Author event with Billy Bragg, author of Roots, Radicals and Rockers

Skiffle — a “do-it-yourself ” music craze with American jazz, blues, folk, and roots influences — is a story of jazz pilgrims and blues blowers, Teddy Boys and beatnik girls, coffee-bar bohemians and refugees from the McCarthyite witch hunts. Skiffle is reason the guitar came to the forefront of music in the UK and led directly to the British Invasion of the US charts in the 1960s. Emerging from the trad-jazz clubs of the early ’50s, Skiffle was adopted by the first generation of British “teenagers” — working class kids who grew up during the dreary, post-war rationing years. Before Skiffle, the pop culture was dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Lonnie Donegan hit the charts in 1956 with a version of Lead Belly’s “Rock Island Line” and soon sales of guitars rocketed from 5,000 to 250,000 a year. Like punk rock that would flourish two decades later, Skiffle was home grown: all you needed were three guitar chords and you could form a group, with mates playing tea-chest bass and washboard as a rhythm section. Roots, Radicals and Rockers is the first book to explore the Skiffle phenomenon in depth — Billy Bragg’s meticulously researched and joyous account shows how Skiffle sparked a revolution that shaped pop music as we have come to know it.

Billy Bragg is an English singer-songwriter and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that mostly span political or romantic themes. Billy’s music is heavily centered on bringing about change and getting the younger generation involved in activist causes.



Event date: 
Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 1:00pm
Event address: 
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14
Nashville, TN 37215
Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780571327744
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Faber & Faber Social - July 11th, 2017