“Johannesburg” and “Gun” are the first songs I remember hearing by Gil Scott Heron. That was in the mid 1970’s. I’ve often listened to the vinyl that I still have of Gil. He was the voice of protest, the voice of reason, the teacher of truth. Many of his lyrics written in the 1970’s and 1980’s, are true today.
Like many albums of that time, one song was more than 12 minutes. It was not merely listening music; it was conversation music.
Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) was more of a poet than a singer. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Gil’s mother was Bobbie Scott-Heron, who was an opera singer with the New York Oratorio Society. His dad, Gil Heron, was nicknamed the “Black Arrow.” He was a Jamaican football player in the 1950’s and the first Black man to play for the Celtic Football Club in Glasgow.
As a teen, Gil earned a full scholarship to the private, prestigious Fieldston School in New York. He was one of five black students at the school and his experience lead to his boldness, which became his hallmark in poetry and song. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is one of Gil’s most popular songs, recorded by others, including LaBelle. He used the words “not televised” in many of his other songs. As Gil would have his listeners know, what the media reports is limited to who they interview; what they are told. If you want to know the truth, you have to live it. Read the rest of this entry