Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden have been forced to drop their popular song ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ from their current live set, due to an ongoing court case. The band are reportedly being sued by the composers of a song titled ‘Life’s Shadow’, which is referenced in the Iron Maiden hit.
‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ was written by Maiden bassist Steve Harris, and features on their 1982 album ‘The Number of the Beast’. The track was given a special release in 1993 after it featured on Iron Maiden’s live album ‘A Real Dead One’, and peaked at number nine in the UK singles chart.
The song is considered to be one of the most agreed upon fan favourites, and has been included in the band’s live setlist since its original release in 1982. Singer Bruce Dickinson is also said to be a huge fan of the track, and has previously compared performing it live to ‘narrating a movie to the audience’.
Despite being an original composition, the track lifts several lyrics from a 1973 song titled ‘Life’s Shadow’. This has led to a recent dispute between ‘Life’s Shadow’s composers and Iron Maiden, and has forced the band to drop the track from their current set list.
In an official statement, Iron Maiden explained: “The dispute concerns the song ‘Life’s Shadow,’ a song originally written in the early 1970s, credited to Robert Barton and Brian Ingham, and recorded by the band Beckett. 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,’ which was recorded by Iron Maiden and appeared on the album ‘The Number of the Beast’ which was released in 1982.”
Adding: “As far as Steve is concerned, this matter was settled some years ago by agreement with Robert Barton, but there now appears to be a dispute between the two original writers as to their respective shares in ‘Life’s Shadow.’ Further, an individual called Barry McKay in taking this action now claims to publish Robert Barton’s interest in ‘Life’s Shadow,’ despite so far being unable to come up with a publishing agreement and showing little or no evidence in his claim of any interest in Mr. Barton’s songs in approximately 40 years.”