Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rest In Peace, Gil Scott Heron

                             Gil Scott Heron                                                              
                                            (April 1, 1949-May 27,2011)

My wife and I had just gotten home from the movies...We had gone to see "Pirates of the Carribean"...Upon getting home...I went on Twitter and Facebook and to my horror, I discovered that Gil Scott Heron, Poet, Singer, Writer, Activist had died... 

It was listening to Gil Scott Heron as a teenager that inspired me to write and critique the political spectrum the way I do today...

Gil Scott-Heron made a name for himself as what we would now call a spoken word soul performer in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He is best known for the critically acclaimed “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” first recorded as a spoken-word piece for his album “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox.”

He also co-wrote and produced more than a dozen albums with jazz and funk legend Brian Jackson. The fusion of jazz, blues and soul in these albums is credited with influencing hip hop and neo soul.

Known as “the godfather of rap,” Gil Scott-Heron’s music was a mix of poetry and politics. His lyrics, full of social and political themes, often is associated with black militant activism.

He performed at the No Nukes concerts, held in 1979 at Madison Square Garden. The concerts were organized by a group called Musicians United for Safe Energy and were protesting the use of nuclear energy following the meltdown at Three Mile Island. The group included singer-songwriters such as Jackson Browne, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt. Incredible company indeed.

Gil Scott Heron's song, “We Almost Lost Detroit,” written about a previous accident at a nuclear power plant, is sampled on rapper Kanye West’s single, “The People.”

Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 album, I’m New Here, was his first new studio release in 16 years. The album’s remix, “We’re New Here,” featuring reworking by English music producer Jamiexx, was released earlier this year.

As a child, Gil Scott-Heron lived with his maternal grandmother (Ironically, just as I did for a little while), Lillie Scott, in Jackson, Tennessee, before moving to New York, aged 13, when she died. The first song on I'm New Here is the ironically titled, "On Coming from a Broken Home", which is an ode to Lillie, according to The Guardian.

Gil Scott-Heron battled an addiction to cocaine and other substances for most of his career and spent time in and out of jail on drug possession charges. He was HIV positive.

The cause of  Gil Scott-Heron's death has not yet been reported at the time I'm writing this. “He’s one of my heroes, an incredible source of energy, power, and truth in the world,” Rapper Mos Def told New York Magazine. I couldn't have put it any better myself.


BigmacInPittsburgh said...

Gil Scott,helped me to understand this country and world,I live in.

CareyCarey said...

Man, I did a few posts on Gil Scott and I noticed BigMac had a YouTube clip posted at his site. So I think we 3 old school cats know and knew the importance and significance of Gil Scott Heron.

And I didn't even know he had gone home until I read this post. I don't do much news, it always seems to be bad news, which could (and frequently does) make me feel bad. Just like today.

So lets continue to spread the good news about Mr. Heron.

The following is a post I did on him. Big Mac already read it, I don't know if you have, Keith?


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading