I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
I'm twenty-two now, but I won't be for long
To the contrary, Bragg was 26 years old when he released “A New England” in 1983. It was included on his debut album Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy of the same year and became famous as a cover version performed by Kirsty MacColl in 1984.
In 2006 at a performance in Winnipeg, Canada, Bragg admitted the first two lines of the song are intentionally lifted from Simon and Garfunkel’s Leaves That Are Green. Many fans wrongly presume the track was originally recorded much earlier in Bragg’s career.