harris already pay monies to Beckett (or persons representing the songwriter of Life’s Shadow) years ago ?

    • Barry McKay says:

      Beckett track, ‘Life’s Shadow’ had two songwriters, one was Robert Barton who, back in the 1970’s took a finished song that he greatly admired (and which had been written by his friend Brian Quinn) … and changed a few words, also adding a final, rubbish verse of lyrics. At the time he was a roady for Beckett. The band needed more songwriting talent and Barton told members of band he had written ‘Life’s Shadow’ and played it to them along with some of his ‘pop’ songs (his usual music)…and he got the gig. He was in fact upping himself. That is one reason why Beckett failed because they made the mistake of recording Barton’s “Little Girl” as their make-or-break single. The lyrics are crap. Most of Barton’s lyrics are just bland pop, whearas Brian Quinn’s lyrics are deep and serious. Another reason why Beckett failed was that Barton walked out on Beckett when they were about to sign with Ahmet Ertegun’s Atlantic Records for their second album. Read Beckett manager Geoff Docherty’s book, “Three Minutes of Magic” which details the story of Beckett and why they failed.

      Decades later, on discovering through Beckett’s drummer, Keith Fisher, that Iron Maiden had stolen music and lyrics from Life’s Shadow, Robert Barton claimed that HE had written all of the lyrics stolen by Steve Harris as well as the music used on The Nomad and that Brian Quinn had written none of it. He was therefore paid out by Harris. That is why Barton, who is also a song thief, is now being sued alongside Steve Harris and others. Barton was probably desperate for money when he lied and cheated his old friend. But Barton was not the only desperate villain of the piece.

      Steve Harris has built up a hugely successful career because he had a truly great manager. Rod Smallwood knew the value of music publishing from the start…Rod Smallwood also knew how important it was to build up the reputation of Steve Harris…and with Steve, exert full control over the band. As a manager of musicians and songwriters myself back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s I also understood the value of music publishing however I would never have condoned song theft. It seems to me that Smallwood encouraged it. With big, tough, legendary heavy metal manager Rod Smallwood behind him, Steve Harris thought he could get away with song theft. I found this post interesting…

      https://olddisgruntledbastard.com/2017/05/08/iron-maiden-and-plagiarism/

      The post includes…“If they could have done it here once, and so unabashedly, they might have done it elsewhere again……the possibility of further unsavory discoveries suddenly doesn’t seem as outlandish as it once may have.”

      There are indeed further “unsavory discoveries” to be made regarding Iron Maiden song-writing credits.

      • Ryan says:

        Thank you for responding, Barry. It’s a shame this couldn’t have been resolved without going to the courts, but Iron Maiden is a big business as well as a band so it was probably inevitable. I’ve been a fan for nearly 30 years but my opinion of them isn’t tarnished (maybe it would if I was a teenager!) but it’s not Steve Harris or Dave Murray I like so much – it’s the music and that’s why it’s important these songwriting credits be sorted out properly.

        Best of luck to you!

    • Barry McKay says:

      To best understand what has happened re Hallowed Be Thy Name and The Nomad, this article may assist you:-

      http://metaltalk.net/news_seventeen/hallowed_be_thy_claim.php

      Even when this legal action is over and once all of the lyric-thefts that have occurred are finally out in the public domain, given the millions of Iron Maiden/Steve Harris diehard fans who believe Harris can do no wrong, I don’t believe it will have any effect on the enormous popularity of Iron Maiden. As possibly the world’s most popular heavy metal band, they are without a doubt probably the best band in their field. But it does seem to me that Harris and his manager Rod Smallwood have cut some corners to build this reputation, albeit a reputation also earned through decades of hard work, skill and the creativity of both Harris, Smallwood and many other people. One must ask though how many of those whose creativity has helped make Iron Maiden have been appropriately credited and rewarded for their efforts and how many of them have been cheated.

      In the world of Rock ‘n Roll there have been some legendary managers who can be intimidating. Harris has one of them in Rod Smallwood but song thefts aside, I still rate Smallwood as one of the top managers in the business without whom Harris and Iron maiden would never have enjoyed anything close to their level of success. The man is totally hands-on, in full control and he knew what he was doing.

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