Gil Scott-Heron’s black-power rhymes served as a precursor to rap and made the poet-musician as divisive as he was popular — causing the artist to be shut out of venues and have his records removed from shelves. More poetry than song, Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” didn’t need synthesized beats or even a melody to carry its powerful message. Accompanied only by congas and bongos, Scott-Heron speaks of a revolution transmitted not by Xerox and NBC, but the people who could no longer sit back. “The revolution will not fight the germs that cause bad breath,” he says. “The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.”
The title phrase has gone on to become overused and misused in the years since.
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