"To Have And To Have Not" as written by and Billy Bragg....
Up in the morning and out to school
Mother says there'll be no work next year
Qualifications once the Golden Rule
Are now just pieces of paper

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

If you look the part you'll get the job
In last year's trousers and your old school shoes
The truth is son, it's a buyer's market
They can afford to pick and choose

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because I dress like this
Doesn't mean I'm a communist

The factories are closing and the army's full -
I don't know what I'm going to do
But I've come to see in the Land of the Free
There's only a future for the Chosen Few

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards

At twenty one you're on to of the scrapheap
At sixteen you were top of the class
All they taught you at school
Was how to be a good worker
The system has failed you, don't fail yourself

Just because you're better than me
Doesn't mean I'm lazy
Just because you're going forwards
Doesn't mean I'm going backwards


Lyrics submitted by Madame Me

"To Have and to Have Not" as written by Billy Bragg

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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To Have And To Have Not song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentBeing a Big Op Ivy, Rancid and Lars Fredriksen fan I have to admit, it's a much poorer version of the song. Their hearts are in the right place, but Billy lived it, breathed it, and sang it.

    Lars only covered it, and there's no trophy for second place this time.
    Aceface1on March 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this version better than the Lars one, but they both kick ass, massive amounts there of, at that
    phantom135on July 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song sums up exactly what it was like to be a young person in 80s England, when the soul was being systematically ripped out of the nation's working class people by an evil, uncaring government hellbent on destroying any hopes or aspirations for our young. Nice tune as well.
    hihoricherinoon October 13, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favorite songs in the world.
    maud*on October 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song about the material and financial uncertainity and hardship working class communities face, and the lack of employment oppurtunities for young workers.
    bobkindleson May 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song about the material and financial uncertainity and hardship working class communities face, and the lack of employment oppurtunities for young workers.
    bobkindleson May 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, just d/l-ed the Lars version of this song people were talking about---BOY does it SUCK! I'll say this tho, Billy B have a MUCH better live version of this song; I think its from "help save the youth of America" or something like that---its much better than the studio version, and WAY better than the Lars and the whoevers version.
    hangwire13on October 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw Rancid a couple years ago and they did an acoustic version of this song. Also there's a version on youtube where they're live in Japan and Lars plays it electric w/ no accompaniment like the original and like he plays "The War's End" in concert (a song that referenced Billy Bragg). Lars changes the last verse to say:
    Well at 21 you're on top of the scrap heap
    At 16 you were on top of your class
    Well I dropped out of high school in Campbell, California
    Got a guitar and I never looked back

    Being a dropout, guitarist and native Northern Californian I gotta say this lyric hits home and good covers are when the artist makes it their own.
    Bender is greaton November 26, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General CommentLars Fredriksen and The Bastards version is better.
    Alyssa1224on March 25, 2007   Link

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