Billy Bragg: “Most of my chord shapes are fists. It’s just the way I play – I’m hanging on for dear life”

Billy Bragg
(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

While some artists found it difficult to pick up a guitar during the national lockdowns of 2020, Billy Bragg was making his first album in eight years, entitled The Million Things That Never Happened. He’s always been one of the most distinctive, unflinching yet compassionate voices in rock.

Emerging from the busking scene, songs like A New England from his 1983 debut album, Life’s Riot With Spy Vs Spy, confirmed him as a laureate of the London streets with an unvarnished ‘chop and clang’ style on guitar that matched the energy and honesty of his lyrics. 

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Jamie Dickson

Jamie Dickson is Editor-in-Chief of Guitarist magazine, Britain's best-selling and longest-running monthly for guitar players. He started his career at the Daily Telegraph in London, where his first assignment was interviewing blue-eyed soul legend Robert Palmer, going on to become a full-time author on music, writing for benchmark references such as 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die and Dorling Kindersley's How To Play Guitar Step By Step. He joined Guitarist in 2011 and since then it has been his privilege to interview everyone from B.B. King to St. Vincent for Guitarist's readers, while sharing insights into scores of historic guitars, from Rory Gallagher's '61 Strat to the first Martin D-28 ever made.