Gil Scott-Heron 1949 – 2011
Gil Scott-Heron died on the afternoon of May 27, 2011, at St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City, after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip.
Despite Gil’s genius – as a writer, poet and musician – his life was one of struggle; against his past, against prejudice, and for the people on the street whom he always identified with – and spoke out for – in his books and on his records.
A sign of his good heart in the midst of a chaotic personal life was his gig at a down-at-heel music pub in South East London a few years ago.
His manager turned up at the Goldsmith’s Tavern in New Cross with Gil, who was ‘looking for something to get me sorted out’. In those days, it didn’t take long, and in the wait for the deal to be sorted, the manager was talking to the resident soundman at the the time, Bevan B.
After Bevan suggested that Gil could ‘do a spot’ down at the Goldsmiths, Gil looked around, at the punks, students, squatters and ravers, the peeling paint and the low-cloud effect of marijuana smoke hanging over the dancefloor, and declared ‘This is my sort of place !’
He played a blinding gig the next night, and all who were there will remember the genius who took his spirit from his struggle, and could turn it into the most moving, liberating music with a poetry that informed and inspired – a real star who never ‘sold his ass to The Man’.
Although he never reaped the riches from the enormous effect that he had on popular culture, his legacy will be understood, like most great artists, through the long span of history; but his humanity, intelligence, and spirit of resistance will be missed by many around the world . . . .
More information later . . .
Also check out the fiba blog . . . and also an interview with a poet from Liverpool mentored by Gil Scott-Heron, which we pinched from the BBC and uploaded to our music site – so credit to them for the original programme [on Outlook].