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Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011)
September 9, 2013 3:00 AM   Subscribe


 
Whitey on the Moon
posted by pracowity at 3:10 AM on September 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Still can't quite believe he's not with us here on the planet anymore. I don't think he got anywhere near his due recognition during his life, but considering how uncompromising his message was, it could also be said that he got further than one might've expected. He was, in fact, one of the most *radical* voices in pop music, after all.

That last record he made, man, it tears me up. It was pretty fucking great, and it boded well for the future output from this fine artist, but alas, there was no more.

Let's listen to something from that one, shall we? It's just so damn good. New York Is Killing Me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:14 AM on September 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks for posting. Why do so many artists leave just when we most need them?

New York Is Killing Me is a hell of a thing--so minimal, so visceral.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:18 AM on September 9, 2013


It's hard to beat this remixed video for New York is Killing Me. I could watch this for hours.
posted by svenx at 5:21 AM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


flapjax - you are being shy.
posted by adamvasco at 6:18 AM on September 9, 2013


"Whitey on the Moon" was instrumental in the development of my understanding of race/class issues as a teenager.
posted by 256 at 6:34 AM on September 9, 2013


Not to mention my understanding of poetry.
posted by 256 at 6:35 AM on September 9, 2013


Such a loss. Such a talent.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:38 AM on September 9, 2013


Also, thanks for the post - I think it'll poke me to go dig out more of Scott-Heron's stuff that I haven't yet heard.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:40 AM on September 9, 2013


So many great songs. I saw him play Central Park towards the end and... He was so funny, and so rhythmically sharp, but also very obviously high on something real strong. It's heartbreaking that someone with so much talent, who wrote so powerfully about drug addiction, got dragged down by the monkey.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 6:43 AM on September 9, 2013


You forgot the beautiful I Think I'll Call It Morning.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:04 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's heartbreaking that someone with so much talent, who wrote so powerfully about drug addiction, got dragged down by the monkey.

"They keep saying kick it, quit it, kick it, quit it, but lord did you ever try?"
"Why don't you stop using drugs? Thats easy, for you to say; thats easy, for you to say."
--Home is where the hatred is, if y'all hadn't made it that far yet

Also,
Who'll pay reparations on my soul?
posted by lkc at 7:26 AM on September 9, 2013


His last album had the best thing in the liner notes:
There is a proper procedure for taking advantage of any investment. Music, for example. Buying music is an investment. To get the maximum you must

LISTEN TO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER OPTIMUM CONDITIONS.

Not in your car or on a portable player through a headset.
Take it home.
Get rid of all distractions, (even her or him).
Turn off your cell phone.
Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles.
Make yourself comfortable.
Play your LP.
LISTEN all the way through.
Think about what you got.
Think about who would appreciate this investment.
Decide if there is someone to share this with.
Turn it on again.
Enjoy Yourself.

Gil Scott-Heron
posted by jason_steakums at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


flapjax - you are being shy.

Yeah, there was that, plus lots more Gil here at Mefi previously.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:44 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


B-movie: from Shogun to Raygun
posted by Omission at 9:54 AM on September 9, 2013


I don't think he got anywhere near his due recognition during his life

He was a big fish who chose to swim in a small pond and there ain't nothing bad about that.
posted by three blind mice at 11:42 AM on September 9, 2013


Also "New York City". From the truly excellent "Its Your World".

I could do this all day, thanks vapidave!
posted by lkc at 12:25 PM on September 9, 2013


I spent a long weekend afternoon enjoying Gil Scott Heron this week... and came across this portrait of him in the New Yorker Magazine. Very sad. Crack took him down.

He was a precocious child who was given a place at a prestigious New York private school and at the interview he was asked "How would you feel if you see one of your classmates go by in a limousine while you’re walking up the hill from the subway?,’ and I said, ‘Same way as you. Y’all can’t afford no limousine. How do you feel?"
posted by zaelic at 2:23 PM on September 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Too bad his life ended way too soon. I didn't realize he wasn't with us.
He was one of my personal heroes back in the day.
And here, I thought I could lose myself on skag and skip out for beer during the commercials, but Gil couldn't wait.
He was a talented musician and poet.
Why is it that people like that die so young?
posted by RocRizzo at 2:32 PM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


His autobiography is worth a look
posted by IndigoJones at 7:49 PM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


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