Music and politics have often held hands, as far back as Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin, and Bob Marley’s Get up Stand up.
Music’s love affair with politics endures, and in Australia, it seems our new PM is a fan of a classic political song, quoting Billy Bragg’s To have and not have, “Just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backward” in his first press conference as Prime Minister.
Billy Bragg most notably is perhaps one of the more progressive musicians pushing for change in today’s climate who combines both of his passions, music, and politics, creatively, in both his private and his personal life. Best known for his song, There Is Power in a Union, most famously covered by The Mountain Goats in 2011.
Music aside, it’s nice to see that our new PM has a strong support network of friends, with the like of Bragg, whom he met at Enmore Theatre back in the 90s where they immediately bonded over music and politics. The two last paired up, at a fairgrounds festval in Berry in 2018, taking to the stage for an hour-long chat about pop and politics. Having been friends with Australia’s new PM for more than twenty years, Bragg shared via a tweet this morning that his “old mate” Anthony Albanese is up to the task of creating a better and fairer Australia.
Woke up this morning to find that the new prime minister of Australia had quoted my lyrics in his first press conference: “Just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backwards”. Here’s my response to that welcome news. pic.twitter.com/ynvgVmheE7
— Billy Bragg (@billybragg) May 31, 2022
Albanese who has always been a big fan of Australian punk and protest music helped to organise several music gigs to rally support for the labour movement, based on the Red Wedge music collective that banded together to protest against Margaret Thatcher’s policies in the mid-1980s. Which was incidentally led by Bragg, Paul Weller, and in intervals, included Madness, Elvis Costello, Bananarama, and The Smiths.
I think we can all agree, that our new PM is a bit of punk at heart.