6 Music John Peel Lecture 2012, Billy Bragg
Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards
In this year's John Peel Lecture, Billy Bragg explored how the pirates of radio become mainstream and in what ways broadcasters should reflect that.
On giving the lecture, Billy said, "John Peel was always hugely supportive of artists like myself who had something to say. Encouraged by a mushroom biryani, he gave me my first break in radio and I am delighted to be asked to speak at an event in his honour."
Billy was inspired by punk and his first album 'Life’s A Riot' came out in 1983. Fired by politics, Billy saw his music as a platform by which to offer listeners a different perspective of events and he is often defined by his political songs.
In 1992, Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, approached Billy with the idea that he put new music to lyrics that her father had written in Brooklyn in the 1940s. The resulting album ‘Mermaid Avenue’ came out to great acclaim in 1998. A second volume was released in 2000. Both were nominated for Grammy Awards. 2012 sees the release of a third volume of tracks from the original sessions to mark the centenary of Woody’s birth.