“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” or, Gil Scott-Heron Has Died

Poet and spoken word innovator and originator Gil Scott-Heron has died at the age of sixty-two.  He passed away Friday in a New York City hospital after returning from a holiday in Europe.  At this time the cause of Mr. Scott-Heron’s death is unknown.  Scott-Heron’s death just a blip on internet jazz sites or big city newspapers’ obit pages?  I should think not. 

The 1970’s saw the rise of Scott-Heron’s career when the Chicago native’s soulful, “bluesy” and anti-establishment storytelling was set to melodic, yet simple jazz percussion beats.  His unique stylings (coupled with his mellow, soothing voice) was the precursor to today’s rap, hip-hop, neo-soul, and spoken word genres– think Jill Scott (no relation),  Eminem,  Musiq Soulchild, and Usher.   A diverse group.  Yes.  When Chuck D of Public Enemy learned of Scott-Heron’s death–his response:  “…we do what we do and how we do because of you.”  

As a testament to Scott-Heron’s influence on today’s music, he was often described as the godfather of rap ( a title he rejected beacuse he believed that today’s artist lost the “message” of the music) and the black Bob Dylan.  His iconic album, The Revolution Will  Not Be Televised, has been heavily sampled by Common and Kanye West.

As a little girl in the 1970s, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and the seminal hit In the Bottle  were on heavy rotation in my home.  According to my mom, my dad was going through his “What’s Going On Stage” a la Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and of course, Gil Scott-Heron.  I am grateful for the early exposure to Gil Scott-Heron’s creativity and originality.   And I am equally grateful that as an adult I had the opportunity to see Scott-Heron perform live at a jazz festival in Tampa, Florida.

Thanks, Dad,

The Recovering Attorney

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

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