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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Rock critic's song on Passion CD
The Passion of the Christ
The album contains songs "inspired" by the Biblical story
A rock critic has told of his surprise and delight after a song he wrote was picked by director Mel Gibson for a CD to accompany The Passion of the Christ.

Harm's Way, recorded by Daily Telegraph writer Neil McCormick, sits alongside tunes from rock luminaries such as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave.

Mr McCormick, 43, who went to school in Dublin with members of U2, wrote the song about a friend with drug problems.

He said he was flattered to be among Gibson's "spiritual" song selections.

Growing up I was the world's worst atheist
Neil McCormick
"Apart from the sheer amazement I'm incredibly pleased," he told BBC News Online. "After 14 years of rejection I always felt I had it in me to be a rock star.

"For a critic fulfilling a dismal destiny, to be plucked out of the ether and end up on an album between Elvis Presley and Leonard Cohen is very flattering."

Mr McCormick spent several years fronting a 1980s pop-rock band called Shook Up. He turned to journalism for a living when it became clear they were unlikely to ever trouble the charts.

Elvis Presley
Mr McCormick joins some illustrious company on the CD

His new songs were recorded for a solo album under the name The Ghost Who Walks. The song was selected after he sent copies to friends, including musicians.

U2 singer Bono's wife Ali played it down the phone to producer Lian Lunson, who was compiling the album based on tracks "inspired" by Christ's final moments.

Mr McCormick, who described himself as "a spiky sceptic", said it was a spiritual song even though his own beliefs were far removed from Gibson's traditional Catholicism. "Growing up I was the world's worst atheist," he said.

"Gibson heard the song as a plea from every parent to child to stay out of harm's way, and in the end for me it became a song about everyone I love. It's a very tender song with a big gospel ending."

The compilation CD, Songs Inspired by The Passion of the Christ, was released this week. The Ghost Who Walks album will be released by Endeavour in September.


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