RIP Gil Scott-Heron

Woke up to hear the news of the premature death of Gil Scott Heron aged 62.

He rose to fame during the early 70’s and is perhaps best remembered for his song “The Revolution will not be televised”

A poet, writer, singer and author his influence cannot be underestimated. He fought drug and alcohol addiction through his brief life but retained his voice of protest.

He leaves a back catalogue of 15 studio albums,11 compilations and 9 live recordings.

Considering his best known song/poem/recording is from 1970 he was ahead of the game. Though as we have seen in the last few months, the revolutions are being televised (and tweeted) when possible, but the sentiment and thought behind the song still rings true.

His words will live on: Me and the Devil video from his last album “I’m new Here”… and this song still resonates

Update Paul Evans (with kind permission from Moochin) adds: Here’s a few vids being passed around Facebook this morning:

Gil at his furious didactic best.

Gil’s life was a long battle with addiction – this one is very poignant today (“Home is where the needle marks… tried to cure my broken heart..”)

This is his response to the election of Ronald Reagan. Its easy to be distracted by the message, but the music behind these lyrics was always quite superb.

This is a bit more understated but just as pointed:


Again – more fury – this time, the Bicentennial Blues:

… and this fabulous groove that really got into the heart of where the blues came from – ‘John Coltrane and Lady Day’:

… and this on America’s priorities in the 1970s:

Further update: How could I have forgotten to add his fantastic cover of Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues?

Further further update: I keep remembering really essential sides. This is the H2OGate Blues – very prescient……


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  • wee buns

    Wow…I didn’t know.
    Man he was something else.
    Many times we covered ‘Home is where the hared is’ ….like most of the real quality stuff, crooned later in the late night.

  • His father was the first black player to play for Celtic.

  • wee buns

    wow didn’t know that either articles. The Black Arrow….and his son only outlived him by three years.

  • wee buns

    oops that link above is a remix

  • gréagóir o frainclín

    Maybe Loyalist/Unionist folk don’t like this stuff ……for as stereotypes go they identify themselves more with white supremism – South Africa, Ian Smith & Rhodesia, uber conservatism, W.A.S.P. etc…etc…

    Am I gonna be proved wrong?

  • Harry Flashman

    Never heard of him, no doubt the type of musician nerdy BBC wonks get all excited about.

  • Harry click on a few of the videos above.
    His influence cannot be underestimated and you don’t need to be a “BBC wonk” to get Heron

  • Harry Flashman

    Yeah fair enough, but there seems to be a lot of obits recently regarding dead pop stars from the seventies who we’re all supposed to nod our heads about scratch our chin thoughtfully and discuss how they changed the face of popular music even though 98% of us never actually heard a note they played.

  • qwerty12345

    I can see where you are coming from harry. As a former addict of popular music I have come to regard it and most of its practitioners as a load of oul codswallop.

    However, this guy wasnt exactly doing “pop” music. He was highly literate, articulate, funny – he says more in “The revolution will not be televised” than all of the 60’s / 70’s poseurs combined.

    Someone said he was the black Bob Dylan, thats actually an insult to Gil Scott – Heron.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    He was in good oul form at the Electric Picnic last year although the years were showing. I still would never have guessed he wouldn’t see the year out.

  • Sambo

    An Ode To Black Ireland-

    Somebody wake me I’m dreaming, I started as a seed the semen
    Swimming upstream, planted in the womb while screaming on the top, was my pops, my momma screaming stop
    From a single drop, this is what they got
    Not to disrespect my peoples but my poppa was a loser
    Only plan he had for momma was to fuck her and abuse her
    Even as a little seed, I could see his plan for me
    Stranded on welfare, another broken family
    Now what was I to be, a product of this heated passion
    Momma got pregnant, and poppa got a piece of ass
    Look how it began, nobody gave a fuck about me
    Pistol in my hand, this cruel world can do without me
    How can I survive? Got me asking white Jesus
    will a nigga live or die, ’cause the Lord can’t see us
    in the deep dark clouds of the projects, ain’t no sunshine
    No sunny days and we only play sometimes
    When everybody’s sleeping
    I open my window jump to the streets and get to creeping
    I can live or die, hope I get some money ‘fore I’m gone
    I’m only 19, I’m trying to hustle on my own
    on the spot where everybody and they pops trying to slang rocks
    I’d rather go to college, but this is where the game stops
    Don’t get it wrong ’cause it’s always on, from dusk to dawn
    You can buy rocks glocks or a heroin
    You can ask my man he’s a mind reader
    And my reply till they kill me
    Act up if you feel me, I was born not to make it but I did
    The tribulations of a ghetto kid, still I rise

  • circles

    Even in our own wee musical world his influence lives on. Check out the brilliant Jinx Lennon and you can hear shades of GSH.

  • SethS

    Saw him a few years ago in Vicar Street in Dublin. Big crowd defintely up for it after a series of no-shows. The only time I have seen an audience coax a genuine encore from anyone.

    Sad loss, though given his lifestyle not altogether suprising.

  • Ben

    The funeral will not be televised brothers, the funeral will be live. GS-H was a good man, rightfully angry, but able to engage. There’s a lesson in that for others….

  • Sambo

    We Hold These Things To Be Self-Evident

    Big wheels keep on turnin’
    Carry me home to see my kin
    Singing songs about the southland
    I miss Brughas city once again

    Well I read what Ian said about her
    Well, I heard ole Niall put her down
    Well, I hope They both do remember
    A southern man don’t need them around

    Sweet home Dublin City
    Where the skies are so blue
    Sweet home Dublin City
    Where the ICA where formed

    In West Belfast they love the gov’ner,
    Now we all did what we could do,
    Now Stormongate does not bother me
    Does your conscience bother you
    (Now tell the truth.)

    Sweet home Dublin City
    Where the skies are so blue
    Sweet home Dublin City
    Where the ICA where formed

    And I hope O’Broin Does Remember
    Barrys Column came from Cork
    If they should ever reconsider
    WW1 is in the past

  • Rory Carr

    I have taken the liberty to re-visit this thread only to remind those who might be interested (which leaves out Harry Flashman probably) that there is a tribute to Gil Scot-Heron on television tonight – BBC4 – at 11.00pm.

    Unfortunately the preview does not tell me whether or not a contribution from Sambo is to included in the programme, which is a pity, as I am sure that potential viewers would be eager to have this information before making a choice to view or not.

  • good man Rory thanks

  • Rory Carr

    Happy to oblige, Moochin. Enjoy.

  • wee buns

    Jeeez missed the cool stuff again due to probs accessing slugger …argh!

  • I missed the very beginning but it was a great profile put together and directed by Don Letts