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Music / The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

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The revolution will not be televised, brothers; the revolution will be live!

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is a 1974 compilation album by musical poet Gil Scott-Heronnote .

The title track is a spoken-word piece wherein Scott-Heron recites poetry while a conga and bongo percussionist plays in the background. Despite this, it is still classified as a music album, usually as jazz and beat poetry.

The track/album's name has since become an iconic slogan, and the album itself has been praised for its political and social commentary. It's a Cult Classic within the black consciousness movement, but also very popular in hip-hop, as Scott-Heron's socially conscious and catchy vocal delivery is considered to be a predecessor of the genre, along with The Last Poets. Quotes from this record have made for rife sampling, especially in Conscious Hip Hop and Political Rap.

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" was added to the National Recording Registry in 2005 for being "historically, culturally and aesthetically important".

The album title itself has become so iconic that it inspired no less than four (!) Pun-Based Titles on TV Tropes:


Side One

  1. "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (3:03)
  2. "Sex Education: Ghetto Style" (0:48)
  3. "The Get Out of the Ghetto Blues" (4:59)
  4. "No Knock" (1:27)
  5. "Lady Day and John Coltrane" (3:32)
  6. "Pieces of a Man" (4:59)

Side Two

  1. "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" (3:18)
  2. "Brother" (1:42)
  3. "Save the Children" (4:22)
  4. "Whitey on the Moon" (1:26)
  5. "Did You Hear What They Said?" (3:25)

The Revolution will not be read on TV Tropes, tropers, the Revolution will be in real life!

  • Album Title Drop: The revolution will not be televised.
  • Alliterative Title: "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" and "The Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues".
  • Badass Preacher: Scott-Heron sure counts as one.
  • Conscious Hip Hop: Inspiration to the genre.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Listen to that voice, brothers!
  • Crapsack World: The very reason Scott-Heron started writing poetry.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Home Is Where The Hatred Is about a junkie trying to quit his habits.
    Home is where I live inside my white powder dreams
    Home was once an empty vacuum that's filled now with my silent screams
    Home is where the needle marks
    Try to heal my broken heart
    And it might not be such a bad idea if I never, if I never went home again
    • "Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues" also addresses this matter:
    I know you think you're cool
    Just 'cuz you shooting that stuff in your arm.
    I seen you nodding
    'Cuz you shoot that STUFF into your arm.
    And it don't matter which pine box you choose:
    You got the get out of the ghetto blues.
  • Face on the Cover: Scott-Heron, arms folded behind his head.
  • The Future Will Be Better: If you believe in the revolution, it will be.
  • The Golden Age of Hip Hop: Despite not being hiphop Scott-Heron and The Last Poets were both important influences on the development of rapping. Thus The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is considered to be a predecessor of hiphop.
  • Greatest Hits Album: All the material compiled here was from Scott-Heron's previous albums.
  • Grief Song: "Did You Hear What They Said?"
    Did you hear what they said,
    About his mother and how she cried,
    They said she cried,'cause her only son was dead
    They said she cried,'cause her only son was dead
    Woman, could you imagine if your only son was dead
    And somebody told you, he couldn't be buried,
    Hey,hey, come on, come on, come on, come on, this can't be real.
  • Homage: "Lady Day and John Coltrane" bring homage to Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.
  • The Man in the Moon: "Whitey On The Moon", where it is implied that the problems on Earth haven't been solved, yet "Whitey is on the moon".
  • Mighty Whitey: Referenced and parodied in "Whitey On The Moon".
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Sex Education: Ghetto Style", "No Knock", "Brother" and "Whitey on the Moon" are all well under two minutes.
  • Murder Ballad: "Did You Hear What They Said?" and "No Knock" are both about murders of fellow black men.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Many tracks criticize the USA, especially "Whitey On The Moon".
    With all that money I made last year
    For Whitey on the moon
    How come I ain't got no money here?
    Hmm, Whitey's on the moon
  • Narrative Poem: A lot of tracks have Scott-Heron tell a tale.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The title track castigates them as Apathetic Citizens, claiming that, when the revolution comes, they will try to "plug in, turn on, and cop out" and sit on the sidelines.
  • One-Word Title: "Brother".
  • Political Rap: Though not exactly rap this album was a huge inspiration to the genre.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis: The phrase The Revolution Will Not Be Televised is more famous than the album itself, which not many people have ever listened to or are familiar with.
  • Product Placement: Inverted and possibly Parodied, since Scott-Heron includes many brand names and product slogans in the title track, but does so to criticize their triviality and the blind, self-centered consumer culture of America that prevents its people from perceiving real threats to society.
    The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal (reference to Ultra Brite),
    The revolution will not get rid of the nubs (reference to Schick pens)
    The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner (reference to Playtex)
    The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado (reference to an Ajax slogan),
    White lightning or white people.
    You will not have to worry about a dove in your bedroom (slogan for Dove antiperspirant),
    A tiger in your tank (a reference to the slogan of "Esso"),
    Or the giant in your toilet bowl (reference to Salvo laundry detergent).
    The revolution will not go better with Coke (reference to Coca Cola).
  • Professional Sex Ed: "Sex Education: Ghetto Style".
    I hope that when I have kids of my own they really don't get shook
    When I tell them that there are things they've got to learn that can't be found in books.
  • Protest Song: Every track!
  • Pun-Based Title: "Home Is Where The Hatred Is", instead of "home is where the heart is."
  • Questioning Title?: "Did You Hear What They Said?"
  • Rebellious Spirit: See above.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Scott-Heron predicts that the revolution will not be broadcast on TV for you to enjoy from your lazy seat, but it will indeed be a real society changing revolt that not to be underestimated and taken lightly.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Scott-Heron announces a revolution in a cool, but self-assured way that makes the listener believe that it will be a just event.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title track makes all kinds of allusions to television shows and terms, specifically TV advertisements.
    • "Sex Education Ghetto Style" namedrops Sigmund Freud.
    • "Brother" mentions Mao Zedong and Frantz Fanon
    Always does the man read Mao or Fanon
  • Skewed Priorities: "Whitey on the Moon" accuses the Apollo program of being a case of the United States government mis-investing taxpayer money with malevolent intent, funding propagandized efforts to put white men on the moon instead of funding socioeconomic reforms that would help disenfranchised Black communities.
  • Something Blues: "Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues".
  • Spoken Word in Music: Scott-Heron recites his lyrics, rather than sings them.
  • Take That!:
  • Think of the Children!! "Save The Children".
    We've got to do something to save the children
    Soon it will be their turn to try and save the world
    Right now they seem to play such a small part of
    The things that they soon be right at the heart of
  • Uncle Tom Foolery: "Brother" criticizes blacks who attack their fellow brothers for being Uncle Toms.
    I think it was a little too easy for you to forget that you were a negro before Malcolm.
    You drove your white girl through the village every Friday night,
    While the grass roots stared in envy and drank wine.
    Do you remember?
    You need get your memory banks organized, brother.
    Show that man you call an Uncle Tom just where he is wrong.
    Show that woman that you are a sincere black man.
    All we need to do is see you SHUT UP AND BE BLACK.
    Help that woman.
    Help that man.
    That's what brothers are for, brother.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Scott-Heron is somewhat of a prophet in Afro-American consciousness movements.
  • Wham Line:
    The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run brothers; the revolution will be live.
  • You Watch Too Much X: The title track informs listeners that the revolution will not be shown on TV to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.