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SONG FACTS

Written by
Billy Bragg

1984 single
A new England

1991 single
All I ever wanted
(live version)

1993 collection
The Essential Collection
(7" & 12" versions)

1995 collection
Galore

1995 single
Caroline

1998 collection
What do pretty girls do? (BBC Sessions: two versions)

2001 collection
The One and Only

Notes on lyrics:

*1 originally, "when will you grow up to be a man, But the girls I knew at school..."

*2 originally, "they put you on the pill"

*3 originally, "I'm just looking for another girl"

*4 Note: This section was not in Billy's original song as featured on Spy vs Spy - those verses were written specially at Kirsty's request since she thought the song was too short as it stood to release as a single.

Note that on the original version, and on the BBC session from 1995, Kirsty appears to sing "jeans", and this was published in Smash Hits as the correct lyric. On the BBC session from 1991 with Billy Bragg she clearly sings "dreams" which I prefer. Now as a fervent note taker I too might have jeans full of strange ideas but it still seems odd.

A new England

I was 21 years when I wrote this song
I'm 22 now but I won't be for long
People ask me when will I grow up to understand *1
Why the girls I knew at school are already pushing prams

I loved you then as I love you still
Though I put you on a pedestal you put me on the pill *2
I don't feel bad about letting you go
I just feel sad about letting you know

I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl? *3
I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl?

I loved the words you wrote to me
But that was bloody yesterday
I can't survive on what you send
Every time you need a friend

I saw two shooting stars last night
I wished on them but they were only satellites
It's wrong to wish on space hardware
I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care

I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl?
I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl?

My dreams were full of strange ideas *4
My mind was set despite your fears
But other things got in the way
I never asked that boy to stay

Once upon a time at home *4
I sat beside the telephone
Waiting for someone to pull me through
When at last it didn't ring I knew it wasn't you

I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl?
I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another?
I don't want to change the world
I'm not looking for a new England
Are you looking for another girl?
Looking for another girl?
Looking for another girl?
Looking for another girl?
Girl?
Girl?
Girl?


Billy said in an interview with The Big Takeover, "There's a new cover of New England by a band of which I can't remember the name, and it's the KIRSTY version--I don't know if they've ever heard my version!

But they do the same arrangement as the Kirsty cover, they do the three verses, and instead of doing, "Last night beside the telephone, I waited for someone to pull me through/And when at last it didn't ring I knew it wasn't you," which is the last verse of the Kirsty version of New England that I wrote.

Instead they sing, "And when the bastard didn't ring, I knew it wasn't you," which is a better line! I don't know if they misheard it or did it on purpose, but I prefer that, actually. It's funny, actually. When I wrote that song, I didn't really think that anybody would ever hear it. It never crossed my mind."


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