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Stephen William Bragg (born 20 December 1957) is an English singer-songwriter and
left-wing Left-wing politics support social equality Social equality is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social in ...
activist. His music blends elements of
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
,
punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, ...
and
protest song A protest song is a song that is associated with a movement for social change and hence part of the broader category of ''topical'' songs (or songs connected to current events). It may be folk, classical, or commercial in genre. Among social mov ...
s, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. His music is heavily centred on bringing about change and involving the younger generation in activist causes.


Early life

Bragg was born in 1957 in
Barking Barking may refer to: Places * Barking, London Barking is a district of East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at th ...
, Essex, one of the sons of Dennis Frederick Austin Bragg, an assistant sales manager to a Barking cap maker and milliner, and his wife Marie Victoria D'Urso, who was of Italian descent. Bragg's father died of lung cancer in 1976, and his mother in 2011. Bragg was educated at Northbury Junior School and Park Modern Secondary School (now part of Barking Abbey Secondary School) in Barking, where he failed his
eleven-plus exam The eleven-plus (11+) is an examination administered to some students in England and Northern Ireland in their last year of primary education Primary education is typically the first stage of formal education, coming after preschool and befo ...
, effectively precluding him from going to university. However he developed an interest in poetry at the age of twelve, when his English teacher chose him to read a poem he had written for a homework assignment on a local radio station. He put his energies into learning and practising the
guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings with the dominant hand, while sim ...

guitar
with his next-door neighbour, Philip Wigg (Wiggy); some of their influences were
the Faces Faces are an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of Small Faces Small Faces were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineralo ...
,
Small Faces Small Faces were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound ...
and
the Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English band formed in London in 1962. Active for almost six decades, they are one of the most popular and enduring bands of the rock era. In the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-drive ...

the Rolling Stones
. He was also exposed to folk and folk-rock music during his teenage years, citing
Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), " ...
and
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
as early influences on his songwriting. Bragg was particularly influenced by
the Clash The Clash were an English rock music, rock band formed in London in 1976 who were key players in the original wave of British punk rock. Billed as "The Only Band That Matters", they also contributed to the and new wave music, new wave movemen ...
, whom he'd seen play live in London in May 1977 on their White Riot Tour, and again at a
Rock Against Racism Rock Against Racism (RAR) was a political and cultural movement which emerged in 1976 in reaction to a rise in racist attacks on the streets of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known a ...
carnival in April 1978, which he admits was the first time he really stepped into the world of music as it is used for political activism. The experience of the gig and preceding march helped shape Bragg's left-wing politics, having previously "turned a blind eye" to casual racism.


Career


Early career

In 1977 Bragg formed the
punk rock Punk rock (or simply punk) is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, ...
/ pub rock band Riff Raff with Wiggy. The band decamped to rural
Oundle Oundle () is a market town A market town is a European settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection ...
in
Northamptonshire Northamptonshire (; abbreviated Northants.), archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a historic county in the East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England ...

Northamptonshire
in 1978 to record a series of singles (the first on independent
Chiswick Records Chiswick Records was a British independent record label. Established in 1975, Chiswick was the "first true 'Independent record label, indie' label to be established in Britain for nearly a decade". The label has been described as "significant" ...
) which did not receive wide exposure. After a period of gigging in Northamptonshire and London, they returned to Barking and split in 1980. Taking a series of odd jobs including working at Guy Norris' record shop in Barking high street. Bragg became disillusioned with his stalled music career and in May 1981 joined the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' us ...
as a recruit destined for the
Queen's Royal Irish Hussars The Queen's Royal Irish Hussars, abbreviated as QRIH, was a Cavalry regiments of the British Army, cavalry regiment of the British Army formed from the amalgamation of the 4th Queen's Own Hussars and the 8th King's Royal Irish Hussars in 1958. Th ...
of the
Royal Armoured Corps The Royal Armoured Corps is the component of the British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdo ...
. After completing three months'
basic training Basic Training may refer to: * ''Basic Training'', a 1971 American documentary directed by Frederick Wiseman Frederick Wiseman (born January 1, 1930) is an American filmmaker, documentarian, and theater director. His work is "devoted primarily t ...
, he bought himself out for £175 and returned home. Bragg peroxided his hair to mark a new phase in his life and began performing frequent concerts and
busking Street performance or busking is the act of performing in public places for gratuity, gratuities. In many countries, the rewards are generally in the form of money but other gratuities such as food, drink or gifts may be given. Street performa ...

busking
around London, playing solo with an electric guitar under the name ''Spy vs Spy'' (after
the strip The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South in Clark County, Nevada Clark County is located in the U.S. state of Nevada. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 1,951,269, with an estimated pop ...
in '' Mad'' magazine). His demo tape initially got no response from the record industry, but by pretending to be a television repair man, he got into the office of
Charisma Records Charisma Records (also known as The Famous Charisma Label) was a British record label founded in 1969 by former journalist Tony Stratton-Smith. He had previously acted as manager for rock bands such as The Nice, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Bonz ...
'
A&R Artists and repertoire (colloquially abbreviated to A&R) is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists (singers, instrumentalists ...
man
Peter Jenner Peter Julian Jenner (born 3 March 1943) is a British music management, music manager and a record producer. Jenner, Andrew King (music manager), Andrew King and the original four members of Pink Floyd were partners in Blackhill Enterprises. Ea ...
. Jenner liked the tape, but the company was near bankruptcy and had no budget to sign new artists. Bragg got an offer to record more demos for music publisher Chappell & Co., so Jenner agreed to release them as a record. '' Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'' (credited to Billy Bragg) was released in July 1983 by Charisma's new imprint, Utility. Hearing DJ
John Peel John Robert Parker Ravenscroft (30 August 1939 – 25 October 2004), known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Typ ...
mention on-air that he was hungry, Bragg rushed to the BBC with a mushroom
biryani Biryani () is a mixed rice dish originating among the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. It is made with Indian spices Indian spices include a variety of spices grown across the Indian subcontinent (a sub-region of South Asia). With ...

biryani
, so Peel played a song from ''Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'' albeit at the wrong speed (since the 12" LP was, unconventionally, cut to play at 45rpm). Peel insisted he would have played the song even without the biryani and later played it at the correct speed. Within months Charisma had been taken over by
Virgin Records Virgin Records is a record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands a ...
and Jenner, who had been made redundant, became Bragg's
manager Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit, non-profit organization, or a government body. It is the art and science of managing resources. Management includes the activities ...
.
Stiff Records Stiff Records is a British independent record label formed in London, England, by Dave Robinson (music executive), Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera (real name Andrew Jakeman). Originally active from 1976 to 1986, the label was reactivated in 2007 ...
' press officer Andy Macdonald – who was setting up his own record label,
Go! Discs Go! Discs was a London-based record label, launched in 1983 from offices in Wendell Road, Shepherd's Bush, by Andy Macdonald and Lesley Symons after he left his job as press officer at Stiff Records and she provided the seed funding. The first ...
– received a copy of ''Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy''. He made Virgin an offer and the album was re-released on Go! Discs in November 1983, at the fixed low price of £2.99. Around this time,
Andy Kershaw Andrew J. G. Kershaw (born 9 November 1959) is an English broadcaster and disc jockey A disc jockey, more commonly abbreviated as DJ, is a person who plays recorded music for an audience. Types of DJs include radio DJs (who host programs on ...
, an early supporter at
Radio Aire Radio Aire was an Independent Local Radio station, serving Leeds and West Yorkshire. The station was merged and relaunched as Greatest Hits Radio Yorkshire, as part of a rebrand, on 1 September 2020. History Radio Aire was launched at 6am ...
in
Leeds Leeds is the largest city in the county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publis ...

Leeds
, was employed by Jenner as Bragg's tour manager. (He later became a
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
DJ and TV presenter, and he and Bragg appeared in an episode of the BBC TV programme ''Great Journeys'' in 1989, in which they travelled the Silver Road from
Potosí Potosí, known as Villa Imperial de Potosí in the colonial period, is the capital city and a municipality of the Department of Potosí in Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plur ...

Potosí
, Bolivia, to the Pacific coast at
Arica Arica ( ; ) is a Communes of Chile, commune and a port city with a population of 222,619 in the Arica Province of northern Chile's Arica y Parinacota Region. It is Chile's northernmost city, being located only south of the border with Peru. The c ...

Arica
, Chile.) Though never released as a Bragg single, album track and live favourite "
A New England "A New England" is a song written and recorded by Billy Bragg Stephen William Bragg (born 20 December 1957) is an English singer-songwriter and left-wing Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitar ...
", with an additional verse, became a Top 10 hit in the UK for
Kirsty MacColl Kirsty Anna MacColl (10 October 1959 – 18 December 2000) was a British singer and songwriter. She recorded several pop hits in the 1980s and 1990s, including "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" and cover versions of Billy ...
in January 1985. Since MacColl's early death, Bragg always sings the extra verse live in her honour. In 1984, he released ''
Brewing Up with Billy Bragg ''Brewing Up with Billy Bragg'' is the second album by Billy Bragg, released in 1984. While his debut album ''Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'' (1983) was performed by Bragg accompanied only by his guitar, ''Brewing Up with Billy Bragg'' began to u ...
'', a mixture of political songs (e.g. "It Says Here") and songs of unrequited love (e.g. "The Saturday Boy"). This was followed in 1985 by ''
Between the Wars In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War on 11 November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War on 1 September 1939. Despite the relatively short period ...
'', an EP of political songs that included a cover version of
Leon Rosselson Leon Rosselson (born 22 June 1934, Harrow, London, Harrow, Middlesex, England) is an English songwriter and writer of children's books. After his early involvement in the folk music revival in Britain, he came to prominence, singing his own sati ...
's "
The World Turned Upside Down "The World Turned Upside Down" is an England, English ballad. It was first published on a Broadside (printing), broadside in the middle of the 1640s as a protest against the policies of Parliament of England, Parliament relating to the celebra ...
". The EP made the Top 20 of the
UK Singles Chart The UK Singles Chart (currently titled Official Singles Chart, with the upper section more commonly known as the Official UK Top 40) is compiled by the Official Charts Company The Official Charts Company (previously known as the Chart Inf ...
and earned Bragg an appearance on ''
Top of the Pops ''Top of the Pops'' (''TOTP'') is a British music chart A record chart, in the music industry The music industry consists of the individuals and organizations that earn money by Musical composition, writing songs and musical composit ...
'', singing the title track. Bragg later collaborated with Rosselson on the song, "Ballad of a Spycatcher". In the same year, he embarked on his first tour of North America, with Wiggy as tour manager, supporting
Echo & the Bunnymen Echo & the Bunnymen are an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1978. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch (singer), Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson. By 1980, Pete de Freitas ...
. The tour began in Washington D.C. and ended in Los Angeles. On the same trip, in New York, Bragg unveiled his "Portastack", a self-contained, mobile PA system weighing 35 lbs (designed for £500 by engineer Kenny Jones), the wearing of which became an archetypal image of the singer at that time. With it, he was able to busk outside the
New Music Seminar The New Music Seminar (NMS) is a Music Conference and Festival held annually each June in New York City. The New Music Seminar originally ran from 1980 to 1995 and was relaunched in 2009. NMS features over 150 CEOs and other executives, president ...
, a record industry conference.


Late 1980s and early 1990s

In 1986 Bragg released '' Talking with the Taxman About Poetry'', which became his first Top 10 album. Its title is taken from a poem by
Vladimir Mayakovsky Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (, ; rus, Влади́мир Влади́мирович Маяко́вский, , vlɐˈdʲimʲɪr vlɐˈdʲimʲɪrəvʲɪtɕ məjɪˈkofskʲɪj, Ru-Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky.ogg, links=y; – 14 Apr ...

Vladimir Mayakovsky
and a translated version of the poem was printed on the record's inner sleeve. '' Back to Basics'' is a 1987 collection of his first three releases: ''Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'', ''Brewing Up with Billy Bragg'', and ''Between the Wars''. He enjoyed his only Number 1 hit single in May 1988, a cover of
the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...

the Beatles
' "
She's Leaving Home "She's Leaving Home" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid ...
", a shared A-side with
Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet are a Scottish soft rock band formed in 1982. They scored a number of hits in the UK charts and around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. The band is composed of Graeme Clark (musician), Graeme Clark (bass, vocals), Tommy Cunningham ...
's "
With a Little Help from My Friends "With a Little Help from My Friends" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1967 album ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band''. It was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and sung by drummer Ringo Starr, his lead voc ...
". Both were taken from a multi-artist re-recording of ''
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'' is the eighth studio album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded ...
'' titled '' Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father'' coordinated by the ''
NME ''New Musical Express'' (''NME'') is a British music, film and culture website and brand. Founded as a newspaper in 1952, with the publication being referred to as a 'rock inkie', the NME would become a magazine that ended up as a free publi ...
'' in aid of the charity
Childline Childline is a counselling service for children and Adolescence, young people up to their 19th birthday in the United Kingdom provided by the NSPCC. They deal with any issues which cause distress or concern; some of the most common issues include ...
. Wet Wet Wet's cover dominated radio airplay and its video was shown over three consecutive weeks on ''Top of the Pops''; in week four, Bragg went on the programme to play his cover, with regular accompanist
Cara Tivey Cara Tivey is an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured ...
on piano. Bragg released his fourth album, '' Workers Playtime'', in September 1988. With this album, Bragg added a full backing band and accompaniment, including Tivey on piano,
Danny Thompson Daniel Henry Edward Thompson (born 4 April 1939) is an English multi-instrumentalist best known as a double bassist. He has had a long musical career playing with a large variety of other musicians, particularly Richard Thompson (musician), Ri ...
on double bass and veteran
Micky Waller Michael Waller (6 September 1941 – 29 April 2008) was an English drummer, who played with many of the biggest names on the UK rock and blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some piece ...
on drums. Wiggy earned a co-production credit with
Joe Boyd Joe Boyd (born August 5, 1942) is an American record producer A record producer is a recording project's creative and technical leader, commanding studio time and coaching artists, and in popular genres typically creates the song's very sound ...
. In May 1990 Bragg released the political
mini-LP A mini-LP or mini-album is a short vinyl record album or LP, usually retailing at a lower price than an album that would be considered full-length. It is distinct from an EP due to containing more tracks and a slightly longer running length. A ...
''
The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second International adopted it as its official anthe ...
'' on his and Jenner's own short-lived label Utility, which operated independently of Go! Discs, to which Bragg was still contracted. The songs were, in part, a return to his solo guitar style, but some featured more complicated arrangements and included a
brass band A brass band is a generally consisting entirely of s, most often with a percussion section. Ensembles that include brass and s can in certain traditions also be termed brass bands (particularly in the context of –style brass bands), but may mo ...
. The album paid tribute to one of Bragg's influences with the song, "I Dreamed I Saw
Phil Ochs Philip David Ochs (; December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American songwriter and protest song, protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer). Ochs was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, political activism, often alliterati ...
Last Night", which is an adapted version of
Earl Robinson Earl Hawley Robinson (July 2, 1910 – July 20, 1991) was a composer, arranger and folk music singer-songwriter from Seattle, Washington. Robinson is remembered for his music, including the cantata "Ballad for Americans" and songs such as "Joe ...
's song, " I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night", itself an adaptation of a poem by Alfred Hayes. Though the album only reached Number 34 in the UK Charts, Bragg described it as "a reassertion of my rights as an individual ... and a childish two fingers o Go! Discs boss Andy Macdonald, who'd recently signed a distribution deal with entertainment industry giant PolyGram" His sixth studio album '' Don't Try This at Home'' was recorded in the shadow of the build-up to the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a war waged by coalition forces The term "coalition" is the denotation for a group formed when two or more people, factions, states, political parties, militaries etc. agree to work together temporarily in a partnership t ...
and subsequent ground war, inspiring the track "Rumours of War". Although there is social comment ("The Few", "North Sea Bubble"), it was intended as a more commercial pop album, released in September 1991. (Bragg called it "a very long-range attempt to convert the ball between the posts."). The first single was the upbeat "
Sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves Human sexual activity, sexually. This involves biological, erotic, Physical intimacy, physical, Emotional intimacy, emotional, social, or Spirituality, spiritual feelings and ...
", which, despite an accessible video and a dance remix on the B-side, only reached Number 27 on the
UK Singles Chart The UK Singles Chart (currently titled Official Singles Chart, with the upper section more commonly known as the Official UK Top 40) is compiled by the Official Charts Company The Official Charts Company (previously known as the Chart Inf ...
. Following overtures by rival label
Chrysalis A pupa ( la, pupa, "doll"; plural: ''pupae'') is the life stage of some insects undergoing transformation between immature and mature stages. Insects that go through a pupal stage are Holometabolism, holometabolous: they go through four distinc ...
, Bragg and Jenner had been persuaded by Go! Discs' Andy and Juliet Macdonald to sign a four-album deal for a million pound advance; in return he would promote the album with singles and videos. A more commercial sound and aggressive marketing had no appreciable effect on album sales, and after a grueling, 13-month world tour with a full band (the Red Stars, led by Wiggy), and a period of forced convalescence after an
appendicitis Appendicitis is inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living ...

appendicitis
, Bragg left Go! Discs in summer 1992, paying back the remainder of his advance in return for all rights to his back catalogue.


Late 1990s and 2000s

Bragg released the album ''
William Bloke ''William Bloke'' is the seventh album by alternative folk artist Billy Bragg, released in 1996, five years after his last studio album. The lyrics to "Puck of Pook's Hill#"A Pict Song", A Pict Song" are by English poet Rudyard Kipling. The lyr ...
'' in 1996 after taking time off to help new partner Juliet Wills raise their son Jack. (There is a reference to him in the track "Brickbat": "Now you'll find me with the baby, in the bathroom.") After the ambitious instrumentation of '' Don't Try This at Home'', it was a simpler record, musically, more personal and even spiritual, lyrically (its title a pun on the name of 18th-century English poet
William Blake William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his life, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the Romantic poetry, poetry and visual art of t ...

William Blake
, who is referenced in the song "Upfield"). Around that time,
Nora Guthrie Nora Lee Guthrie (born January 2, 1950) is the daughter of American folk musician and singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie and his second wife Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, sister of singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie, and granddaughter of renowned Yiddish poe ...
(daughter of American folk artist
Woody Guthrie Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (; July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and one of the most significant figures in American folk music The term American folk music encompasses numerous music genres, variously know ...

Woody Guthrie
) asked Bragg to set some of her father's unrecorded lyrics to music. The result was a collaboration with the band
Wilco Wilco is an American alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popul ...

Wilco
and
Natalie Merchant Natalie Anne Merchant (born October 26, 1963) is an American alternative rock singer-songwriter. She joined the band 10,000 Maniacs in 1981, and was lead vocalist and primary lyricist for the group. She remained with the group for their first s ...

Natalie Merchant
(with whom Bragg had worked previously). They released the album ''
Mermaid Avenue ''Mermaid Avenue'' is a 1998 album of previously unheard lyrics written by United States, American folk music, folk singer Woody Guthrie, put to music written and performed by United Kingdom, British singer Billy Bragg and the American band Wi ...
'' in 1998, and '' Mermaid Avenue Vol. II'' in 2000. The first album was nominated for a
Grammy The Grammy Award (stylized as GRAMMY, originally called Gramophone Award), or just Grammy, is an award presented by the US Recording Academy to recognize "Outstanding Achievement in the music industry The music industry consists of the i ...
in the Best Contemporary Folk Album category. A third batch, ''Mermaid Avenue Vol III'', and ''The Complete Sessions'' followed in 2012 to mark Woody Guthrie's centennial. A rift with Wilco over mixing and sequencing the first album led to Bragg recruiting his own band, The Blokes, to promote the album live. The Blokes included keyboardist
Ian McLagan Ian Patrick McLagan (; 12 May 1945 – 3 December 2014) was an English keyboard instrumentalist, best known as a member of the English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggr ...

Ian McLagan
, who had been a member of Bragg's boyhood heroes
The Faces Faces are an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of Small Faces Small Faces were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineralo ...
. The documentary film ''
Man in the Sand ''Man in the Sand'' is a 1999 music documentary that chronicles the collaboration between Billy Bragg and Wilco, which involved the musicians creating new music to accompany lyrics that were written decades earlier by folk singer Woody Guthrie. ...
'' depicts the roles of Nora Guthrie, Bragg, and Wilco in the creation of the ''Mermaid Avenue'' albums. A developing interest in
English national identity A national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one or more states or to one or more nations A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language A language is a structured syst ...
, driven by the rise of the BNP and his own move from London to rural
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...

Dorset
in 1999, informed his 2002 album ''
England, Half-English ''England, Half-English'' is a 2002 album by English political singer-songwriter Billy Bragg and The Blokes, and a song from that album. The song is about racism in England and the anti-immigration feelings and racist abuse of asylum seekers ...
'' (whose single, "Take Down The Union Jack" put him back on ''
Top of the Pops ''Top of the Pops'' (''TOTP'') is a British music chart A record chart, in the music industry The music industry consists of the individuals and organizations that earn money by Musical composition, writing songs and musical composit ...
'' in the Queen's Golden Jubilee year) and his 2006 book ''The Progressive Patriot''. The book expressed his view that English socialists can reclaim patriotism from the right wing. He draws on Victorian poet
Rudyard Kipling Joseph Rudyard Kipling ( ; 30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)''The Times ''The Times'' is a British daily Daily or The Daily may refer to: Journalism * Daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical pub ...

Rudyard Kipling
for an inclusive sense of Englishness. In 2007 Bragg moved closer to his English folk music roots by joining the
WOMAD WOMAD ( ; World of Music, Arts and Dance) is an international arts festival An arts festival is a festival that can encompass a wide range of art forms including music, dance, film, fine art, literature, poetry and isn't solely focused on ...
-inspired collective
The Imagined Village The Imagined Village was a folk music project founded by Simon Emmerson of Afro Celt Sound System. It was intended to produce modern folk music that represented modern multiculturalism in the United Kingdom and as such, featured musicians from ...
, who recorded an album of updated versions of traditional English songs and dances and toured through that autumn. In December Bragg previewed tracks from his forthcoming album '' Mr. Love & Justice'' at a one-off evening of music and conversation to mark his 50th birthday at London's
South Bank South Bank is an entertainment and commercial district in central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and ...

South Bank
. The album was released in March 2008, the second Bragg album to be named after a book by
Colin MacInnes Colin MacInnes (20 August 1914 – 22 April 1976) was an English novelist and journalist. Early life MacInnes was born in London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just ca ...
after ''England, Half-English''. The same year, during the
NME Awards The NME Awards is an annual music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), ...
ceremony, Bragg sang a duet with British solo act
Kate Nash Kate Marie Nash (born 6 July 1987) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and actress. Nash launched her music career in 2005. Her 2007 single "Foundations (song), Foundations" became a hit and brought her to public attention in the UK. Her ...

Kate Nash
. They mixed up two of their greatest hits, Nash playing " Foundations", and Bragg redoing "A New England". Also in 2008, Bragg played a small role in Stuart Bamforth's film ''A13: Road Movie''. In 2009, Bragg was invited by London's
South Bank South Bank is an entertainment and commercial district in central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and ...

South Bank
to write new lyrics for "
Ode to Joy "Ode to Joy" (German language, German: , literally "To Joy") is an ode written in the summer of 1785 in literature, 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in ''Thalia (magazine), ...
", the final movement of 's Ninth Symphony (original libretto by
Friedrich Schiller Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (, short: ; 10 November 17599 May 1805) was a Germans, German playwright, poet, and philosopher. During the last seventeen years of his life (1788–1805), Schiller developed a productive, if complicated, ...

Friedrich Schiller
), since adopted as an international anthem of unity. The London Philharmonic Orchestra performed it at the Royal Festival Hall in front of
the Queen In the United Kingdom and fourteen other Commonwealth Realms, The Queen refers to: * Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly ...

the Queen
and Bragg met her afterwards to earn "brownie points" with his mother, also in attendance.


2010s

He was involved in the play ''Pressure Drop'' at the
Wellcome Collection Wellcome Collection is a museum and library based at 183 Euston Road, London, displaying a mixture of medical artefacts and original artworks exploring "ideas about the connections between medicine, life and art". Founded in 2007, the Wellcome C ...
in London in April and May 2010. The production, written by Mick Gorden, and billed as "part play, part gig, part installation", featured new songs by Bragg. He performed during the play with his band, and acted as compere. Bragg was invited by
Michael Eavis Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis (born 17 October 1935) is an English dairy farmer and the co-creator of the Glastonbury Festival, which takes place at his farm in Pilton, Somerset. Personal life Eavis was born in Pilton, Somerset and grew up ...
to curate the Leftfield stage at
Glastonbury Festival Glastonbury Festival (formally Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts and known colloquially as Glasto) is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, in England. In addition to conte ...

Glastonbury Festival
in 2010, which he has continued to do in subsequent years. He also took part in the
Bush Theatre The Bush Theatre is located in the Passmore Edwards Public Library, Shepherd's Bush Shepherd's Bush is a district of West London West London is the western part of London, England. The area lies north of the River Thames and extends fro ...
's 2011 project ''
Sixty-Six Books ''Sixty-Six Books'' was a set of plays premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in 2011, to mark the theatre's reopening on a new site and the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. It drew its title from the 66 Protestant Bible, books of the ...
'', where he wrote a piece based upon a book of the
King James Bible The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an English translations of the Bible, English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England, which was commissioned in 1604 and publ ...
. Bragg performed a set of the Guthrie songs that he had set to music for ''Mermaid Avenue'' during the Hay Literary Festival in June 2012, he also performed the same set on the Friday night of the 2012 Cambridge Folk Festival. On 18 March 2013, five years after ''Mr. Love & Justice'', Bragg released the studio album '' Tooth & Nail''. Recorded in five days at the home studio of musician/producer
Joe Henry Joseph Lee Henry (born December 2, 1960) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. He has released 15 studio albums and produced multiple recordings for other artists, including three Grammy Award-winning albums. Early life H ...
in South Pasadena it featured 11 original songs, including one written for the Bush Theatre and a Woody Guthrie cover. Stylistically, it continued to explore genres of
Americana Americana artifacts are related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a ...
and
Alternative country Alternative country, or alternative country rock (sometimes alt-country, insurgent country, or Americana Americana artifacts are related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America Th ...
, a natural progression since ''Mermaid Avenue''. The album was a commercial success, becoming his best charting record since 1991's ''Don't Try This at Home''. In February 2014, Bragg started a series of "radio shows" on
Spotify Spotify (Help:IPA/English, /ˈspɒtɪfaɪ/; Swedish: Help:IPA/Swedish, spɔ̂tːɪfaj, is a Sweden, Swedish Streaming media, audio streaming and media services provider, founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek. Spotify is incorporated in Luxembourg a ...

Spotify
, in which he talked listeners through self-curated playlists of "his favourite tracks and artists, and uncovering some little-known musical gems." On 14 April 2014, Bragg put out ''Live at the Union Chapel'', a souvenir album and DVD of a show he played on 5 June 2013 at the in London, featuring songs from ''Tooth & Nail'' as well as favourites from his back catalogue. In February 2016, Bragg was given the Trailblazer Award at the inaugural Americana Music Association UK Awards in London. Following that, in September he was given the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award at the Americana Music Association US Awards in Nashville. In August 2016, Bragg released his eleventh album, a collaboration with Joe Henry, '' Shine a Light: Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad'', recorded at various points on a journey between
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
and Los Angeles by train in March. It reached number 28 in the UK Album Charts and number one in the UK Americana album chart. The pair started a dual ''Shine a Light'' tour at the Americana Music Festival and Conference, Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville in September 2016, and taking them across the United States of America, States and Canada, the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, Ireland. In April 2017, they played in Australia. Faber and Faber, Faber published Bragg's second nonfiction book (after 2013's ''The Progressive Patriot''), ''Roots, Radicals and Rockers'' in June 2016, a history of the British skiffle movement, tracing the form from its 1950s boom back to ragtime, blues, jazz and American
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
. On
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
Music Day 2017, he helped unveil a blue plaque marking the studio (Trident) where the late David Bowie recorded two classic albums and the single ''Space Oddity'', in Soho; he joined album sleeve designer George Underwood and BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms. In November, he released all six tracks from the mini-album ''Bridges Not Walls'' as downloads through the Billy Bragg website, followed by the single ''Full English Brexit'' through Cooking Vinyl. In April 2018, Bragg was invited to deliver a Bank of England Flagship Seminar; his presentation was titled ''Accountability: the Antidote to Authoritarianism''. The speech was made available on the Bank of England's website. At the Ivor Novello Awards (''the Ivors'') in May, he accepted the PRS for Music, PRS Outstanding Contribution to British Music award. Also in May, his official biography ''Still Suitable for Miners'' was published in a new, 20th anniversary updated edition. He ended 2018 touring New Zealand and Australia. In Auckland, he road-tested a new live format for 2019 (first tried out in Toronto), ''One Step Forward, Two Steps Back''. The idea was to play three consecutive shows over three nights at each venue: the first night a current, mixed Bragg set; the second from his first three albums; the third from his second three albums. "It’s a way of keeping things interesting," he said. The tour would cover the United States and the UK and Ireland throughout 2019. In May, Faber and Faber published ''The Three Dimensions of Freedom'', a short polemic by Bragg intended, according to the publisher's blurb, to "protect ourselves from encroaching tyranny." The author urges readers to "look beyond one-dimensional notion of what it means to be free" and "by reconnecting liberty to equality and accountability, restore ... the three dimensions of freedom."


Politics and activism

For all of Bragg's 30-year-plus recording career he has been involved with grassroots, broadly leftist, political movements, and this is often reflected in his lyrics. He has also recorded and performed cover versions of famous socialist anthems such as "The Internationale" and "The Red Flag". Bragg said in an interview: "I don't mind being labelled a political songwriter. The thing that troubles me is being dismissed as a political songwriter." Bragg has cited
the Clash The Clash were an English rock music, rock band formed in London in 1976 who were key players in the original wave of British punk rock. Billed as "The Only Band That Matters", they also contributed to the and new wave music, new wave movemen ...
as a strong influence on his politically-themed material and activism:
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 Another Day in Paradise, 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.


From 1983 to 1997

Bragg's politics were focused by the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party's 144-seat majority landslide at the 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983 general election. He told his biographer, "By 1983, the scales had fallen from my eyes." His record label boss Andy Macdonald observed that "his presence onstage took on more of the avenging angel." Bragg was at the forefront of music's influence on the UK miners' strike (1984-1985), 1984 miners' strike, and played many benefit gigs in towns close to coalfields such as Newport and Sunderland. He also released an EP during this year titled "Between the Wars", which connected struggles of class solidarity to the present issue. This single was his most successful up until this point, reaching number 15 on the charts. The following year, after playing a short Labour Party (UK), Labour Party-sponsored Jobs For Youth tour, he joined other like-minded activists in the public eye to form the musicians' alliance Red Wedge, which promoted Labour's cause – and in turn lobbied the party on youth issues – in the run-up to the 1987 United Kingdom general election, 1987 general election, with a national tour in 1986 alongside The Style Council, Jerry Dammers and The Communards. Bragg travelled twice to the Soviet Union in 1986, the year Mikhail Gorbachev started to promote the policies of perestroika and glasnost. He played a gig in Leningrad, and the Festival of Song in the Struggle for Peace in Kiev. On 12 June 1987, the night after Labour lost that year's general election, Bragg appeared on a After Dark (TV series)#Teresa Gorman and "Is Britain Working?", notable edition of the Channel 4 discussion programme ''After Dark (TV series), After Dark'', alongside David Selbourne, Teresa Gorman and Hilary Hook among others. ''The Independent'' wrote "A show called ''Is Britain Working?'' brought together victorious Tory MP Teresa Gorman; ...Helen from the Stonehenge Peace Convoy, Convoy; old colonialist Colonel Hilary Hook... and Adrian, one of the jobless. It was a perfect example of the chemistry you can get. There were unlikely alliances (Bragg and Hook)"''The Independent'', 19 February 1988. Later Gorman "stormed off the set, claiming she had been misled about the nature of the programme"Maggie Brown, ''A Licence To Be Different'', BFI, 2007. "She told...Bragg: 'You and your kind are finished. We are the future now.'" Bragg said "I sing in smokey rooms every night and I can keep talking for far longer than you can Teresa". Bragg explained later: "She was so smug. And because she was Essex I took it personally. Then she accused me of being a fine example of Thatcherism."


Labour in government

In 1999, he was invited to appear before a commission that debated possible reform of the House of Lords, at which he put forward what became known as "the Bragg Method": the arrangement of the Upper House to proportionally reflect the results of a general election. "Trying to make it sexy is impossible," he said. At the time of the 2001 United Kingdom general election, 2001 general election, Bragg promoted tactical voting in an attempt to unseat Conservative Party candidates in his adopted home county
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...

Dorset
, particularly in South Dorset (UK Parliament constituency), South Dorset and West Dorset (UK Parliament constituency), West Dorset. The Conservatives did indeed narrowly lose South Dorset to the Labour Party. Bragg has been an opponent of fascism, racism, bigotry, sexism and homophobia, and is a supporter of a multi-racial Britain. As a result, he has conflicted with far-right groups such as the British National Party (BNP). In a 2004 ''The Guardian'' article, Bragg was quoted as saying:
The British National Party would probably make it into a parliament elected by proportional representation, too. It would shine a torch into the dirty little corner where the BNP defecate on our democracy, and that would be much more powerful than duffing them up in the street – which I'm also in favour of.
During the 2005 United Kingdom general election, 2005 general election campaign in the Bethnal Green and Bow (UK Parliament constituency), Bethnal Green and Bow constituency, Bragg endorsed Oona King, the Labour Party's pro-Iraq War candidate, over George Galloway, the left-wing socialist anti-war candidate from the Respect Party; due to a belief that splitting the left-wing vote would allow the Conservatives to win the seat. Galloway overturned King's 10,000-strong majority to become the Respect Party's only MP. At the
NME Awards The NME Awards is an annual music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), ...
in 2007, on the fifth anniversary of Joe Strummer's death, Bragg founded Jail Guitar Doors (taking its name from a Jail Guitar Doors, song by the Clash), an organisation aimed at supplying instruments to prisons and encouraging prisoners to address problems in a non-confrontational way. An American chapter of the organisation was launched in 2009 by MC5's Wayne Kramer (guitarist), Wayne Kramer. In January 2010, Bragg stated his intention to withhold his income tax as a protest against the Royal Bank of Scotland's plan to pay bonuses of approximately of £1,500,000,000 to staff in its investment banking business. Bragg set up a Facebook group, made appearances on radio and television news programmes, and made a speech at Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park, London, Hyde Park saying, "Millions are already facing stark choices: are they willing to work longer hours for less money, or would they rather be unemployed? I don’t see why the bankers at RBS shouldn’t be asked the same."


From 2010 to 2014

In the 2010 general election, Bragg supported the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats because "they've got the best manifesto". Bragg was also very active in his hometown of
Barking Barking may refer to: Places * Barking, London Barking is a district of East London East London is a popularly and informally defined part of London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at th ...
as part of Searchlight (magazine), ''Searchlight'' magazine's Hope not Hate campaign, where the BNP's leader Nick Griffin was standing for election. At one point during the campaign Bragg squared up to BNP London Assembly, London Assembly Member Richard Barnbrook, calling him a "Fascist racist" and saying "when you're gone from this borough, we will rebuild this community". The BNP came third on election day. In January 2011, news sources reported that 20 to 30 residents of Bragg's Dorset hometown, Burton Bradstock, had received anonymous letters viciously attacking him and his politics, and urging residents to oppose him in the village. He claimed that a BNP supporter was behind the letters, which argued that Bragg is a hypocrite for advocating socialism while living a wealthy lifestyle, and referred to him as anti-British and pro-immigration. In July 2011 Bragg joined the growing protests over the News of the World phone hacking affair with the release of his "Never Buy the Sun" single, which references many of the scandal's key points including the Milly Dowler case, police bribes and associated political fallout. It also draws on the 22-year Liverpool boycott of ''The Sun'' for their coverage of the Hillsborough Disaster. In October 2011, Bragg joined the Occupy Movement protests in the City of London. In 2013, despite his scathing criticism of Margaret Thatcher, he urged people not to celebrate the death of the former Conservative Prime Minister:
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!
In 2014, Bragg joined the March in March anti-government protests in Sydney, Australia. In June 2014, Bragg joined other musicians (including Radiohead's Ed O'Brien) in backing a call for the EU to intervene in a dispute between YouTube and independent labels. According to a BBC News report, the video-streaming site was offering "non-negotiable contracts" to its planned,
Spotify Spotify (Help:IPA/English, /ˈspɒtɪfaɪ/; Swedish: Help:IPA/Swedish, spɔ̂tːɪfaj, is a Sweden, Swedish Streaming media, audio streaming and media services provider, founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek. Spotify is incorporated in Luxembourg a ...

Spotify
-like music-subscription service to labels such as XL Recordings, 4AD, Cooking Vinyl and Domino Recording Company, Domino "accompanied by the threat that music videos they have posted to their YouTube channels will be blocked from site altogether if they do not agree to the terms." Bragg supports both Scottish independence, Scottish and Welsh independence. In 2014, after David Bowie spoke in favour of Scotland remaining part of the UK, Bragg said, "Bowie's intervention encourages people in England to discuss the issues of the independence referendum, and I think English people should be discussing it, so I welcome his intervention." Bragg was a vocal supporter of Scottish independence during the campaign prior to 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the referendum on 18 September 2014. Bragg wrote an article for the ''Guardian'' publication on 16 September, in which he addressed the objections he had previously received from people who conflated Scottish nationalism with the far-right ethos of the BNP. He described the independence campaign as "civic nationalism" and his opinion piece concluded:
Support for Scottish self-determination might not fit neatly into any leftwing pigeonhole, but it does chime with an older progressive tradition that runs deep in English history – a dogged determination to hold the over-mighty to account. If, during the constitutional settlement that will follow the referendum, we in England can rediscover our Roundhead tradition, we might yet counter our historic weakness for ethnic nationalism with an outpouring of civic engagement that creates a fairer society for all.


2015 to present

Bragg was one of several celebrities who endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party of England and Wales, Green Party's Caroline Lucas at the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015 general election. In August 2015, Bragg endorsed 2015 Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership campaign, Jeremy Corbyn's campaign in the 2015 Labour Party (UK) leadership election, Labour Party leadership election. He said: "His [Corbyn's] success so far shows you how bland our politics have become, in the aim of winning those swing voters in middle England the Labour Party (UK), Labour Party has lost touch with its roots. We live in a time of austerity and what you want from that is not more austerity, you want compassion." On an edition of ''Question Time (TV series), Question Time'' in October 2015, he said that Corbyn represents a political "urge for change" and that Ed Miliband had failed to win the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015 general election because Miliband and the party followed "the old way of doing things". In 2016, Bragg, along with numerous other celebrities, toured the UK to support Corbyn's bid to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister. He also voiced his support for Remain in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 EU referendum. In August 2016, ''The Times'' reported that at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, Bragg had said: "I worry about Jeremy that he's a kind of twentieth century Labour man", and that "we need to be reaching out to people". Described as a "previously loyal supporter", who has "lent his support to Mr Corbyn on numerous occasions since he became Labour leader", ''The Times'' quoted Bragg: "I don't have a simple answer. My hope is that the party does not split and that we resolve this stalemate". Corbyn at the time was campaigning in an enforced 2016 Labour Party (UK) leadership election, second leadership election in the summer of 2016. After ''The Times'' article appeared, the singer tweeted that he had "joined the long list of people stitched up by the Rupert Murdoch, Murdoch papers" and accused the ''Times'' of "twisting my words to attack Corbyn", urging "don’t let Murdoch sow discord". ''The Guardian'' reproduced a quote from a recording of the event absent from ''The Times'' article: "It's a challenge. Labour has fires to fight on different fronts. This would be happening even without Corbyn if any of the other candidates had won last year, these problems would still be there". In August 2016, Bragg also endorsed Jeremy Corbyn's 2015 Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party leadership campaign, campaign in the 2015 Labour Party (UK) leadership election, Labour Party leadership election. During the 2017 United Kingdom general election, general election campaign in May 2017, Bragg added his signature to a letter published in ''The Guardian'' calling for Labour to withdraw its candidates in two constituencies; Brighton Pavilion (UK Parliament constituency), Brighton Pavilion and the Isle of Wight (UK Parliament constituency), Isle of Wight and potentially allowing the Green Party of England and Wales, Green Party to defeat the Conservative Party (UK), Tories in both, where Labour were running second. The letter was also signed by Labour MP Clive Lewis MP, Clive Lewis, former policy chief Jon Cruddas, former shadow children's minister Tulip Siddiq and journalists Paul Mason (journalist), Paul Mason and Owen Jones (writer), Owen Jones. The initiative was shut down by Jeremy Corbyn. In June 2019, Bragg publicly criticised fellow singer-songwriter Morrissey for his recent political comments and endorsement of a far-right politics, far-right political party, and accused him of dragging the legacy of Johnny Marr and the Smiths "through the dirt". In November 2019, Bragg endorsed the Labour Party in the 2019 United Kingdom general election, 2019 UK general election.


Bibliography

* * * *


Discography

*'' Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'' (1983) *''
Brewing Up with Billy Bragg ''Brewing Up with Billy Bragg'' is the second album by Billy Bragg, released in 1984. While his debut album ''Life's a Riot with Spy vs Spy'' (1983) was performed by Bragg accompanied only by his guitar, ''Brewing Up with Billy Bragg'' began to u ...
'' (1984) *'' Talking with the Taxman About Poetry'' (1986) *''Workers Playtime (album), Workers Playtime'' (1988) *''
The Internationale "The Internationale" (french: "L'Internationale", italic=no, ) is a left-wing anthem. It has been a standard of the socialism, socialist movement since the late nineteenth century, when the Second International adopted it as its official anthe ...
'' (1990) *'' Don't Try This at Home'' (1991) *''
William Bloke ''William Bloke'' is the seventh album by alternative folk artist Billy Bragg, released in 1996, five years after his last studio album. The lyrics to "Puck of Pook's Hill#"A Pict Song", A Pict Song" are by English poet Rudyard Kipling. The lyr ...
'' (1996) *''
England, Half-English ''England, Half-English'' is a 2002 album by English political singer-songwriter Billy Bragg and The Blokes, and a song from that album. The song is about racism in England and the anti-immigration feelings and racist abuse of asylum seekers ...
'' (2002) (with the Blokes) *''Mr Love & Justice'' (2008) *'' Tooth & Nail'' (2013) *''Bridges Not Walls'' (2017) *''Best of Billy Bragg at the BBC 1983 - 2019'' (2019)


References


Sources

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Further reading

*


External links

* * * * *
Billy Bragg collection
at the Internet Archive's live music archive {{DEFAULTSORT:Bragg, Billy Billy Bragg, 1957 births Living people Alternative rock guitarists Alternative rock singers Anti-corporate activists British alternative rock musicians English anti-fascists English activists English buskers English male singer-songwriters English people of Italian descent English political writers English punk rock guitarists English socialists English tax resisters Folk punk musicians People associated with Oxford Brookes University People from Barking, London People from Dorset English social commentators Labour Party (UK) people Political music artists Wilco English male guitarists Cooking Vinyl artists Dine Alone Records artists Go! Discs Records artists Yep Roc Records artists Charisma Records artists Queen's Royal Irish Hussars soldiers