Billy Bragg – Between The Wars

22 01 2008

To be honest, Billy Bragg hasn’t interested me in a long time and his new album, Mr. Love & Justice is (on first listen) more miss than hit. But I happened to come across this old footage of him on Top of The Pops from 1985 performing ‘Between The Wars’ which is really excellent – it’s a reminder of what greatness he is capable of. He also must have stuck out like a sore thumb then and seeing that he was at No. 15 at the time, probably sandwiched between Paul Young and Amazulu or something makes it all the sweeter.

What many people may not realise is that Billy Bragg did once reach Number 1 in the UK charts. Not with one of his own songs but with a cover of The Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’. The main reason he was at No. 1 was not because of his decent reading of the song but because of who he shared the slab of vinyl with. Because over on the flipside (it was a double A) was none other than the grinning Marti Pellow and his Wet Wet Wet chums. It seems like a strange combination now but it was all in a good cause as it was a charity record for Childline. What I wonder, though, is whose idea it was to pair them up and whether it was done to get some Billy Bragg into the homes of Wet Wet Wet fans or were they just chosen by someone that couldn’t see the difference between the two? Who knows…




2 responses

22 01 2008
Matt Vinyl

I knows. Both tunes featured on an album called ‘Sgt Pepper Knew My Father’ and i have it. The single was released as a double A-side to promote the album. The whole of the Sergeant Pepper album was covered by a freaky variety of groups from Hue & Cry, The Wedding Present, The Fall and Frank Sidebottom. The Wedding Present cover of Getting Better is great and so is The Fall’s cover of A Day in the Life. It was brought out by NME for as you rightly point out, the Childline charity.

Billy did manage to have another top ten hit with ‘New England’ but it was as a writer cos it was sung by Kirsty Mac Coll. His earlier version was on the b-side of St Swithins Day which didn’t exactly storm the charts.

3 02 2008

Yeah, The Fall’s version of ‘A Day in The Life’. I had forgotten that they were all taken from that album which partly explains the mis-match of Wet Wet Wee with Billy Bragg though they still seem a strange inclusion in the first place.

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