Morrissey claims Universal 'refused' to release his Paris attacks tribute song

Morrissey insists he has a letter from Russells Solicitors confirming that Universal did not want to reissue the single

Jess Denham
Thursday 26 November 2015 10:38
Morrissey first released 'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris' in 2009
Morrissey first released 'I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris' in 2009

Morrissey has claimed to have evidence that Universal Music “refused” to re-release “I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris” in the wake of the terror attacks in the French capital earlier this month.

The former Smiths frontman revealed on his fan site True to You that he had hoped to reissue his 2009 single, featured on album Years of Refusal, as a “loving tribute to the lives lost in the Paris atrocities”.

But, according to him, the company turned down his request as it is planning its own tribute album with artists currently signed to its label.

Universal dismissed Morrissey’s accusations as “hurtful and wrong” and denied that he had ever put the idea to them.

Its statement read: “We have not received - let alone refused - any request from Morrissey himself related to ‘I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris’.

“While we have not been contacted directly by Morrissey, after seeing the comments on his website last week, we asked his representative to confirm his intentions and which charity he had in mind to support via the song’s proceeds. We are yet to receive a reply.

“Many people at Universal Music have been personally affected by the events in Paris. The implication that we have blocked a request from Morrissey in favour of another tribute ‘utilizing our current crop of Universal artists’ is hurtful and wrong’.”

In response, Morrissey shared another statement on the subject, insisting that he has a rejection letter from Russells Solicitors confirming the refusal.

“I spoke with [Universal CEO] David Joseph today,” a letter from partner John Reid reportedly read. “His position is that owing to Universal having a very close connection to the events, much as they see your point, they are not intending to release any records in response to the tragic events of last Friday.

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“They feel it is too raw for them given the death of one of their staff members and instead they are going to show support and solidarity in other ways, including concerts in Paris later this year by some of their artists.

“However, I believe that Universal would licence the song back for eg. a release for proceeds to relevant charities (which I assume would be the plan). In short there may be a possibility here but it would have to be a release via a third party. Personally I think there could be a very forceful statement to be made.”

Representatives for Morrissey, Universal and Russells Solicitors are yet to respond to our requests for comment.

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