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Gil Scott-Heron - Pieces of a Man

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Pieces of a Man

Gil Scott-Heron

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Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match. His unique proto-rap vocal style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media -- the very entity attacked in this song -- has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, the message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless. More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist. On tracks like the reflective "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and the title track, Scott-Heron's voice is complemented perfectly by the soulful keyboards of Brian Jackson. On "Lady Day and John Coltrane," he not only celebrates jazz legends of the past in his words but in his vocal performance, one that is filled with enough soul and innovation to make Coltrane and Billie Holiday nod their heads in approval. More than three decades after its release, Pieces of a Man is just as -- if not more -- powerful and influential today as it was the day it was released.
© Jon Azpiri /TiVo

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Pieces of a Man

Gil Scott-Heron

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1
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
00:03:05

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

2
Save the Children
00:04:25

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

3
Lady Day and John Coltrane
00:03:34

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

4
Home Is Where the Hatred Is
00:03:19

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

5
When You Are Who You Are
00:03:21

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

6
I Think I'll Call It Morning
00:03:29

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

7
Pieces of a Man
00:04:52

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

8
A Sign of the Ages
00:04:01

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

9
Or Down You Fall
00:03:12

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

10
The Needle's Eye
00:04:48

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

11
The Prisoner
00:09:25

Gil Scott-Heron, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

12
Chains
00:03:24

Black & Blues, Main Artist, Artist - Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

13
Peace
00:06:07

Black & Blues, Main Artist, Artist - Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Carlin Music Corp

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

14
A Toast to the People
00:03:25

Black & Blues, Main Artist, Artist - Brian Jackson, Gil Scott-Heron, Composer - Peermusic (UK) Ltd

2014 Ace Records 2014 Ace Records

Album Description

Gil Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man set a standard for vocal artistry and political awareness that few musicians will ever match. His unique proto-rap vocal style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists, and nowhere is his style more powerful than on the classic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Even though the media -- the very entity attacked in this song -- has used, reused, and recontextualized the song and its title so many times, the message is so strong that it has become almost impossible to co-opt. Musically, the track created a formula that modern hip-hop would follow for years to come: bare-bones arrangements featuring pounding basslines and stripped-down drumbeats. Although the song features plenty of outdated references to everything from Spiro Agnew and Jim Webb to The Beverly Hillbillies, the force of Scott-Heron's well-directed anger makes the song timeless. More than just a spoken word poet, Scott-Heron was also a uniquely gifted vocalist. On tracks like the reflective "I Think I'll Call It Morning" and the title track, Scott-Heron's voice is complemented perfectly by the soulful keyboards of Brian Jackson. On "Lady Day and John Coltrane," he not only celebrates jazz legends of the past in his words but in his vocal performance, one that is filled with enough soul and innovation to make Coltrane and Billie Holiday nod their heads in approval. More than three decades after its release, Pieces of a Man is just as -- if not more -- powerful and influential today as it was the day it was released.
© Jon Azpiri /TiVo

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