Burgess made a number of disparaging statements about popular music, particularly that of the 1960s and 1970s, and especially directed at the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. This was part of a wider critique of youth culture that Burgess often felt was too radical in its rejection of the past even as it attempted to create something new from the ruins of the post-war period. Yet Burgess’s own musical background was rooted in a popular tradition, that of pianoplaying in pubs and cinemas, and the music of dance bands: during the war Burgess was himself an arranger for such a band, performing hits for the troops. Listen here to some of Burgess’s views on popular music and youth culture, as well as his rendition of the kind of music played by his pianist father; and a rare recording of an unreleased pop song with music by Michael Lewis and lyrics by Burgess himself, ‘Give the World a Kiss’.
This page contains playable mobile phone content for the exhibition Anthony Burgess On Tape, showing at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation from October 2019 to February 2020.