Most famous for his satirical and incisive 1971 “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Gil Scott-Heron is somehow far less heralded than he should be. He’s not a one-hit wonder exactly, but most listeners only know him now for one song. Gil Scott-Heron is frequently pigeon-holed as a proto-hip hop musician of the highest order—and certainly he did set the stage for the emergence of rap artists of the late 70’s and early 80’s. However, I would put him right up there with Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan in terms of scathing commentary on socio-cultural issues–and, in fact, unlike Dylan, who retreated inward, Scott-Heron stuck his neck out there on pressing issues of the day for his entire career. His lyrics were
Thanks Nathan, I'm in. I'm among those who only know G S-H for "The Revolution...", so happy to be filled in. Interesting and insightful piece. I especially like the analogy between danceable happy music with sad subject matter, and alcohol which promises happy times but has dark actual effect. Happy on the outside, sad on the inside.
Looking forward to more posts. -FD