THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD EVER.
181-Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson-The Bottle.
1974-Has never charted in the UK.
Best Bit-At 0.08.’I’ll send an SOS to the world. I hope someone gets my Message in a Bottle.’
Gilbert Scott-Heron was born on April 1st, 1949, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, he died on May 27th, 2011, having been HIV-positive for several years, he was 62 years old. Gil Scott-Heron was a poet, author, and musician primarily known for his spoken word performances in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His 1970 poem ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,’ which he set to music over a ‘Jazz/Funk’ beat is considered to be a major influence on the development of ‘Rap’ music, and ‘Hip-Hop’ music, influencing politically motivated artists such as Public Enemy (see also best songs 578 and 37) and N.W.A (see also best songs 564 and 128.) Due to this Heron is now fondly remembered as the ‘Godfather of Rap,’ but not all Rap artists, and Rap music were to Heron’s liking. In a 2010 interview Heron said,’I don’t know if I can take the blame for Rap Music. It’s something that’s aimed at the kids, I have kids, so I listen to it, but I would not say it’s aimed at me, I listen to the Jazz station.’ Heron preferred to call himself a ‘Bluesologist,’ which was his own made up term for ‘A scientist who is concerned with the origins of the Blues.’
Gil Scott-Heron’s mother Bobby Scott, was an Opera singer who performed with the ‘Oratorio Society of New York, while his father Gil Heron, who was nicknamed ‘The Black Arrow,’ was a Jamaican football player who in 1951 became the first black player to play for Glasgow Celtic Football Club in Scotland. The discography of Gil Scott Heron consists of 19 studio Albums, seven live Albums, six compilation Albums, and one film score, (‘The Baron,’ 1977) released between 1970-2020. Heron is also the author of six books published between 1970-2012.
‘The Bottle’ was written by Gil Scott-Heron and first appeared on his fifth studio Album ‘Winter in America,’ released in 1974. The Album is a collaboration with the keyboardist and flautist Brian Jackson who was born on October 11th, 1952, in Brooklyn, New York, United States. Jackson and Heron had first met while the two were attending ‘Lincoln University,’ in Pennsylvania, in 1970, and over the course of the next 10 years they worked together on nine Albums. Jackson has also since 1981 worked with artists of the calibre of Kool & The Gang, and Gwen Guthrie, on Albums of their’s. In 2022 he released his second solo studio Album ‘This is Brian Jackson,’ 22 years after his first solo release.
‘The Bottle’ was the only single released from the critically acclaimed ‘Winter in America,’ and is a social commentary on alcohol abuse. Heron got the idea for the song after seeing men line up every day in front of a liquor store called the Log Cabin, the men were bringing back their empty bottles to get a discount on their next purchase. Scott-Heron said of his inspiration for the song, ‘I discovered one of them was an ex-physician, who’d been busted for abortions on young girls. There was an air traffic controller in the military, one day he sent two jets crashing into a mountain, he left work that day and never went back.’
‘See that black boy over there, runnin’ scared, his ol’ man’s in the bottle.He done quit his nine to five to drink full time, so now he’s livin’ in the bottle.’