My Top 1000 Songs #295: Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards
A surprisingly sweeping anthem from Billy Bragg's 1988 album Worker's Playtime, as Bragg moves far beyond his earlier folk-punk roots into something truly grandiose. The joyfully infectious tune moves effortlessly through vaguely-connected narratives ranging from the Cuban revolution to the nuclear era to rock & roll fandom. The song slowly builds from stripped-down acoustic folk jangle to rousing pop to sing-along music-hall celebration, culminating in an undeniable call to arms, hope tinged with cynicism (with a well-deployed crib from Mott The Hoople's "All The Way From Memphis" along the way).
"Here comes the future and you can't run from it, if you've got a blacklist I want to be on it... So join the struggle while you may, the revolution is just a t-shirt away. Waiting for the great leap forwards!"Solo acoustic version, live in the studio: