"You will not be able to stay home, brother..."
May 27, 2011 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011).

It is not easy to come up with a one-word descriptor for Gil Scott-Heron. Musician, first. But also proto-rapper. And troubled soul:

Scott-Heron calls himself a bluesologist. He is sixty-one, tall and scrawny. Writer visits Scott-Heron at his apartment where he was watching a tape of the Rumble in the Jungle fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. “I like to see unbelievable odds because that’s what I’ve been facing all these years. When I feel like giving up, I like to watch this,” Scott-Heron said.

(New Yorker paywall for full article)

RIP
posted by overeducated_alligator (218 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by activitystory at 7:08 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by dunkadunc at 7:08 PM on May 27, 2011


noooo!

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posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 7:09 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by theartandsound at 7:10 PM on May 27, 2011


1993, or so, Regatta Bar in Cambridge. Jesus Christ, amazing.

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posted by benito.strauss at 7:10 PM on May 27, 2011


noooo! my thoughts exactly.
posted by sweetkid at 7:10 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by El Brendano at 7:11 PM on May 27, 2011


Oh man, really? He had a hard lifestyle, but he made it a long time even so.
posted by Forktine at 7:11 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Tiresias at 7:12 PM on May 27, 2011


I was proud to share a name with him.

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posted by stirred for a bird at 7:14 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 7:15 PM on May 27, 2011


So it goes...

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posted by schyler523 at 7:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least whitey's not on the fuckin' moon any more
posted by briank at 7:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by Trurl at 7:18 PM on May 27, 2011


“Certain bad things that happen… make you realize you’ve been here a whole lot longer than people thought you would.” —Gil Scott-Heron

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posted by yaymukund at 7:20 PM on May 27, 2011


I just read his wikipedia article a few days ago due to Radio David Byrne's May playlist featuring three of his tracks.

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posted by finite at 7:21 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Mil at 7:21 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by hyperizer at 7:22 PM on May 27, 2011


Damn.

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posted by The Hamms Bear at 7:23 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by sinnesloeschen at 7:24 PM on May 27, 2011


heard him in junior high. Irreparably damaged me, the good way
posted by jtron at 7:25 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2011


Well that sucks.

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posted by Artw at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2011


oh man :(

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posted by bayani at 7:27 PM on May 27, 2011


Oh no, now Mr. Darling is going to be in a funk all weekend (and not the good kind of funk).
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:28 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by solarion at 7:30 PM on May 27, 2011


Recent remix that I really liked.
posted by ollyollyoxenfree at 7:30 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by yeloson at 7:30 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by kinnakeet at 7:31 PM on May 27, 2011


Aw man.

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posted by eyeballkid at 7:32 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by drezdn at 7:33 PM on May 27, 2011


I didnt know he was still around.

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posted by wheelieman at 7:34 PM on May 27, 2011


Crap, that sucks.

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posted by octothorpe at 7:34 PM on May 27, 2011


Aw goddammit.

He blew up my mind when I was a kid. Led me down the trail of a lot of creative influences that changed me forever and ... God. I'm out of shit to say. I feel bad for a world that he's not there to challenge. This world abrades people down to nothing.

It absolutely, absolutely never gets easier to watch your heroes go away.
posted by penduluum at 7:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


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posted by fizzix at 7:35 PM on May 27, 2011


No. No way.

Where did the night go?

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posted by Chichibio at 7:36 PM on May 27, 2011


NO! NOOO! That guy, geez. Fuck!

I'm New Here and We're New Here (remixes by Jamie xx) together are a superb way to end a career. Tough life, tough man.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


There are few times i wish for an afterlife, this is one of those times. I just wish a man who suffered so much in this world can find himself in peace in another. I don't know exactly why i want this so much for this man, but it just seemed by opening his soul to share his art and wisdom he made him self too vulnerable for a world like ours. I can never thank him enough for that and hope he finds peace.

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posted by lips at 7:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


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posted by scody at 7:39 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by item at 7:40 PM on May 27, 2011


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such a great artist.
posted by Auden at 7:40 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by ambrosia at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2011


nooooo! I loved him. So amazing.
posted by hansbrough at 7:43 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by brevator at 7:44 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by safetyfork at 7:44 PM on May 27, 2011


It absolutely, absolutely never gets easier to watch your heroes go away.

Amen to that. Peace.
posted by vverse23 at 7:45 PM on May 27, 2011


Fuck.

FUCK.

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goddamnit.
posted by palomar at 7:49 PM on May 27, 2011


He was a good guy. Sorry about this.
posted by cincinnatus c at 7:50 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Kinbote at 7:52 PM on May 27, 2011


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:-(
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:55 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by furtive at 7:56 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Jehan at 7:57 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by jabo at 7:58 PM on May 27, 2011


Damn. It's not a surprise, really, given his drug usage, but it's still a shock. New York is Killing Me indeed.

Such a loss; such a gifted man.

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posted by jokeefe at 7:59 PM on May 27, 2011


His last few years were absolutely brilliant, after such a fallow period
posted by PinkMoose at 8:00 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by oneswellfoop at 8:01 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Wolof at 8:03 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by tallus at 8:04 PM on May 27, 2011


We Almost Lost Detroit

very sad news.
posted by readery at 8:05 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by motty at 8:05 PM on May 27, 2011


Ah, shit. Hero of mine since I was about 14. Did not get the props he deserved.
posted by Decani at 8:08 PM on May 27, 2011


Fierce brave intelligent talented guy. And if Twitter is any measure in real time, he touched a LOT of people.

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posted by Skygazer at 8:09 PM on May 27, 2011


Best of on Grooveshark
posted by Keith Talent at 8:10 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by RokkitNite at 8:11 PM on May 27, 2011


Bummed, surely, but that New Yorker article was the saddest thing. Hope he finds the peace in death he lacked in life.

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posted by GilloD at 8:12 PM on May 27, 2011


Fuck up what you can, young people.
posted by penduluum at 8:13 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


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posted by h0p3y at 8:16 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 8:16 PM on May 27, 2011


So if you see the vulture coming...
posted by delmoi at 8:17 PM on May 27, 2011


I grew up amongst hippie commie radicals and he was popular with that crowd. He's just been part of the landscape for me most of my life. The man told it like he saw it, and what he saw wasn't pretty. He'll be sorely missed.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by kilo hertz at 8:27 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by ChuqD at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2011


Time to play my wife's college LP of Winter in America.

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posted by lukemeister at 8:29 PM on May 27, 2011


B movie

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posted by neuromodulator at 8:29 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a fucking cool voice that guy had. Completely wrong on politics, but man, that voice kicked ass.


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posted by BobbyVan at 8:30 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by PHINC at 8:30 PM on May 27, 2011


"Let me lay down by a stream / and let me be miles from everything / rivers of my fathers / can you carry me home?"
posted by vverse23 at 8:33 PM on May 27, 2011


The motherfucking dogs are still in the street.
posted by exogenous at 8:35 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm New Here and We're New Here (remixes by Jamie xx) together are a superb way to end a career.

I love I'm New Here, but in case you didn't know, it's a Bill Callahan (Smog) cover.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:37 PM on May 27, 2011


On Coming From A Broken Home
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on May 27, 2011


Ahhh dammit.

I saw him in 1981 at the now defunct Riverview Supper Club in Minneapolis.

Incredibly, I just found an article/review of his appearance in the Minnesota Daily from October 22, 1981. Warning: It's a 40-page pdf. The review is on the bottom half of page 13.

My favorite: Winter in America

RIP

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posted by marsha56 at 8:40 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Unioncat at 8:40 PM on May 27, 2011


Thanks for it all, Gil; dead now but immortal the way true poets are.
posted by Abiezer at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by MrBadExample at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2011


Well the first thing I want to say is, "mandate" my ass.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:43 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by juv3nal at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2011


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First version of Revolution Will Not Be Televised that I heard was Genaside II's "The Genaside Will Not Be Televised".

See also this Chris Cunningham Remix of NY Is Killing Me. -- It's long, but frigging awesome. Using the rhythm of the train clacks as backing.
posted by symbioid at 8:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by heurtebise at 8:53 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by kuatto at 8:54 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


. Feels less now.
posted by LucretiusJones at 8:59 PM on May 27, 2011


What a great artist. I'm glad he had a renaissance in the last few years, but I wish he'd gotten to continue on his new track for a while. Until then, there's all this music to treasure. Here's my favorite online video: Is That Jazz? Besides everything else about him, his politics, his lyrics, his voice, his troubled, awful, too human decline, he was a damn fine entertainer.
posted by Kattullus at 9:06 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 9:09 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by mike3k at 9:12 PM on May 27, 2011


oh shit...

that last album was fantastic, capping such a complex emotionally rich output of life.

Tomorrow I have to fill-in DJ for a Blues show, and yeah it ain't exactly blues, but I do know what I'm leading off with now.

bugger blast and damn

Where did the night go
posted by edgeways at 9:12 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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I had know idea he was such a young man when he did "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." I had no idea he was only a year older than I.

Carpe diem, motherfuckers.
posted by rdone at 9:12 PM on May 27, 2011


Boo.
posted by freebird at 9:13 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by DaddyNewt at 9:15 PM on May 27, 2011


Such a beautiful soul. I'm playing all his music tonight ... feeling all the memories. Sad.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:16 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by pmb at 9:18 PM on May 27, 2011


Shit. So long, GSH. Hope you finally find peace.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:21 PM on May 27, 2011


New York is Killing Me. RIP.
posted by jokeefe at 9:22 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw, shit.
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posted by steambadger at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2011


So much talent, such a sad thing to see. Rest in peace and thank you for what you gave the world.

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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Superfrankenstein at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2011


Completely wrong on politics, but man, that voice kicked ass.

Yeah, no.

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posted by ryanshepard at 9:27 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


What's the word/Tell me brother have you heard/from Johannesburg? Songs that were the soundtrack to my twenties.
posted by jokeefe at 9:28 PM on May 27, 2011


the first time i heard "the revolution will not be televised" was as a radio deejay in college in the late 80s, and it knocked the wind out of me -- so much strength and anger and power.

dammit.

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posted by flyingsquirrel at 9:28 PM on May 27, 2011


It makes you wish he could have done more and given in to his demons less, but it also makes you wonder if he could have done what he did if he had.

Leaving everybody wanting more is a great way for an artist to go out, but it's a tragic way for any person to go. Peace and respect to him.
posted by ardgedee at 9:28 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by mapinduzi at 9:41 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by bbuda at 9:47 PM on May 27, 2011


Completely wrong on politics

No, he wasn't.

Once in a while there will be something like this that happens that I know nobody in my everyday life would understand even if I talked about it with them. I mean, why would a 40-something white gay man admire and indeed LOVE a black man who wrote lyrics like "Faggots who were bawling because they couldn't get their balls/inside the faggot hall/Bawling, balling, ball-less faggots/Cutie, cootie, and snooty faggots"? (Indeed, on metafilter there was a previous thread in which someone said that this track made it impossible for him to "truly like" Gil Scott-Heron.) Yet Gil Scott-Heron wrote a paper in high school on Langston Hughes, and met the man, who told him to apply to his own alma mater, Lincoln University, which he did, and he got in, though he never finished school there because his poetry and music intervened. And he called Langston one of his biggest influences. I refuse to believe that this man was as uncomplicated as most people wanted him to be. And that's one of the reasons I love him -- he refused to fit anyone's goddamn categories. He refused to be called a Godfather of Hip-Hop. He refused to think of himself as entitled to be spoken about in the same category as his lifelong heroes and idols, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, or Duke Ellington. He refused to be anyone's spokesman. But at the same time he (and Brian Jackson) put down some of the most haunting music and some of the most wrenching lyrics ever recorded. He was a visionary in a time when being a visionary was ridiculed, laughed at, called the province of the naive. I can't think of very many people who I would classify as my own heroes, and I often dismiss that question as a cynic dismisses such questions, as someone who grew up in an era when everything heroic had long since been bombed and shot to shreds by Vietnam and Watergate. But he was a hero to me. I will miss him, good Lord I will miss him. Peace, GSH, in whatever dimension you wind up in; more peace and tranquility than the fuckers in this life ever gave you.

Standing in the ruins of another black man's life.
Or flying through the valley separating day and night.
"I am Death," cried the vulture. "For the people of
        the light."
--Gil Scott-Heron
posted by blucevalo at 9:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [27 favorites]


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posted by sigmagalator at 9:48 PM on May 27, 2011


I was steeped in his brilliance when I was living in one of many small Midwestern racist cities. Didn't matter if you were smart and naturally kindhearted. You grew up in Richmond, Indiana. You were a racist. My black roommate, a poet and a percussionist, would play Heron's albums and watch my reaction.

Sure, liberals and write-your-congresswoman responses to the newest atrocities are one answer to facing ugly truths. I could not stop listening to those albums of his. Thanks, Gil. You got up in our grills. Needed.

It is Winter in America, now, even more so. In the meantime, the media gatekeepers do a good job of keeping us warm with thoughts of possible inchoate hardly believable Good Ship Lollipop endings to our Modest Proposal 1984 Brave New World.

Trying to keep it real and spread the love at the same time. Thank you, Gil.

Gregg
posted by kozad at 10:00 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


“ I ain’t become the Dali Lama but I ain’t missed a whole bunch a shit.”
posted by PHINC at 10:01 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man

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posted by Sailormom at 10:03 PM on May 27, 2011


The world just lost some of it's greatness.

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posted by BigHeartedGuy at 10:09 PM on May 27, 2011


Oh no. Very sad news.

Completely wrong on politics

Say... what?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:10 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Completely wrong on politics

I shudder to think, then, who you might find completely right...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:16 PM on May 27, 2011


he wrote this at 19


The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be televised.
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by the
Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
The revolution will not make you look five pounds
thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
or report from 29 districts.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
brothers in the instant replay.
There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
For just the proper occasion.

Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
The revolution will not be televised.

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised.

The revolution will not be right back after a message
bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
You will not have to worry about a dove in your
bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.




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posted by liza at 10:18 PM on May 27, 2011 [21 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 10:22 PM on May 27, 2011


My English teacher played him to her class when I was fourteen. Here's to her, and to him.

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posted by goofyfoot at 10:29 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


i've been listening to him a lot lately, mostly Re-Ron and B-Movie where he excoriates the 1984 reelection of Reagan with the opening salvo 'Mandate my ass'

RIP, brother

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posted by kuppajava at 10:30 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The New Yorker profile appears to no longer be behind a paywall; at least I can see it, and I'm not a subscriber.

I always disliked the "hairy-armed women's liberationists" line for obvious reasons, but Gil Scott-Heron was a complex artist and his missteps aren't the result of bad faith or bad intentions. I've been listening to his work all evening, and with every note feeling a greater sense of loss.
posted by jokeefe at 10:32 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, lest we forget, he wasn't all about politics and revolution. Exhibit A: Lady Day and John Coltrane.
posted by blucevalo at 10:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


so much strength and anger and power.

You forgot 'truth'.
posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 10:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


My English teacher played him to her class when I was fourteen. Here's to her, and to him.

My high-school English teacher not only played "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" to fellow dumbstruck white teens of all races in the mid-late 80s, but he would also randomly chant, "What's the word? Johannesburg!" Dominic Belmonte is (was?) a great English teacher, and I thank him for introducing GSH to me.

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posted by stannate at 10:41 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Best cover of Gil-Scott Heron...maybe just the best cover ever.
posted by bonefish at 10:42 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by tzikeh at 10:45 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by dmand7 at 10:47 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by motorcycles are jets at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by joedan at 10:54 PM on May 27, 2011


And now it's winter
It's winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It's winter, Lord knows
It's winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America
posted by charlesminus at 11:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


His Pieces of a Man is an achingly beautiful and very poignant song.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:04 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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(symbioid: Cunningham used his library of train recordings not just as backing, but to substitute/reconstitute nearly all of the music in the track.)
posted by progosk at 11:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by squ1rr3l at 11:18 PM on May 27, 2011


$#!+

I just turned my girl on to GSH last weekend.

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posted by sfts2 at 11:20 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by zaelic at 11:22 PM on May 27, 2011


Also, lest we forget, he wasn't all about politics and revolution

I'm really happy I got to see him live before he died. I saw him on one of his MLK day shows at SOBs and he was actually really really funny. Much funnier than political. He joked about Riker's island and his life. He also joked "why does black history month have to be February? Black people can't pronounce that!"
posted by fuq at 11:23 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by en forme de poire at 11:35 PM on May 27, 2011


When I was a kid and first heard Whitey on the Moon, it was a revelation. "Wait ... [cogs start slipping, Lucas-born paradigms shifting] ... you mean not everyone loved the Moon landing? NASA and spaceships and astronauts and all that aren't unadulterated awesomeness...?" It's been a long trip from that Larry-Niven-loving teen, a trip that began as much with that song as anything.
posted by chortly at 11:42 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


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posted by rdr at 11:50 PM on May 27, 2011


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posted by Xeiliex at 11:50 PM on May 27, 2011


Message to the Messengers

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posted by adamvasco at 11:51 PM on May 27, 2011


I had only the vaguest sense of who GSH was - I'd heard The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and heard him talked about as an important hip-hop influence.

Then, because of Kanye West (Kanye Fucking West. This is so embarrassing), I heard a snippet of Comment #1 and decided to check out the whole track. It was a holy shit moment. I couldn't stop listening to it. Still can't, still haven't figured out what to do about that song.

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posted by dismas at 12:02 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aww, man. He was someone I hoped would never die.
posted by klangklangston at 12:06 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really appreciated him being out about his crack use. It takes a lot of courage to attain that level of honesty. His last album released just last year was as powerful as anything else he's done.

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posted by telstar at 12:08 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by roll truck roll at 12:19 AM on May 28, 2011


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I wonder if it was any consolation to him, that it's been 39 years since Whitey's been on the Moon. (Not that the money saved ever made it to pay anyone's doctor bills.)
posted by orthogonality at 12:20 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 12:31 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:45 AM on May 28, 2011


what's the word? have you heard?

ain't nothing but a word.

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posted by victors at 12:52 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by doctor_negative at 12:54 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Joey Michaels at 1:06 AM on May 28, 2011


so, so, sad.

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posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:10 AM on May 28, 2011


work for peace.
posted by ikalliom at 1:30 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by trip and a half at 1:30 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:39 AM on May 28, 2011


Damn. One of my first experiences of truly radical ideas in music. RIP genius.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:41 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by purge at 2:03 AM on May 28, 2011


"Televised" is trending worldwide on twitter right now. This seems very appropriate.

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You will be missed Gil.
posted by dabitch at 2:16 AM on May 28, 2011


Speaking of revelations, I remember the 'wait...WHUT?' moment listening to the radio in the car and hearing that his dad used to play football for Celtic.

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posted by titus-g at 2:53 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Lukenlogs at 2:58 AM on May 28, 2011


A big motherfucking dot for gil.
posted by lkc at 3:14 AM on May 28, 2011


This is a big loss.
posted by caddis at 3:17 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Harpocrates at 3:20 AM on May 28, 2011




his dad used to play football for Celtic.

He dealt with this family shame by being a Rangers fan.
posted by the cuban at 3:32 AM on May 28, 2011


Gutted – the last of my heroes.
posted by niceness at 3:43 AM on May 28, 2011


One of my all-time favorites. This is terrible news to come home to :(

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posted by p3t3 at 3:46 AM on May 28, 2011


when gil scott-heron died, he went to heaven, 'cuz he's already done his time in hell.
RIP
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posted by lapolla at 4:18 AM on May 28, 2011


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Beginnings
posted by jammy at 4:39 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by Miss Beth at 5:03 AM on May 28, 2011


Some faves of mine (in addition to the aforementioned "the raven" and "winter in america") :
Everyday
Ain't no such thing as superman
Who'll pay reparations on my soul?
posted by juv3nal at 5:07 AM on May 28, 2011


EE

posted by Sys Rq at 5:08 AM on May 28, 2011


"the raven" = "the vulture" sorry.
posted by juv3nal at 5:11 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by cashman at 5:34 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by tarantula at 5:46 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by anansi at 5:46 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by HumanComplex at 5:52 AM on May 28, 2011


briank: At least whitey's not on the fuckin' moon any mor

I think you missed the point of that track, whitey.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:52 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by fuse theorem at 6:06 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 6:40 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by mygothlaundry at 6:48 AM on May 28, 2011


Hearing Whitey on the Moon for the first time really opened the eyes of this white-bread space cadet.

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posted by a person of few words at 6:52 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by box at 7:03 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by LittleKnitting at 7:19 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by horsemuth at 7:20 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by williampratt at 7:35 AM on May 28, 2011


Gil was one of those pivotal artists in my musical growth that opened my understanding and enthusiasm for so much more music. At my college radio station I was obsessed with his then current 12" "Re-Ron", which led me to seek out his earlier stuff. "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" absolutely kicked my ass and made me a lifelong fan.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:45 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by lester at 7:46 AM on May 28, 2011


I've wondered about that line from the first time I heard the song a long time ago. "The revolution will not be televised." Yeah! Damn straight! Tell it like it is! But wait. Um...What? Because it actually will be televised, right? Back then, but even more so now. Al Jazeera live has got the Arab Spring covered like a blanket (even though I watched it via live stream, I don't think GSH was predicting the Internet).

But now I think I get it. If you're sitting on the couch, watching, it's not your revolution.
posted by ecourbanist at 7:49 AM on May 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


ecourbanist: Keep in mind when he wrote that there were only 3 networks in the U.S. And they had quite of editorial discretion in terms of what they covered. And of course the revolution wasn't televised on Egyptian state TV.

Also, here's an interview with him in the 90s about that.
posted by delmoi at 7:57 AM on May 28, 2011


Just to say, that I came here looking for mention of "B-Movie", clicked on neuromodulator's link, and saw a run time of 12 minutes.

Fuck yeah.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:58 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


So much to say... so little I can add to what has already been said in this thread.

I feel a genuine sense of loss at this news, despite having never met the man.

Rest in peace, dear poet. You changed a lot of lives, probably many many more than you could even comprehend.

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posted by hippybear at 8:19 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:54 AM on May 28, 2011


But will the funeral be televised?
posted by Bruce H. at 9:22 AM on May 28, 2011


No, the funeral will not be fucking televised.
posted by kozad at 10:06 AM on May 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Back when Eisenhower was the President,
Golf courses was where most of his time was spent.
So I never really listened to what the President said,
Because in general I believed that the General was politically dead.
But he always seemed to know when the muscles were about to be flexed,
Because I remember him saying something, mumbling something about a Military
Industrial Complex.
Americans no longer fight to keep their shores safe,
Just to keep the jobs going in the arms making workplace.
Then they pretend to be gripped by some sort of political reflex,
But all they're doing is paying dues to the Military Industrial Complex.
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary,
The Military and the Monetary.
The Military and the Monetary,
get together whenever they think its necessary,
They turn our brothers and sisters into mercenaries, they are turning the
planet into a cemetery.
The Military and the Monetary, use the media as intermediaries,
they are determined to keep the citizens secondary, they make so many
decisions that are arbitrary.
We're marching behind a commander in chief,
who is standing under a spotlight shaking like a leaf.
but the ship of state had landed on an economic reef,
so we knew he was going to bring us messages of grief.
The Military and the Monetary,
were shielded by January and went storming into February,
Brought us pot bellied generals as luminaries,
two weeks ago I hadn't heard of the son of a bitch,
now all of a sudden he's legendary.
They took the honor from the honorary,
they took the dignity from the dignitaries,
they took the secrets from the secretary,
but they left the bitch an obituary.
The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles away in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
had us all scrambling for our dictionaries,
cause we couldn't understand the fuckin vocabulary.
Yeah, there was some smart bombs,
but there was some dumb ones as well,
scared the hell out of CNN in that Baghdad hotel.
The Military and the Monetary,
they get together whenever they think its necessary,
War in the desert sometimes sure is scary,
but they beamed out the war to all their subsidiaries.
Tried to make So Damn Insane a worthy adversary,
keeping the citizens secondary,
scaring old folks into coronaries.
The Military and the Monetary,
from thousands of miles in a Saudi Arabian sanctuary,
kept us all wondering if all of this was really truly, necessary.
We've got to work for Peace,
Peace ain't coming this way.
If we only work for Peace,
posted by jettloe at 10:09 AM on May 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gil Scott-Heron performing Work For Peace (words posted by jettloe above)
posted by hippybear at 10:16 AM on May 28, 2011


I've got nothing against Jeff Conaway, but Gil Scott Heron's passing is what *ought* to be getting the press this weekend.

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posted by yellowcandy at 10:19 AM on May 28, 2011


RIP GSH

:(

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posted by priested at 10:27 AM on May 28, 2011


When I'm sitting in my office listening to my digital music or just puttering around the house, I'll listen to almost anything. A wide range of things, some good, some just catchy, some one-offs. It doesn't matter. I can turn it off.

I get picky, though, about cooking music. I don't want to get stuck with my hands covered in dough, or fussily stirring something on the stove when a bad song comes on. So for cooking music, I listen to a carefully curated selection of CDs that live in my six-disc changer. The selection revolves, but there is never not Gil Scott-Heron in there. I never need to skip a song, and even when I don't think I'm in the mood to listen to him, it takes about thirty seconds before he changes my mind. People have made fun of me for that, but nobody's complained.

There are a lot of 'influential' artists who inspired others to create great music, and there are a lot of great artists who created great or innovative music themselves, but Gil Scott-Heron was one of the few who was both.

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posted by ernielundquist at 10:33 AM on May 28, 2011


Others have mentioned I'm New Here (and the Jamie xx remixes). Seriously -- if you think Gil Scott-Heron was all about 1970s militancy and is a quaint relic of the past, go seek this shit out posthaste and be prepared to have your mind blown. (And don't let the rave Pitchfork review dissuade you.) It's more present-day and now than most of the stuff that's out there and probably won't be acknowledged as such for another 10 or 20 years. The man was ahead of his time as always.
posted by blucevalo at 10:36 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the longest time, my only exposure to the man was the Blackalicious track First In Flight, which quickly became my favorite track on the album. His role in the song just the hook, but he adds to the song immeasurably.

Get some rest, Gil.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:25 AM on May 28, 2011


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posted by mumimor at 12:05 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by marienbad at 1:11 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by elphTeq at 2:58 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by interrobang at 3:34 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by ST!NG at 3:59 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by futureisunwritten at 5:31 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by humanfont at 7:28 PM on May 28, 2011


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posted by deadwax at 5:28 AM on May 29, 2011


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Fuck, I'm getting old.
posted by CommonSense at 10:18 PM on May 29, 2011


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posted by heatvision at 6:37 AM on May 31, 2011


Cookin Soul: The Revolution Is Being Televised [Gil Scott-Heron Tribute]
posted by cashman at 10:34 AM on May 31, 2011


A lovely quote, from that New Yorker profile, about why he agreed to collaborate on "I'm New Here" - because produicer Richard Russell wanted it so bad.


"All the dreams you show up in are not your own.”



amen, sir
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posted by hap_hazard at 5:05 PM on May 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by wemayfreeze at 5:42 AM on June 1, 2011


Thank you for much beauty and for raising my consciousness, my dear brother. RIP
posted by pdxjmorris at 7:19 PM on June 1, 2011


'Gil Scott-Heron saved my life'
After a traumatic childhood Abdul Malik Al Nasir seemed to be heading for jail or an early death. Then, at the age of 18, he met the famous poet and musician – with remarkable consequences
posted by Kattullus at 3:59 AM on June 20, 2011


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