Gil Scott-Heron RIP

Gil Scott-Heron, one of the most influential musicians of our times, has died, aged 62.

He is reported to have died in a New York hospital having returned from Europe having fallen ill.

Arguably the inventor of rap and one of the true originals he leaves behind an unrivaled body of work and memories of gig performances that have swung from genius to interesting. With a political consciousness and a fierce intelligence his songs were wonderful social commentaries that were inspirational and powerful.

Scott-Heron himself rejected the ‘inventor of rap’ claim, stating “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 an introduction to a collection of poems, in 1990.

Instead, he referred to his work as “bluesology” or “black American music”.

Scott-Heron’s most recent album ‘I’m New Here’ (XL Recordings), released last year, was widely acclaimed and brought him to the attention of a new generation.

As news of his death was announced, modern artists including Chuck D of Public Enemy paid tributes.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Sad news… I was just playing The Revolution WillNot Be Televised the other day… Great album… Gil will be missed !

  2. Winter in America indeed.
    I wish the radio people would stop calling him the Black Bob Dylan…toe curlingly embarrasing statement.
    He wasn’t anything or anyone or any colour but himself.

  3. So sad….”I’m New Here” was one of my top ten albums from 2010 and i was hoping it was the start of a revival.

  4. Now that IS a shame. Gil Scott-Heron…inventor of acid jazz? ‘The Bottle’ just seems to be one of those songs that you heard once and then could never, even to this day, get that rhythm, or tune, or lyrics, out of your head. Most unfortunate. Excellent analogy by John Robb.


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