Written by Morrison and performed by Clapton, the four-and-a-half minute bluesy track expresses dissatisfaction with the government-ordered lockdowns spurred by rising cases of COVID-19.
“Do you wanna be a free man/ Or do you wanna be a slave?/ Do you wanna wear these chains/ Until you’re lying in the grave?” Clapton sings.
Other lyrics include: “Magna Carta, Bill of Rights/ The constitution, what’s it worth?/ You know they’re gonna grind us down, ah/ Until it really hurts/ Is this a sovereign nation/ Or just a police state?/ You better look out, people/ Before it gets too late.”
The song ends with Clapton singing, “Dick Turpin wore a mask too,” referring to the 18th century highwayman who wore a mask to conceal his identity while committing crimes.
“Stand and Deliver” is in support of Morrison’s Save Live Music campaign. Morrison has recently released three other songs protesting the U.K.’s lockdown, titled “Born to Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown.”
Morrison’s anti-lockdown tracks have been the subject of criticism, including from Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann.
“It’s actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale,” Swann told Rolling Stone in September. “His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms.”
Proceeds from “Stand and Deliver” will go to the Morrison’s Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which helps musicians facing difficulties as a result of the coronavirus and resulting lockdown measures.
Both musicians have expressed concern over the state of live music, even once the pandemic is over.
“We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess,” Clapton previously said in a statement. “The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
Listen to the song below.