The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (album)

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
TRWNBT album.jpg
Compilation album by
GenreJazz, funk, R&B, proto-rap, spoken word
LabelFlying Dutchman
ProducerBob Thiele
Gil Scott-Heron chronology
Free Will
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Winter in America
Alternative cover
1988 reissue cover
1988 reissue cover

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a compilation album by American singer and songwriter Gil Scott-Heron. It was released in 1974 by Flying Dutchman Records and titled after Scott-Heron's 1971 song of the same name.[1]


The album features recordings previously featured on Scott-Heron's first three records for Flying Dutchman—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.[3] The music compiled incorporates funk, jazz, and proto-rap styles.[4]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[4]
Los Angeles Daily NewsA[6]

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised was released in 1974 and charted on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums. It peaked at number 21 on October 12 of that year after spending five weeks on the chart.[7] In a contemporary review, Ebony magazine's Phyl Garland called the album "mind-blowing" and said Scott-Heron "does not merely posture and pacify, but presses one to consider the uncomfortable truths of contemporary blackness."[8]

Since then, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised has received positive reviews from publications such as The Washington Post and Los Angeles Daily News,[9] which said "the roots of rap run deep through this superb retrospective".[10] Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said the compilation abandons the homophobia that plagued Scott-Heron's 1970 debut Small Talk at 125th and Lenox in favor of songs that show artistic progress, including agitprop that sounds less arrogant but still committed and improved singing that reveals his compassion.[5] In To the Break of Dawn: A Freestyle on the Hip Hop Aesthetic (2007), William Jelani Cobb said of its significance in hip hop music:

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.[11]

In the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2002), writer Colin Larkin praised Scott-Heron's anger and passion in his spoken-word performances on "No Knock" and the title track.[4] AllMusic's Alex Henderson recommended the album's "innovative R&B and spoken poetry" to listeners interested in "exploring his artistry for the first time".[3]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"Gil Scott-Heron3:03
2."Sex Education: Ghetto Style"Scott-Heron, Brian Jackson0:48
3."The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues"Scott-Heron, Jackson4:59
4."No Knock"Scott-Heron1:27
5."Lady Day and John Coltrane"Scott-Heron3:32
6."Pieces of a Man"Scott-Heron, Jackson4:59
Side two
1."Home Is Where the Hatred Is"Scott-Heron3:18
3."Save the Children"Scott-Heron4:22
4."Whitey on the Moon"Scott-Heron1:26
5."Did You Hear What They Said?"Scott-Heron3:25
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–11 on CD reissues.
1988 CD bonus tracks
12."When You Are Who You Are"Scott-Heron, Jackson3:01
13."I Think I'll Call It Morning"Scott-Heron, Jackson3:45
14."A Sign of the Ages"Scott-Heron, Jackson4:05
15."Or Down You Fall"Scott-Heron, Jackson3:08
16."The Needle's Eye"Scott-Heron, Jackson4:01
17."The Prisoner"Scott-Heron, Jackson8:39




  • Carmine Coppola – reissue artwork
  • Joe Lopes – remastering
  • Bob Simpson – engineer
  • Stephen Sulke – engineer
  • Bob Thiele – producer, remastering


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.[12]

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

Sampled appearances[edit]

The information regarding sampling of songs from The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is adapted from[13]


  1. ^ Taylor, Patrick. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  2. ^ Dellar, Fred. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  3. ^ a b c Henderson, Alex. Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  4. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: March 1, 2002.
  5. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  6. ^ Columnist. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Los Angeles Daily News: September 2, 1988.
  7. ^ a b "Best Selling Jazz LPs". Billboard: 36. October 12, 2004.
  8. ^ Garland, Phyl. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Ebony: 30. December 1974.
  9. ^ Harrington, Richard. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". The Washington Post: June 30, 1998.
  10. ^ Columnist. "Review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". Los Angeles Daily News: December 30, 1988.
  11. ^ Cobb (2007), pp. 43–44.
  12. ^ The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (Album, Comp). Discogs. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  13. ^ Rap Sample Search: Gil Scott-Heron. TheBreaks. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.


External links[edit]