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Gil Scott-Heron

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Chicago, United States (1970 – 2011)

Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949 in Chicago, died May 27, 2011 in New York City) was an American poet and musician, known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a performer, associated with African American militant activists. Heron is perhaps most well known for his poems/songs “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and “What’s the Word - Johannesburg” a movement hit during the 1980’s South Africa college and national divestment movement in the United States of America.

He began recording in 1970 with the LP Small Talk At 125Th And Lenox with the assistance of Bob Thiele Flying Dutchman Records, co-writer Brian Jackson, Hubert Laws, Bernard Purdie (who later recorded “Delights of the Garden” with The Last Poets), Charlie Saunders, Eddie Knowles, Ron Carter and Bert Jones, all musicians (see 1970 in music). The album included the aggressive diatribe against white-owned corporate media and middle-class America’s ignorance of the problems of inner cities in songs such as Whitey on the Moon.

The 1971 Pieces of a Man used more conventional song structures than the loose, spoken word feel of his first, though he didn’t reach the charts until 1975 with “Johannesburg”. His biggest hit was 1978’s “The Bottle”, produced by Heron and longtime partner Brian Jackson, which peaked at #15 on the R&B charts (see 1978 in music).

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