Meaning of BRAGG, BILLY in English

BRAGG, BILLY

born Dec. 20, 1957, Barking, Essex, Eng. in full Steven William Bragg British singer, songwriter, and guitarist who became a critic's darling and a champion of populist activism in the mid-1980s as he fused the personal and the political in songs of love and conscience. Born into a working-class family in eastern Greater London, Bragg played briefly in a punk band (Riff Raff), then bought his way out of the British army before becoming a modern-day troubadour. Inspired by the Clash, part punk and part folksinger, he banged out songs on his electric guitar on any stage open to him. His debut album, Life's a Riot with Spy vs. Spy, brought critical acclaim, reached the British Top 30, and yielded the hit A New England in 1984. A committed socialist, Bragg played a number of benefit performances during the British miners' strike of 198485. (He later helped form Red Wedge, an organization and tour that supported the Labour Party). Adding to the spare instrumentation of his first albums, Bragg began releasing increasingly polished work, including Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (1986), featuring the Motown-inspired Levi Stubbs' Tears, and Workers Playtime (1988). After the more dogmatic The Internationale (1990), his songwriting resumed its characteristic blend of simple, poetic lyrics and evocative melodies, conveyed by Bragg's limited but emotive Cockney-inflected voice, on Don't Try This at Home (1991) and William Bloke (1996). More popular in Britain (where he reached number one with a cover version of the Beatles' She's Leaving Home in 1988) than in the United States, Bragg nevertheless collaborated with Wilco, an American alternative country band, on Mermaid Avenue (1998), an album built on lyrics by folk music legend Woody Guthrie; Mermaid Avenue Vol. II was released in 2000.

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