The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (album)

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Compilation album by Gil Scott-Heron
Released 1974
(see release history)
Recorded 1970–1972
125th & Lenox Nightclub, RCA Studios
(New York, New York)
Genre Soul, jazz-funk, proto-rap, jazz poetry, spoken word
Length 33:01
Label Flying Dutchman/RCA
BDL 1-0613
Producer Bob Thiele
Gil Scott-Heron chronology
Free Will
(1972)
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
(1974)
Winter in America
(1974)
Alternative cover
1988 reissue cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Amazon.com (favorable)[2]
Robert Christgau (B+)[3]
Ebony (favorable)[4]
Los Angeles Daily News (A)[5]
RapReviews (9.5/10)[6]
Virgin Encyclopedia 5/5 stars[7]
The Washington Post (favorable)[8]

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a compilation album by American recording artist Gil Scott-Heron, released in 1974 on Flying Dutchman Records in the United States. It was also released in 1975 in Spain on Flying Dutchman's parent label, RCA, under the title La Revolucion No Podra Ser Televisada.[9] The album takes its name from Scott-Heron's 1971 song of the same name.[6] Originally issued in LP format,[9] it contains recordings previously featured on Scott-Heron's first three albums for the Flying Dutchman label, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox (1970), Pieces of a Man (1971), and Free Will (1972),[2] which were produced by jazz producer Bob Thiele.[1] The album's recordings feature musical elements of funk, jazz, and proto-rap.[7]

Upon its release, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised charted on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums, peaking at number 21 after five weeks on the chart. It has received favorable reviews from critics and music publications that praised the album's material and Scott-Heron's performance. Following digital remastering,[10] the album was reissued on compact disc in 1988 with additional material and alternate artwork.[9]

Reception[edit]

Upon its original release in 1974, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised charted on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums chart, peaking at number 21 on October 12, 1974 after spending five weeks on the chart.[11] The album initially received favorable criticism from publications, including The Village Voice and Ebony. Rock critic Robert Christgau of the former publication gave it a B+ rating and noted its "sign of growth" from Gil Scott-Heron's previous work.[3] Ebony's Phyl Garland called the album "mind-blowing", and wrote of Scott-Heron performance, stating "He does not merely posture and pacify, but presses one to consider the uncomfortable truths of contemporary blackness."[4] Following the album's reissue, it received positive reviews from publications such as The Washington Post and Los Angeles Daily News, which gave it an A rating.[5][8] A columnist for the Daily News commented on the album material's significance to hip hop, stating "the roots of rap run deep through this superb retrospective".[12] In his book To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (2007), William Jelani Cobb discussed the album and its title track's relation to the emergence of the hip hop movement in New York City during the 1970s, stating:

While The Last Poets and This Is Madness pre-dated the beginnings of hip hop, Gil Scott-Heron's 1974 album The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was released as the art form took its first breaths of South Bronx air. Primarily a jazz album, Revolution's claim to the hip hop pantheon was anchored in a title track that found Scott-Heron delivering verse over a hypnotic, funk-indebted bassline—an approach that was so distinct at that point as to warrant classic status.[13]

—William J. Cobb

In the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2002), writer Colin Larkin gave The Revolution Will Not Be Televised five stars and commended Scott-Heron's anger and passion in his spoken-word performance of songs such as "No Knock" and the title track.[7] The album received a rating of 9.5/10 from RapReviews and five stars from Allmusic.[1][6] Allmusic's Alex Henderson called Scott-Heron's music on The Revolution Will Not Be Televised "innovative R&B and spoken poetry that contains jazz influences", and recommended the album for listeners that are "exploring his artistry for the first time".[1]

Track listing[edit]

Original LP
Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"   Gil Scott-Heron 3:03
2. "Sex Education: Ghetto Style"   Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson 0:48
3. "The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues"   Scott-Heron, Jackson 4:59
4. "No Knock"   Scott-Heron 1:27
5. "Lady Day and John Coltrane"   Scott-Heron 3:32
6. "Pieces of a Man"   Scott-Heron, Jackson 4:59
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Home Is Where the Hatred Is"   Scott-Heron 3:18
8. "Brother"   Scott-Heron 1:42
9. "Save the Children"   Scott-Heron 4:22
10. "Whitey on the Moon"   Scott-Heron 1:26
11. "Did You Hear What They Said?"   Scott-Heron 3:25

1988 compact disc reissue bonus tracks.[10]

Personnel[edit]

Chart history[edit]

Billboard Music Charts (North America) – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Release history[edit]

Information regarding the release history of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is adapted from Discogs.[9]

Region Year Label Format Catalog
United States 1974 Flying Dutchman Records vinyl LP BDL 1-0613
Spain 1975 RCA Records vinyl LP, Spanish edition DBL 1-0613
Germany 1988 BMG remastered CD 6994-2-RB
United States 1988 RCA vinyl LP NL 86994
United States 1988 BMG vinyl LP DRL 11798
Germany 1989 RCA CD ND86994
United States 1998 BMG reissued LP DRL11798

Sample use[edit]

The information regarding sampling of songs from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is adapted from TheBreaks.com.[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Henderson, Alex. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ a b Dellar, Fred. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. Consumber Guide: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  4. ^ a b Garland, Phyl. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Ebony: 30. December 1974.
  5. ^ a b Columnist. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Los Angeles Daily News: September 2, 1988.
  6. ^ a b c Taylor, Patrick. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  7. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: March 1, 2002.
  8. ^ a b Harrington, Richard. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". The Washington Post: June 30, 1998.
  9. ^ a b c d The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Album, Comp). Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  10. ^ a b Track listing and credits as per liner notes for The Revolution Will Not Be Televised CD reissue
  11. ^ a b "Best Selling Jazz LPs". Billboard: 36. October 12, 2004.
  12. ^ Columnist. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Los Angeles Daily News: December 30, 1988.
  13. ^ Cobb (2007), pp. 43–44.
  14. ^ Rap Sample Search: Gil Scott-Heron. TheBreaks. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.

References[edit]

External links[edit]