Saturday, May 28

S.I.P. Gil Scot Heron

I have been in the New York area for the last two weeks, working in the City the first week and visiting with my parents and friends in NJ for the last few days, before returning to Spain tomorrow.

Ever since I left the US for Spain some 26 years ago, such returns tug my mind and memory in many different directions. "You can't go home again" goes the old truism. It may be right, but whatever truth it encloses seems to wrong us in our perpetually earnest efforts to travel back across cultures, continents, ages and periods of our lives, to reconnect and mend frayed threads.

Many memories welled up today on hearing the sad news that singer, songwriter, musician and poet Gil Scot Heron has passed on, finishing his sojourn here all too soon at just 62, before moving on to the definitive home where we are all summoned  to return. Swing in peace, Gil.

I am embedding below a clip of his classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". It still packs a wallop after all these years...

An alternate reading of the poem by Gil Scot Heron can be heard here.

Anyone care to reprise this for the revolution will not be podcast?


  1. Sad news Lorenzo, he was great.

  2. ah man...saw this over at walking mans,,,sad

  3. lorenzo i just finished preparing a posting for tomorrow about gil's flying away. he lit up my revolutionary heart when i was a teenager sitting in my suburban bedroom. he filled in the gaps between my little red book and soul on ice. he told a truer truth of the black experience than the rock jazz i was listening to. most of all though i felt like i was in the presence of someone entirely real. steven

  4. Revolutions are such a romantic thing, if only they were not that necessary, and we all that needy, if we got any souls at all. And then, so few of them succeed, may be that is why they are part of our nostalgia despite everything.
    Buen viaje de vuelta a España, de ese lío de identidades y lealtades que es viajar y recordar otros lugares y otros momentos.

  5. Yeah, I used to hope GSH and George Carlin would one day get together and let everyone have it.

    I guess they can now.

    Hmm... be right back... gonna write something.

  6. another piece of my growing up passing on.

  7. Gil Scot Heron was not in my past. Now he is in my present and future though, live.

  8. Perhaps Gil and George are having a beer together now...

    Thanks, Lorenzo.

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  10. re gsh....yes, too soon, too soon

    thanks for sharing the news, i hadn't heard....

    instead of thomas wolfe's attitude about 'going home' ....i think i prefer maya angelou's attitude: "i long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever i find myself."

    safe travels back home..... to spain from your home in nj/ny/us

  11. I was hooked from "Lady Day and John Coltrane", and that was more than 30 years ago. Thanks for posting this, and thanks for the good work, GSH. He will be missed, and his views of black-white relations were well ahead of their time. EFH

  12. Fine wisdom. I'm not terribly familiar with the man but of course I've heard the Revolution will not be Televised. Poignant words.

  13. Oh, I didn't realize, thanks for letting us know, I always loved Gil Scott Heron. Hope you're enjoying the City, you brought sunny weather with you. Claudia

  14. Whatever the saying, I think one *can* go home again (I did after ten years elsewhere). Hope you enjoyed NY, Lorenzo, kiss the big apple for me.

    PS: RIP, Gil.

  15. Sad news indeed. I had a wave of nostalgia come over me listening again to this. Nice to know you were "state-side!" Welcome home to the US, Lorenzo! Claudia's up in NJ.

  16. I hope you had a good visit, and that now you are happily back in Spain.
    Although hip hop is something I haven't ever really embraced, Gil Scot Heron was really a poet, wasn't he? And a powerful one. I read that Langston Hughes was his inspiration, and I can really hear that.

  17. Home is where we're headed, not where we've been.

  18. Lorenzo:

    I trust your stay was memorable in a good way... it has been awhile?


  19. there is something special in coming so late to this post, lorenzo. robert played the revolution will not be televised for me the day after Gil Scot Heron passed. it was a revolution, indeed. a revelation to hear such passion and know it is true. and now to come and only read the title, the revolution...the whole meter and boom of his read fills me instantly. what is that? mighty special.

    i think on your statement one cannot go home and i wonder where home is for you. you left spain to go to the states. you left the states to go to spain. i wonder if it feels for you as it feels with me leaving small communities over the years, that i am without definitive home, without nailed down roots and that cultural casing that others who have never left carry with them. and i am ok with this. this way i get to lay down larger roots, perhaps not as deeply, or perhaps not as unseeingly. i lay them down by choice and this is not without its power.

    hope your summer is treating you well, lorenzo.


  20. Hallo Lorenzo, I discoverd a year with Rilke a while ago, but while I was posting about Rilke and Rodin I came across your posts about them, and thank you! So I have linked to them in my blog - I've also been reading some of your other posts now - the picture you have at the top of your blog is marvellous - and goes so well with the quotation. Your quote from Pessoa is so good too and your poem re finding the orange is lovely, especially the last line I think. It reminds me of time I spent in Greece and 'fallen fruit' is part of the title of my next collection. I did not know till I read Lawrence Durrell that in the past, only fallen fruit was considered good enough to offer to the gods, because of its perfect ripeness.
    All best,

  21. You're right- his words still carry a. wallop. RIP.


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