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'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' author dies

Published:Monday | May 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Gil Scott-Heron


Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer

Gil Scott-Heron, the fiery American poet-activist regarded by many musicologists as the Godfather of Rap, died last Friday in a New York City hospital. He was 62 years old.

Scott-Heron was best known for hard-hitting songs like The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Let Me See Your ID.

The New York Post reported that Heron's record company confirmed his death.

Scott-Heron had strong Jamaican ties. His father, Gil Heron, was born in Kingston in 1922 and was the first black man to play for the legendary Scottish football team, Glasgow Celtic.

Gil Heron turned out for Celtic in the 1951-52 season, scoring two goals.

Known as the Black Flash and Black Arrow, he also played professionally in England and the United States.

Heron senior died in Chicago in 2008.

working with Jamaican musicians

During his 40-year career, Gil Scott-Heron worked with Jamaican musicians and artistes such as percussionist Larry McDonald and deejay Big Youth.

McDonald was a member of his band while Big Youth appeared on Let Me See Your ID, taken from the 1985 all-star album, Artists United Against Apartheid.

Scott-Heron made a mark as one of the most influential social commentators of the 1970s. His debut album, A New Black Poet - Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, was released in 1970 and included The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

The song was an anthem for the black power and civil rights movements and became Scott-Heron's signature piece. Last year, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was named by influential British magazine New Statesman as one of its 'Top 20 political songs'.

Gil Scott-Heron influenced a wide spectrum of hip-hop acts, from radical group Public Enemy to conscious rappers like Common.

Though he was admired for recording a formidable catalogue of albums, Scott-Heron gained notoriety for a lifestyle that contradicted his message. He had a long addiction to crack-cocaine which resulted in him serving two prison terms.