The single is written by Morrison and recorded by Clapton, and news of its release had many scratching their heads for the fact the song appears to blatantly go against the government lockdowns and mandates set in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. However, countless others on social media took chose to take umbrage with racially insensitive comments Clapton made years ago while addressing a crowd during a show in Birmingham, England in August 1976.
During the again-unsurfaced tirade, which many younger Clapton fans hardly knew existed, the guitarist and crooner allegedly called for foreigners to “get out” of Great Britain.
“Stop Britain from becoming a Black colony. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white,” Clapton, now-75, said at the time. “The Black wogs and coons and Arabs and f—king Jamaicans don’t belong here, we don’t want them here.”
The Mountain Goats, a band that had released the pandemic anthem “This Year,” was among those who slammed Clapton and Morrison for their new single. “What the f–k is wrong with these rich a–holes?” the band fumed on its Twitter account. “I ask this as a Van Morrison fan.”
Meanwhile, novelist and podcast host Hari Kunzru chimed in, adding, “Last time Clapton weighed in on politics they had to start Rock Against Racism.”
“Clapton is the worst. He has always been the worst. He was even the worst member of Cream,” Kunzru added in a follow-up tweet. “Van Morrison is also the worst. Even when making Astral Weeks, a sublime record that still makes me cry, he was (I have reluctantly come to accept) the worst.”
In a statement to Variety on Friday, Clapton called the absence of live events due to lockdown restrictions “deeply upsetting.”
“There are many of us who support Van and his endeavors to save live music; he is an inspiration,” Clapton said. “We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess. The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover.”
Morrison also praised Clapton for laying the track and said in a statement via his “Save The Music” initiative that it is “heart-breaking” that many artists aren’t able to perform.
“Eric’s recording is fantastic and will clearly resonate with the many who share our frustrations,” said Morrison. “It is heartbreaking to see so many talented musicians lack any meaningful support from the government, but we want to reassure them that we are working hard every day to lobby for the return of live music, and to save our industry.”
Morrison released three songs protesting the U.K. lockdown during September and October: “Born To Be Free,” “As I Walked Out” and “No More Lockdown.”
Proceeds from the fourth song “Stand and Deliver” will also go to Morrison’s “Save Live Music” initiative, which he launched after he previously made comments criticizing the ongoing lockdown.
COVID-19 has claimed more than 57,000 lives in the U.K., according to the BBC and on Thursday, England announced that it will return to a tier-three system after lockdowns lift on Dec. 2, which will make restrictions lax going into Christmastime.
Individual reps for Clapton and Morrison did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.