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Billy Bragg Quotes

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.

All the great political music was made at the height of political confrontations.

An isolationist America is no bloody use to anyone.

Being spokesman for a generation is the worst job I ever had.

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.

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.

Even with politics, stuff comes around again. Woody Guthrie would recognize America today.

I came into this whole business by going to see Rock Against Racism gigs with the Clash.

I enjoyed so much working with the guys from Wilco, and riffing off of them, and having someone come up to me with ideas, because normally in the studio it's me who has to come up with all the ideas.

I try and write honestly about what I see around me now.

I was in a little punk band and we put out a few punk records that weren't very political, at all.

I'm still batting away on my politics for the Labour Party. I'm much further to the left of them than I used to be, but that's because they've moved, not me.

I'm trying to make a case for those people who don't have a sense of belonging that they should have, that there is something really worthwhile in having a sense of belonging, and recasting and looking at our modern history.

I've had songs written during the Falklands war, and during the first Gulf war I got letters from soldiers saying they were listening to these songs, like Island of no return.

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.

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.

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.

My theory is this; I'm not a political songwriter. I'm an honest songwriter.

My upbringing was very straightforward suburban working class upbringing.

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.