A year ago, retired rock band manager Barry McKay took MAIDEN‘s Steve Harris and Dave Murray to court over the 1982 track, claiming reproduced major parts of another song, “Life’s Shadow”, co-written nearly a decade earlier by musician Brian Quinn, under the name Brian Ingham.
“Life’s Shadow” was a collaboration between Quinn and Robert Barton, who later recorded the song for the self-titled 1974 album from his band BECKETT. At the time, BECKETT was managed by Rod Smallwood, who went on to become the manager of IRON MAIDEN.
In court documents, Harris‘s lawyers admitted he saw BECKETT perform in 1973 and said that BECKETT‘s debut was one of his favorite albums when it was first released.
Although McKay has said that Harris and Murray have been ordered to pay £900,000 (approximately $1.25 million) in costs and damages, a spokesperson for IRON MAIDEN told BLABBERMOUTH.NET that the actual figure was much lower.
“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.”
MAIDEN last year dropped “Hallowed Be Thy Name” from its setlist after the band became embroiled in the legal dispute. The settlement means that the group can now resume performing the song during its live shows.
MAIDEN‘s representatives at Phantom Management issued a statement last year in which they acknowledged that “Steve Harris was a fan of BECKETT and some six lines from ‘Life’s Shadow’ were referenced in Steve‘s song ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’.” However, they insisted at the time that as far as Steve was concerned, “this matter was settled some years ago by agreement with Robert Barton.”