Quotes by Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

English singer-songwriter

Alive from: 1957-

Category: Music | Writers (Contemporary)

Quotes 1 till 14 of 14.

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    All musicians start out with ideals but hanging on to them in the face of media scrutiny takes real integrity. Tougher still is to live up to the ideals of your dedicated fans.
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    All the great political music was made at the height of political confrontations.
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    But, in the end, even a song that's as politically bland as Blowin in the Wind, you probably wouldn't get up and sing that now, whereas some of Bob Dylan's love songs that were contemporary with that, like say Girl from the North Country, you can still get up an play now.
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    By the time I was 19, punk had occurred. It had a completely different cultural dynamic to it which rejected everything and started again from the year zero.
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    Even with politics, stuff comes around again. Woody Guthrie would recognize America today.
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    In that sense, I became politicized because the people in the coal mining villages who were involved in the struggle knew why they were there. But they couldn't understand why some pop star from London would want to be there.
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    It's not a very popular subject amongst my audience, who are by nature more internationalist, but I don't choose what to write about, I don't choose my subjects, they kind of choose me.
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    Most of the people that I went to school with - I went to secondary school - we were educated to go and work in the line at Ford's, and if we were lucky, technical skilled labor. I sort of rejected that, and thought I wanted to do something else.
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    My theory is this; I'm not a political songwriter. I'm an honest songwriter.
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    So, in some ways, the political songs tend to be a bit more like reportage, whereas the love songs tend to be like novels, you can pick them up off the shelf and go into them any time.
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    That taught me one lesson which is that you're naive to believe that bands can change the world. Bands are very naive to think that just if their audience thinks that they can change the world, that they can. That was quite a lesson for my career, really.
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    The most important thing for anyone, I think, is to be engaged, whether you're an artist or a journalist is to be engaged in the process at some level.
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    There are quite a few honest songwriters out there writing about relationships and their own personality traits. But for some reason, once they step out of the bedroom, their honesty doesn't seem to come with them.
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    Were it not for the Clash, punk would have been just a sneer, a safety pin and a pair of bondage trousers.
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