Check out 50 videos for 50 years of Motown from the Detroit Free Press.
A godfather of spoken-word and a celebrated influence on hip-hop Gil Scott-Heron started his music career in 1970 with Small Talk At 125th Street after his novels The Vulture and The Nigger Factory were published. “Whitey On The Moon” and “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” two of his definitive songs from the album showcased Heron’s Harlem Renaissance and Last Poet’s inspired polemic. His second album Pieces Of A Man was the recorded beginning of Heron’s collaborations with piano player Brian Jackson who he met when they both attended Lincoln University. Heron has recorded sixteen albums to date putting out such important songs as “The Bottle,” “Winter In America,” “Home Is Where The Hatred Is,” “B-Movie, “Angel Dust,” “Johannesburg” and “No Knock” which are smaller pieces of his storied catalog that never received strong support from Black radio but provided nourishment for the outspoken principles of hip-hop. “We Almost Lost Detroit” came from the 1977 album Bridges and it was about the 1966 accident at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station located in Monroe, MI. In 1980 Heron went on tour in replacement of Bob Marley with Stevie Wonder and helped to make Dr.King’s birthday a national holiday. Although he is one of the pioneers of hip-hop he has criticized the music as any parent would for not being intelligent, vulnerable and musical enough on ’94’s Spirits. Despite his drug problems that he has openly discussed in his music and spent time in prison for he continues to perform live and tour making NYC’s S.O.B.’s his main venue.