Friday, May 27, 2011

RIP Gil Scott-Heron...

There are many musicians who touch our lives through their art. Maybe they inspire us to feel better or be proud of who we are. Some inspire a social awareness that makes us want to help our fellow man and be better individuals. Then there are those artist that represent a shared bond to a loved one that has handed down their music to the next generation.
For me I lost a little of all the above with passing of legend Gil Scott-Heron. He was poet, scholar and prophet whose music still reigns as loud and true as it did in the 1970's when he recorded a large portion of his work. I became introduced to Gil Scott-Heron by my father Keith Holt Sr at a very young age. It gave me a foundation to the hip hop music that I was growing up with and gave me an awareness to social issues.

About Gil Scott-Heron
For those of you not familiar with Gil Scott Heron let me give you a little background. Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, Illinois. To parents Bobbie Scott-Heron, sang with the New York Oratorio Society. Scott-Heron's Jamaican father, Gil Heron, nicknamed "The Black Arrow", was a soccer player who, in the 1950s, became the first black athlete to play for Glasgow Celtic Football Club in Scotland. After his parents separated he moved to Jackson, TN to live with his grandmother Lillie Scott. After the death of his grandmother Heron moved to New York City.

Scott-Heron attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, because of his biggest influence Langston Hughes also attended. At Lincoln he met Brian Jackson with whom he formed the band Black & Blues. He left school after 2 years and wrote the novels The Vulture and The Nigger Factory. Scott-Heron returned to New York City, settling in Chelsea, Manhattan. The Vulture was published in 1970 and well received. Although Scott-Heron never received his undergraduate degree, he received a Master's degree in Creative Writing in 1972 from Johns Hopkins University. His 1972 dissertation was titled Circle of stone.

Pieces of a Man

Regarded by a lot of people as "The Godfather of Rap" even though he rejected the title Gil's music influenced many hip hop and neo soul artist such as Mos Def, Public Enemy and Kanye West.

Gil began his recording career in 1970 with the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. The piano was played by long time partner Brian Jackson. Winter in America has been regarded by many critics as the two musicians most artistic effort. His most famous song is the anthem "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Has been sampled in many other songs, movies and for commercials.


Studio albums

Year Album Label
1970 Small Talk at 125th and Lenox Flying Dutchman Records
1971 Pieces of a Man Flying Dutchman Records
1972 Free Will Flying Dutchman Records
1974 Winter in America Strata-East Records
1975 The First Minute of a New Day Arista Records
1976 From South Africa to South Carolina Arista Records
1976 It's Your World Arista Records
1977 Bridges Arista Records
1978 Secrets Arista Records
1980 1980 Arista Records
1980 Real Eyes Arista Records
1981 Reflections Arista Records
1982 Moving Target Arista Records
1994 Spirits TVT Records
2010 I'm New Here XL Recordings

Live albums

Year Album Label
1976 It's Your World Arista Records
1990 Tales of Gil Scott-Heron and His Amnesia Express Castle Music UK/Peak Top Records
1994 Minister of Information: Live Peak Top Records
2004 The Best Of Gil Scott-Heron Live Intersound
2004 Tour De Force Phantom Sound & Vision
2004 Save The Children Delta Music
2004 Winter In America, Summer In Europe Pickwick
2005 Greatest Hits Live Intersound
2008 Live At The Town & Country 1988 Acadia / Evangeline Records


Year Album Label
1974 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Flying Dutchman
1979 The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron Arista Records
1984 The Best of Gil Scott-Heron Arista Records
1988 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Bluebird Records
1990 Glory: The Gil Scott-Heron Collection Arista Records
1998 The Gil Scott-Heron Collection Sampler: 1974–1975 TVT Records
1998 Ghetto Style Camden Records
1999 Evolution and Flashback: The Very Best of Gil Scott-Heron RCA Records
2005 Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Messages (Anthology) Soul Brother Records
2006 The Best of Gil Scott-Heron Sony/BMG
2010 Storm Music (The Best of Gil Scott-Heron) Phantom Sound & Vision

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