GIL SCOTT-HERON

His poetic language, tied to the blues and jazz, raised the political consciousness of a generation and inspired activists to continue their struggles for a just world. His clever parlance on a song, “…the revolution will not be televised…” has become part of the national language… 


His debut album, “Pieces of a Man,” showcased his literary gifts. On the title song, penned by him and Brian Jackson, he sang—

Jagged jigsaw pieces
Tossed about the room
I saw my grandma sweepin'
With her old straw broom

But she didn't what she was doin'
She could hardly understand
That she was really sweepin' up
Pieces of a man 

I saw my daddy greet the mailman
And I heard the mailman say
"now don't you take this letter to heart now Jimmy
Cause they've laid off nine others today"

But he didn't know what he was saying
He could hardly understand
That he was only talkin' to
Pieces of a man 

I saw the thunder and heard the lightnin'
And felt the burden of his shame
And for some unknown reason
He never turned my way 

Pieces of that letter
Were tossed about that room
And now I hear the sound of silence
Come knifing through the gloom
But they don't know what they are doing
They could hardly understand
That they're only arrestin'
Pieces of a man 

I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces
He was always such a good man
He was always such a strong, strong man
Yeah, I saw him go to pieces
I saw him go to pieces"


“H2O Gate Blues” showed another side of his genius: Scott-Heron was a political analyst with a wry sense of humor. His environmentalism and no-nukes stance were shown in his tunes, “We Almost Lost Detroit” and “South Carolina (Barnwell).” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNHefN6LW44


Suggested Reading

https://www.mahoganybooks.com/9781250012784

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