Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-11-11
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
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Best known for his 1970 polemic "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Gil Scott-Heron was a musical icon who defied characterization. He tantalized audiences with his charismatic stage presence, and his biting, observant lyrics in such singles as "The Bottle" and "Johannesburg" provide a time capsule for a decade marked by turbulence, uncertainty, and racism. While he was exalted by his devoted fans as the "black Bob Dylan" (a term he hated) and widely sampled by the likes of Kanye West, Prince, Common, and Elvis Costello, he never really achieved mainstream success. Yet he maintained a cult following throughout his life, even as he grappled with the personal demons that fueled so many of his lyrics. Scott-Heron performed and occasionally recorded well into his later years, until eventually succumbing to his life-long struggle with addiction. He passed away in 2011, the end to what had become a hermit-like existence.

In this biography, Marcus Baram--an acquaintance of Gil Scott-Heron's--will trace the volatile journey of a troubled musical genius. Baram will chart Scott-Heron's musical odyssey, from Chicago to Tennessee to New York: a drug addict's twisted path to redemption and enduring fame. In Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man, Marcus Baram puts the complicated icon into full focus.

Author Biography

MARCUS BARAM is Managing Editor at Internaitonal Business Times and a former news editor at the New York Observer, The Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post. He has also worked at the New York Daily News and ABC News, and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York magazine, Vibe, The Village Voice, and the New York Post. This is his first book. A life-long fan, Baram knew Gil Scott-Heron and they were discussing collaborating on a memoir before he died.

Table of Contents



1 Can't Go Home Again
2 Scotty, Why You Run So Fast?
3 Broken and Then Unbroken
4 Sounds of the City
5 The Nigger Factory
6 The Protest and the Rage
7 The Black and Blues
8 Who Am I?
9 Brothers in Arms
10 "Whitey's Been Kicking My Ass for Too Long"
11 Revolution of the Mind
12 "I Saw the Thunder and Heard the Lightning"
13 The Urban Strange
14 Spider and the Stickman
15 Free Jazz and Wild Stuff
16 Bluesology
17 The Prince of Chocolate City
18 The Rhythm of Rebirth
19 Give Her a Call
20 "Black Bob Dylan"
21 What's the Word?
22 My Father's House
23 The Groit
24 "Do We Have Enough Love?"
25 Keeping It Real
26 Peace Go with You, Brother
27 Fire and Water
28 Turning Corners
29 Hotter Than July
30 Facing Backward
31 Message to the Messengers
32 Black Wax
33 Long Dark Night of the Soul
34 The Godfather of Rap
35 Reunited
36 Deep in Exile
37 Don't Give Up
38 Hanging on to Hope
39 "Doing Time in Places I Don't Want to Be"
40 Me and the Devil
41 Back from the Dead
42 Hitting a Wall
43 The Last Holiday
44 Spirits


Selected Bibliography

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