Gil Scott-Heron, musician and poet who wrote ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,’ dies at 62


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Gil Scott-Heron, a musician and the author of the song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ — which helped pioneer sounds that would fuse to become rap — has died in New York City. He was 62.

A friend who answered the telephone listed for his Manhattan recording company confirmed that he died Friday afternoon at a hospital. Doris C. Nolan said he died after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip.


Scott-Heron recorded ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ in the 1970s in Harlem.

He mixed minimalistic percussion and spoken-word performances tinged with politics in a style he sometimes referred to as bluesology. He recorded more than a dozen albums and wrote a handful of books.

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago on April 1, 1949. He was raised in Jackson, Tenn.

[Updated at 9:30 p.m. Scott-Heron’s influence on rap was such that he was sometimes referred to as the Godfather of Rap, a title he rejected.

‘If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for, it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating ‘hooks,’ which made them more like songs than just recitations with percussion,’ he wrote in the introduction to his 1990 collection of poems, ‘Now and Then.’

He referred to his signature mix of percussion, politics and performed poetry as bluesology or Third World music. But then he said it was simply ‘black music or black American music.’

‘Because Black Americans are now a tremendously diverse essence of all the places we’ve come from and the music and rhythms we brought with us,’ he wrote.

Scott-Heron followed up ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ with more than a dozen albums, initially collaborating with musician Brian Jackson. His most recent album was ‘I’m New Here,’ which he began recording in 2007 and which was released in 2010.


Before turning to music, he was a novelist, at age 19, with the publication of ‘The Vulture,’ a murder mystery.

He also was the author of ‘The Nigger Factory,’ a social satire.]

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-- Associated Press