Artist picture of Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

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Artist's Top Tracks

Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key Billy Bragg, Wilco 04:06
The Short Answer Billy Bragg 05:21
Bad Penny Billy Bragg 03:05
The Only One Billy Bragg 03:36
The Short Answer Billy Bragg 04:59
A New England Billy Bragg 02:13
Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards Billy Bragg 04:36
Sexuality Billy Bragg 03:48
One By One Billy Bragg, Wilco 03:25
Must I Paint You a Picture Billy Bragg 07:13

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Biography

Driven by the social conscience and full throttle energy of The Clash and the songwriting tradition of the folk movement, Billy Bragg became the political voice of 1980s pop, taking on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, supporting the 1984 miners strike and campaigning for the Labour Party in the Red Wedge enterprise. After a short stint in the army, Bragg gigged with punk band Riff Raff, developing his trademark electric guitar thrash while bellowing acerbic lyrics in his distinctively strangulated Essex voice.

His debut EP 'Life's a Riot With Spy Vs Spy' (1983) featured the classic track 'A New England', (later a hit for Kirsty MacColl), before the albums 'Brewing Up' (1984), 'Talking With the Taxman About Poetry' (1986) and 'Workers Playtime' (1988) positioned him as one of the sharpest, wittiest songwriters of the era. Bragg's cover of 'She's Leaving Home' gave him his only UK number one (a charity double A-side with Wet Wet Wet's 'With a Little Help from My Friends') and the single 'Sexuality' was a small hit in the US, though his most famous song remains the socialist anthem 'Between the Wars'.

He was commissioned to set newly discovered Woody Guthrie lyrics to music, resulting in two albums - 'Mermaid Avenue 1' and 'Mermaid Avenue 2' - with Wilco. In the 2000s Bragg became part of the multi-cultural English folk project The Imagined Village with Martin Carthy and Paul Weller and also set up the Jail Guitar Doors initiative providing prisoners with musical instruments. He continued his political activism, using his art to voice his disgust in the phone-hacking scandal surrounding The Sun newspaper with his song 'Never Buy the Sun'. A new generation of songwriters including Kate Nash, Jamie T and KT Tunstall cite him as an influence. In 2016 he received the Trailblazer Award from the Americana Music Association UK Awards and the Spirit Of Americana Free Speech Award from the Americana Music Association US Awards.