Late last Friday we got word that influential poet/musician/activist Gil Scott-Heron died in a hospital in New York City. The exact cause is still unclear except that he became ill after returning from a trip to Europe. Scott-Heron’s health has been in steady decline over the last few years and he has been battling drug addiction, but what makes it worse is that his career has seen such a resurgence of late.
He is probably best known for the song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” a proto-rap, protest song that was recorded for his first album Small Talk on 125th and Lennox and later recorded with full band. Scott-Heron has been regarded as one of the forefathers of hip-hop even if he didn’t like to admit it. His songs have been sampled by and alluded to by a group of artists ranging from Kanye West to Elvis Costello.
There has been renewed interested in Scott-Heron’s work recently because of the release of I’m New Here, his first album in over fifteen years. The album’s rough atmospherics and biting lyrics made the album surprisingly popular among the young indie crowd. It received “Best New Music” label over at Pitchfork and 9/10 from Drowned In Sound, as well as getting the full album remix treatment from Jamie XX, of the XX.
As a little tribute I have posted the full band version of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” that was the B-side to the first single from Pieces of A Man, probably his best and most important album. Also, I have posted the video for “Me and the Devil,” the first single off of I’m New Here. It’s just an amazing piece of music when you consider Scott-Heron’s musical background of jazz and soul.
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised