[DWJ] Re: Song lyrics

Judith Ridge judith_ridge at netspace.net.au
Wed Jan 16 06:35:52 EST 2008

On 16/1/08 12:29 AM, "dwj-request at suberic.net" <dwj-request at suberic.net>

> In <C3B2E5CE.1A7C%judith_ridge at netspace.net.au>, Judith Ridge wrote:
> Gili mentioned: 
>>> Yeah, there's that song that always irks me:
>>> "I was twenty one years when I wrote this song
>>> I'm twenty two now, but I won't be for long"
>>> What song exactly was it that you wrote when you were twenty one? The one
>>> about your being twenty two?
>> That is from the brilliant, won't-hear-a-word-against-him, Billy Bragg and
>> his classic Thatcher-era song "New England". It's about time passing and
>> things changing too quickly, and love lost and is gently ironic (and
>> meta-lyrical!) and self-deprecating and not a little plaintive, as is the
>> whole song (and BB's ouvre, pretty much!)
> I think it's possible that Bragg might have been quoting from the Paul
> Simon song of the late 1960s, I think called 'Leaves that are green turn
> to brown', with the words
> I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
> I'm twenty-two now but I won't be for long.
> Time hurries on
> And the leaves that are green turn to brown
>> I adore Billy Bragg (and the deeply lamented Kirsty MacColl, RIP, who
>> recorded her own lovely but very different version of the song).
> How splendid if they said where the lines came from!  Homage rather
> than plagiarism would be a delight.  BB probably had to sing it at
> school -- Simon and Garfunkle's songs were on a lot of school
> curriculums (?curricula?) for a while.

I guess the opening lines of ³New England² must come from the Simon &
Garfunkel song, which I've never come across before--and I thought I knew
all their songs! Thanks for the pointer, Minnow. I don¹t recall reading
anything much about the writing of "New England", so perhaps BB has
somewhere acknowledged where the lyrics came from‹something to idle away
some google time on! (But I can¹t imagine it could be a deliberate
steal‹someone would have picked it up and sued if it were unacknowledged
before now, as ³New England² was first released in Œ83.)

Now, can anyone tell me where I can hear the S&G song?



Judith Ridge
My blog: http://www.misrule.com.au/s9y/
My website: http://www.misrule.com.au

People sometimes complain that Berliners just sit around all day in cafes,
smoking and talking about art. Is that supposed to be a bad thing?
Joe Jackson

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