Stephen William Bragg (born 20th December 1957), known as Billy Bragg, is an English musician known for his blend of folk, punk-rock, and protest music.
He has been active for over thirty years since his early career as a regular contributor to anarchic U.K. live rock show The Tube. His music is a combination of poetry and political comment, with a dash of romance. He has collaborated with many other musicians, including Johnny Marr of The Smiths, protest folk singer Leon Rosselson, R.E.M., Less Than Jake, Kirsty MacColl, Kate Nash, Milburn, and Wilco. He obtained a top-twenty hit with the song “We Laughed” in a band called The Rosetta Life band (with Bragg, Helena, Robbie McIntosh, Ady Milward, and Chris Lonergan). It was a cancer-based charity song written by Bragg and Maxine Edgington. Bragg was influenced by his brief experience in the British Army as a trooper in the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars of the Royal Armoured Corps. He, along with Paul Weller and others, was a leading member of U.K. left-wing musicians’ pressure group Red Wedge in the Thatcher-dominated 1980s.
In recent years he has broadened his audience thanks to his involvement with Wilco on the album Mermaid Avenue and its follow-up Mermaid Avenue Vol. II.