Poet-Musician Gil Scott-Heron Dies

By David Chiu
|  Saturday, May 28, 2011  |  Updated 4:07 AM PDT
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Poet-Musician Gil Scott-Heron Dies

Phillipwood on Flickr

Gil Scott Heron will perform at Yoshi's San Francisco tonight. Photo: Phillipwood on Flickr

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Gil Scott-Heron, the poet and musician best known for his song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” and whose style was a precursor to hip-hop, died Friday in New York City, The Associated Press reported. He was 62 years old.

Doris C. Nolan, a friend of Scott-Heron, told the AP that the spoken-word artist and musician passed away yesterday afternoon at St. Luke's Hospital after being ill. Scott-Heron had returned from a trip to Europe.

According to his bio on his official Web site, Scott-Heron is known for his output from the ‘60s and ‘70s marked by a collaboration with musician Brian Jackson. That partnership produced a hybrid of soul, jazz and blues and incorporated political and activist themes. His albums “Pieces of a Man” and “Winter in America” from the early ‘70s “helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.”

Scott-Heron’s famous work is 1970’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” described by All Music as “an aggressive polemic against the major media and white America's ignorance of increasingly deteriorating conditions in the inner cities.”

In an obituary on National Public Radio’s The Record blog, Scott-Heron returned to performing music in 2007 after a period of drug abuse and incarceration due to drug possession. A year ago, he released the critically-acclaimed "I’m New Here."

Scott-Heron was born on April 1, 1949 in Chicago. According to All Music, he published a novel, "The Vulture" (1968), as well as a book of poetry titled "Small Talk at 125th and Lennox."

Selected Readings: The Associated Press, NPR, All Music, Gil Scott-Heron Web site
 

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