Event date: Thursday 19 April 2018
Venue: Bank of England Conference Centre
Time: 16:00 - 17:00
A singer-songwriter and activist from Essex, Billy formed a punk band in 1977, joined the British Army in 1981 and released his first solo record in 1983. He gigged extensively in support of the striking mineworkers in 1984/85 and helped found Red Wedge, a collective of artists who campaigned against the government of Margaret Thatcher with the Labour Party in the mid-80s.
In 1988, a cover of the Beatles song ‘She’s Leaving Home’ which he had recorded to raise fund for the Childline charity went to number one for five weeks. In the late 90s, he was engaged by Woody Guthrie’s daughter Nora to write new music for lyrics that her father had written, the tunes of which had been lost when he died in 1967. The resulting album, recorded with Americana band Wilco, was nominated for a Grammy.
In 2006, he wrote a book exploring his own sense of identity called ‘The Progressive Patriot’. Last year, in collaboration with American songwriter/producer Joe Henry, he released an album of American railroad songs, recorded on a train journey from Chicago to Los Angeles.
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