Vietnam Music Monday: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Originally released in 1970, Gil Scott-Heron re-recorded “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” with a full band for his 1971 album Pieces of a Man. (Newseum collection)

Music played an important cultural role during the Vietnam War, representing the rebellious views of a young generation and the traditional values of an older, so-called “silent majority.” The Newseum selected 40 songs released between 1963 and 1973 that typified the music of the Vietnam era. The songs captured the emotions of people for and against the war and reflected the mood of an increasingly diverse country amid dramatic social and political change.

The 40 songs, part of the Newseum’s “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit, are a fraction of the hundreds of recordings that dealt with the war and civil disobedience. Each week, one song from the playlist will be featured. We encourage you to add your favorite songs of the era to the comment section!

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (1971)

Recorded by Gil Scott-Heron

“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” was one of the most influential proto-rap songs of the Vietnam era, and jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron was its charismatic singer and writer. His inspiration was the stark contrast between serious protests and the commercials shown on television. The song’s title was a slogan of the black power movement.

 

The revolution will not be televised
The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
In four parts without commercial interruptions
The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
Blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell
General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat hog maws
Confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary
The revolution will not be televised

Purchase “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” on Amazon or iTunes.

“Reporting Vietnam,” a new exhibit that marks the 50th anniversary of the start of America’s first televised war, explores the dramatic stories of how journalists brought news about the war to a divided nation.

CBS News

Contributing support for the “Reporting Vietnam” exhibit is provided by CBS Corporation, in memory of CBS News correspondent Bob Simon.

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