Billy Bragg is a musician, a poet, and an activist, and if you haven't had the pleasure—and the exhilaration—of a Billy Bragg song, allow me to introduce you to a few of my favorites. And if you're already a fan, please add your must-hear's to the list. @readjulia, what did I leave off? @angusisley, here's a good jumpstart into Billy Bragg world.
  1. Greetings to the New Brunette
    This was the first song of his I heard, and it remains my favorite. "The people from your church agree, it's not much of a career. Trying the handles of parked cars, whoops, there goes another year. Whoops, there goes another pint of beer."
  2. You Woke Up My Neighbourhood
    "Night after night we would row. You woke up my neighbourhood, things are pretty quiet 'round here now, around here now."
  3. Help Save the Youth of America
    "Help save the youth of America, help save them from themselves. Help save the sun-tanned surfer boys, and the Californian girls."
  4. Ideology
    "When one voice rules the nation, just because they're on top of the pile, doesn't mean their vision is the clearest. The voices of the people, are falling on deaf ears, our politicians all become careerists. They must declare their interests, but not their company cars. Is there more to a seat in parliament, then sitting on you arse?"
  5. Levi Stubs' Tears
    "With the money from her accident she bought herself a mobile home. So at least she could get some enjoyment out of being alone. No one could say that she was left up on the shelf. It's you and me against the World, kid, she mumbled to herself."
  6. Honey, I'm a Big Boy Now
    "I can see the kitchen light, from the road where I park my bike. But it's dark there as it often is these days. And the gloomy living room, really needs a dust and broom. But I can't brush your memory away."
  7. The Warmest Room
    "A rainy afternoon, spent in the warmest room. She lay before me and said, 'Yes it's true that I have seen some naked men.'"
  8. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards — original
  9. Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards — newer
  10. Which Side are You On?
    "This government had an idea, nd parliament made it law. It seems like it's illegal, to fight for the union any more."
  11. There is Power in a Union
    "There is power in a factory, power in the land, power in the hands of a worker. But it all amounts to nothing if together we don't stand, there is power in a union."
  12. Must I Paint You a Picture?
    "If this is rain let it fall on me and drown me If these are tears let them fall Must I paint you a picture About the way that I feel?"
  13. Rotting on Remand
    "They let me out of this cage to slop that bucket out. To get my food and bring it back, and if I'm lucky, get a shower. Apart from one hour's exercise, I'm locked in here all day. You don't turn criminals into citizens by treating them this way."
  14. Sexuality
    "Sexuality, your laws do not apply to me. Sexuality, come eat and drink and sleep with me. Sexuality, we can be what we want to be."
  15. It Says Here
    "It says here, that the unions will never learn. It says here, that the economy is on the upturn. And it says here, we should be proud. That we are free, and our free press reflects our democracy. Those braying voices on the right of the House, are echoed down the Street of Shame, where politics mix with bingo and tits, in a strictly money and numbers game."
  16. Static
  17. Static
  18. Static
  19. Static
  20. Moving the Goalposts ( )
    "I put on my raincoat to make it rain and, sure enough, the skies opened up again." Swoon.
    Suggested by @readjulia
  21. California Stars ( )
    Per @andersun 's suggestion. A great one off Mermaid Ave.
    Suggested by @readjulia
  22. She's Got a New Spell ( )
    My intro to Billy Bragg was on the mix tapes a boyfriend made me. So I learned some of his love songs before I came to his protest songs. I've always admired how someone who can write such politically forceful tunes can also write some of the most heartbreaking love songs I've ever heard. "She stole the scene and the scenery, the script and the machinery." This one's my ring tone.
    Suggested by @readjulia
  23. Little Time Bomb
    You said this would happen and you were not wrong / I've fallen in love with a little time bomb.
    Suggested by @andersun
  24. Accident Waiting to Happen
    I've always been impressed with a girl Who can sing for her supper and get breakfast as well That's the way I am, heaven help me He said, 'We don't like peace campaigners 'round here' As he nailed another one to the wall And that's what gets me in trouble, heaven help me...
    Suggested by @andersun
  25. Rotting on Remand
    I've always liked this one too: "I stood before the judge that day As he refused me bail / And I knew that I would spend my time Awaiting trial in jail / I said there is no justice As they led me out of the door / And the judge said, "this isn't a court of justice, son This is a court of law."
    Suggested by @andersun