As I Walked Out

Album: not on an album (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • At 75 years old, Van Morrison managed to ruffle a great many feathers with this song.

    It was the second of his trio of songs protesting the UK COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, following "Born to Be Free" (released September 24) and preceding "No More Lockdown" (released October 22). All three are quite feather-ruffling. All opinions aside, it's not easy for a singer of advanced age to draw so much ire. That's something the young people are supposed to do and something Morrison's generation excelled at in the '60s.
  • "As I Walked Out" starts as a first-person narrative of Morrison walking out into a street that is empty because of the lockdown imposed by the UK government. This was hardly unique to the UK, as the majority of the planet had enacted some form of lockdown in response to the COVID pandemic.

    The narrative quickly disappears and is replaced by Morrison's declaration that the lockdown is unjust and that the claims about COVID may not be true.

    The song points out that the UK government said on March 21, 2020, that COVID-19 wasn't as bad as they'd thought. Shortly after that, they enacted the harshest lockdown measures on the public.

    Critics of Morrison's position would say that the guidance changed because the data changed, which is perfectly legitimate in science. The virus was relatively new and still being studied.

    Morrison didn't stand alone in his feelings - there were many dissenting voices who questioned the lockdown. Morrison was just the first prominent musician to overtly challenge it with his art.

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