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Billy Bragg Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (3)

Born in Barking, Essex, England, UK
Birth NameStephen William Bragg
Nickname The Bard of Barking

Mini Bio (1)

Billy Bragg - the so-called 'Bard of Barking' - came to widespread attention as a sort of one-man Clash, busking around Britain, with a guitar and portable amp. Having briefly joined the Army, Bragg formed a punk band, Riff Raff, but it was not until he released his first mini-LP, "Life's a Riot" on the small Utility label, that he first troubled the UK charts with the protest EP, "Between the Wars". Further minor chart success followed (including an unlikely number 1 with a charity cover version of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" and a collaboration with members of REM) and critical acclaim was never far away. Bragg was a founder member of Red Wedge, the music coalition which supported the Labour Party in the 1987 election, and a supporter of many humanitarian and left-wing causes, but has since withdrawn overt support for New Labour. Settled down and with a small son, Jack, Bragg has completed the "William Bloke" LP and toured.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Stuart Douglas <sdouglas@zoocater.abel.co.uk>

Trade Mark (1)

Estuary English Accent (that only just borders on Cockney)

Trivia (6)

West Ham Football club supporter.
One of his albums was produced primarily to pay a large bill to British tax authorities. The album was entitled, appropriately, "Talking With The Taxman About Poetry".
Winner of the 2007 Q Classic Songwriter Award.
A founding member and a director of the Featured Artists' Coalition, a lobby group launched in 2009 with the aim of giving music artists a greater voice in big decisions in the music industry, from digital deals to copyright law.
Supported the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 UK general election.
Bragg publicly opposed Paul Simon's decision to record his album Graceland in Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. When Simon played the first of six nights at London's Royal Albert Hall on April 7 1987, Bragg joined Paul Weller and Jerry Dammers in protesting outside and delivered a letter demanding that Simon give a "complete and heartfelt apology to the UN General Assembly".

Personal Quotes (13)

"Kiss me or would you rather live in a land where the soap won't lather" (lyric)
The first lyrical poetry that moved me was the final verse of Mr Tambourine Man. That is such a great line of poetry.
It is often the songs that have less meaning that people tend to attach their meaning to.
One of the great things about the 1980s was that there was a return to lyrics. Bands like the Smiths were writing more literate pop. Sometimes too much emphasis is put on hook and melody. Some bands' songs are totally vacuous.
Everything that was cool about British rock in the '60s, everything from The Beatles, The Stones (The Rolling Stones), The Who, The Small Faces, Led Zeppelin, all those guys learned to play music by playing skiffle. It was open to everyone, it was utterly democratic, it was three chords and the truth.
This year I think I'll be voting Liberal Democrat because they've got the best manifesto. I like what they're saying about proportional representation, I like what they're saying about Europe... if I was a floating voter I'd be floating towards them. I think Labour have taken the white working class vote for granted. I think the idea of a three party race is more interesting than a two party race. (In 2010)
The Internet allows me to write a topical song on a Friday, debut it on a Saturday, record it on a Sunday and make available for a free download on a Monday.
[on Levon Helm] The greatest singing drummer that ever lived.
Now I realize I was naive to think The Clash could change the world by singing about it. But it wasn't so much their lyrics as what they stood for and the actions they took. That became really important to me. Phil Collins might write a song about the homeless, but if he doesn't have the action to go with it he's just exploiting that for a subject. I got that from The Clash, and I try to remain true to that tradition as best I can.
This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing... of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society. Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don't celebrate - organise!
It's really a comment on the amount of information we get now; I mean, the ubiquity of the Internet of the 24-hour news cycle - it's constant information all the time, trying to make sense of it. What does it mean if they do find the Higgs Boson? I don't know, you know? They tell us it's incredibly important. Is it incredibly important? So it's really a response on that, talking about the hectoring of the hexperts you know, there's someone every night on telly telling you emphatically what their truth is, how do you weigh that up?
I think Tony Blair shocked a lot of people when he said if your heart is with Jeremy Corbyn you need a heart transplant. I'm not interested in a Labour Party that doesn't have a heart. We need politics of the heart. That to me is compassionate politics.
David Bowie was the greatest of the London boys that came out of the 60s. In 1971 he turned into something strange and curious - Ziggy Stardust. It's great to commemorate this spot with a blue plaque, so that everyone who loves these records can gaze up in wonder at Trident Studios.

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