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Musician Billy Bragg picture(s) (pic) and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Stephen William Bragg.
Born: December 20, 1957 Essex, England, UK.

Stephen William Bragg is known as Billy Bragg, is an English musician renowned for his blend of folk, punk-rock, and protest music, and his lyrics dealing with political as well as romantic themes. He has been active for over 20 years, and has collaborated with many other leading musicians, including Johnny Marr of The Smiths, protest folk singer Leon Rosselson, members of R.E.M., Michelle Shocked, Less Than Jake, Kirsty MacColl, and Wilco. Bragg often plays and speaks at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival.

Bragg was born in the county of Essex, England. He grew up in Barking. Although now living in a small village in Dorset, he is still associated with his London roots and is sometimes known, jocularly, as "the bard of Barking". Bragg is a self-declared West Ham United fan. Attending a comprehensive school, Bragg had an undistinguished educational career. One source states that he excelled only in English. He left school with few qualifications, but determined to do something with his life. He joined his next-door neighbour, "Wiggy", to practice guitar. They would teach each other new riffs from their widening record collection. Their main influences in the early 1970s were The Faces, The Small Faces, The Rolling Stones and eventually, punk (The Clash in particular). In 1977 they formed a punk/pub rock band called Riff Raff and toured London's pubs and clubs. The band also practised in a farm house in Oundle, Northamptonshire, and released a series of singles. However these records did not receive wide exposure and the band failed. He also worked for Low Price Records North Street Barking, Essex.

Following the Riff Raff experience, Bragg became disillusioned with his musical career and joined the British Army as a trooper in the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars of the Royal Armoured Corps in May 1981. This move turned out very quickly not to be the right one for him, but nevertheless acted as an inspiration for his later work. After completing a one-month physical fitness course in Solihull and three months basic training at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire, he bought his way out of the army for 175 and returned home to his mother and his music.

Solo music career:
Bragg turned to tirelessly gigging (and even busking) around London, performing solo with an electric guitar. His demo tape fell initially on deaf ears, but by pretending to be a television repair man he got into the office of Charisma Records' A&R man Peter Jenner. Jenner liked the tape, but the company was near bankruptcy and he had no budget to sign new artists. Bragg had an offer to record more demos for a music publisher, so Jenner agreed to put them out as a record with Bragg's industrious gigging as the only promotion. Life's a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy came out on Charisma's new "Utility" imprint in July 1983. The album was widely received as a demonstration of a promising new talent. Hearing DJ John Peel mention on-air that he was hungry, Bragg rushed to the BBC with a mushroom biryani, and was rewarded when Peel played a track from Life's a Riot, albeit at the wrong speed (since the 12" LP was, unconventionally, cut to play at 45rpm). Peel insisted he would have played the track even without the biryani and later played it at the correct speed.
Within months, Charisma had been taken over by Virgin Records and Jenner, who had been laid off, became Bragg's manager. A copy of Life's a Riot fell into the hands of former Stiff Records press officer Andy Macdonald, who was setting up his own record label, Go! Discs. He made Virgin an offer and the album was re-released on Go! Discs in November. In 1984 he released Brewing Up with Billy Bragg, a mixture of political statements ("It Says Here") and songs of unrequited love ("The Saturday Boy"). The following year he put out Between the Wars, an EP of political songs which included a cover version of Leon Rosselson's Diggers' Song "The World Turned Upside Down". He later collaborated with Rosselson on the song "Ballad of the Spycatcher". Also in 1985, his song "A New England", with an additional verse, became a top ten hit in the UK for Kirsty MacColl. After MacColl's early death, Bragg always sang the extra verse, in her honour. (Back to Basics is a 1987 collection of the first three releases: Life's A Riot With Spy Vs. Spy, Brewing Up with Billy Bragg, and the EP Between The Wars.)
He went on tour abroad. On September 30, 1985 he was at the "Zeche Bochum", Germany. In 1986 Bragg released his "difficult third album", Talking with the Taxman about Poetry. Its title is taken from a poem by Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, which was printed in translation on the inner sleeve. Taxman was well received, and with promotion from the single "Levi Stubbs' Tears", gave Bragg his first top ten album. September 1988 saw the release of his fourth album, Workers Playtime. This was a drastic move for Bragg, dropping his solo guitar for a backing band and accompaniment. In May 1990, Bragg released a neo-political mini-LP, entitled The Internationale. The songs were, in part, a return to his solo guitar style but other tracks featured more complicated arrangements, including brass bands. The album also paid tribute to one of Bragg's influences in "I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night". This was an adapted version of "I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night".
Don't Try This at Home was released in September 1991 and included his best known hit at the time "Sexuality" which was released as a single and made it into the UK charts. Bragg had been persuaded by Go! Discs bosses Andy and Juliet Macdonald to sign to a new four-album deal with a million pound advance, and to promote the album with singles and videos. This gamble was not rewarded with extra sales, and put the company in difficulty. In exchange for ending the contract and repaying a large amount of the advance, Bragg regained all rights to his back catalogue. Bragg continued to promote the album with his backing band the Red Stars, which included his Riff-Raff colleague and long-time roadie, Wiggy.
Bragg released the album William Bloke in 1996 after taking time off to help raise his son. Around that time, Nora Guthrie (daughter of American folk artist Woody Guthrie) asked Bragg to set some of her father's unrecorded lyrics to music. The result was a collaboration with the band Wilco, with a contribution from Natalie Merchant (with whom Bragg had worked previously). The result was Mermaid Avenue, released in 1998, and Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, released in 2000. A rift with Wilco over mixing and sequencing of the album led to Bragg recruiting his own band, The Blokes, to promote the album. The Blokes include keyboardist Ian McLagan, who had been a member of Bragg's boyhood heroes The Faces. At the 2005 Beautiful Days Festival in Devon, Bragg teamed up with the Levellers to perform a short set of songs by The Clash in celebration of Joe Strummer's birthday. Bragg played guitar and supplied lead vocals on Police and Thieves, and provided guitar and backing vocals on "English Civil War" and "Police on my Back".
Wilco and Billy Bragg MermaidAvenue album cover
Wilco and Billy Bragg MermaidAvenue album cover
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Billy Bragg : p11163erlc0
Billy Bragg : p11163erlc0
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Billy Bragg - Workers Playtime album cover
Billy Bragg  - Workers Playtime album cover
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Billy Bragg - Brewing up with Billy Bragg album cover
Billy Bragg  - Brewing up with Billy Bragg album cover
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Billy Bragg - Life s a riot with spy vs spy album cover
Billy Bragg  - Life s a riot with spy vs spy album cover
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Billy Bragg - England, Half English album cover
Billy Bragg  - England, Half English album cover
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Billy Bragg - Talking with the Taxman About Poetry album cover
Billy Bragg  - Talking with the Taxman About Poetry album cover
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Billy Bragg - The Internationale album cover
Billy Bragg  - The Internationale album cover
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Billy Bragg - Mermaid Avenue album cover
Billy Bragg - Mermaid Avenue album cover
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Billy Bragg - Mermaid avenue vol 2 album cover
Billy Bragg  - Mermaid avenue vol 2 album cover
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