It should come as absolutely no surprise that Billy Bragg, the socialist singer-songwriter, is not particularly fond of Donald Trump. Put his discography on shuffle and you’ll find plenty of songs that could work as protest songs against the current President of the United States. That said, Bragg is now offering one that gets a bit more specific: He took one of Bob Dylan’s best protest anthems, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and updated it to address the current state of the world.
Without altering the song’s structure or melody, Bragg changed the lyrics to discuss climate change, racially-motivated violence, and reproductive rights. Dubbing it “The Times They Are A-Changing Back,” Bragg explained the how and why of the song’s creation like so:
At 5pm on Friday, at the moment Donald Trump became President of the United States, Joe Henry and I were beginning our sound check in Salisbury. Joe began mournfully strumming Dylan’s classic “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and, listening to him from the wings, I ruefully thought that it seems more like the times are changing back to how they were in the 1950s.
Checking into my hotel, I saw clips from Trump’s inaugural speech on the evening news and, 30 minutes later when I stepped out the shower, I had these lyrics in my head. I played the song that night in City Hall and it went down a storm. A night off in York has given me an opportunity to film a performance in my room.