Gil Scott-Heron - Bicentennial Blues Lyrics




Some people think that America invented the blues
And few people doubt that America is the home of the blues
As the bluesicians have gone all over the world carrying the blues message
And the world has snapped its fingers and tapped its feet right along with the blues folks
But, the blues has always been totally American
As American as apple pie
As American as the blues
As American as apple pie
The question is why?
Why should the blues be so at home here
Well, America provided the atmosphere

America provided the atmosphere for the blues and the blues was born
The blues was born on the American wilderness
The blues was born on the beaches where the slave ships docked
Born on the slave man's auction block
The blues was born and carried on the howling wind
The blues grew up a slave
The blues grew up as property
The blues grew up in Nat Turner visions
The blues grew up in Harriet Tubman courage
The blues grew up in small town deprivation
The blues grew up in big city isolation
The blues grew up in the nightmares of the white man
The blues grew up in the blues singing of Bessie and Billie and Ma
The blues grew up in Satchmo's horn, on Duke's piano and Langston's poetry, on Robeson's baritone

The point is
That the blues has grown
The blues is grown now, full grown
And you can trace the evolution of the blues
On a parallel line with the evolution of this country
From Plymouth Rock to acid-rock
From 13 states to Watergate
The blues is grown
But not the home
The blues is grown
But the country has not
The blues remembers everything the country forgot

It's a bicentennial year and the blues is celebrating a birthday
And it's a bicentennial blues

America has got the blues and it's a bicentennial edition
The blues view might amuse you
But make no mistake, it's a bicentennial year
A year of hysterical importance
A year of historical importance

Ripped off like donated moments from the past
200 years ago this evening
200 years ago last evening
And what about now?
The blues is now
The blues has grown up and the country has not
The country has been ripped off
Ripped off like the Indians
Ripped off like jazz
Ripped off like nature
Ripped off like Christmas
Man-handled by media overkill
Goosed by aspiring vice presidents
Violated by commercial corporations

A bicentennial year
The year the symbol transformed into the B-U-Y centennial
Buy a car
Buy a flag
Buy a map
Until the public in mass has been bludgeoned into bicentennial submission
Or bicentennial suspicion
I fall into the latter category
It's a blues year
And America has got the blues
It's got the blues because of partial deification
Of partial accomplishments
Over partial periods of time

Halfway justice
Halfway liberty
Halfway equality
It's a half-ass year

And we would be silly in all our knowledge
In all our self-righteous knowledge
When we sit back and laugh and mock the things that happen in our lives
To accept anything less than the truth
About this bicentennial year
And the truth relates to 200 years of people and ideas getting by

It got by George Washington
The ideas of justice, liberty and equality
Got cold by George Washington
Slave-owner general
Ironic that the father of this country
Should be a slave owner

The father of this country a slave-owner
Having got by him
It made it easy to get by his henchman
The creators of this liberty
Who slept in the beds with the captains of slave ships
Fought alongside black freed men in the union army
And left America a legacy of hypocrisy
It's a blues year

Got by Gerald Ford
Oatmeal man
Has declared himself at odds
With people on welfare, people who get food stamps
Day care children, the elderly, the poor, women
And people who might vote for Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, it got by him
Hollyweird
Acted like a actor
Acted like a liberruuuuuuuulllzz lolz
Acted like General Franco when he acted like governor of California
Now he acts like somebody might vote for him for president

It got by Jimmy Carter
Skippy
Got by Jimmy Carter and got by him and his friend the colonel
The creators of southern-fried triple talk
A blues trio
America got the blues

It got by Henry Kissinger
The international godfather of peace
A piece of Vietnam
A piece of Laos
A piece of Angola
A piece of Cuba

A blues quartet
And America got the blues

The point is that it may get by you
For another 4 years
For another 8 years
You stuck
Playing 2nd fiddle in a blues quartet

Got the blues looking for the first principle
Which was justice
It's a blues year for justice

It's a blues year for the San Quentin 6
Looking for justice

It's a blues year for Gary Tyler
Looking for justice

It's a blues year for Rev. Ben Chaves
Looking for justice

It's a blues year for Boston
Looking for justice

It's a blues year for baby's on buses
It's a blues year for mothers and fathers with babies on buses
It's a blues year for Boston

And it's a blues year all over this country
America has got the blues
And the blues is in the street looking for the 3 principles
Justice, liberty and equality
We would do well to join the blues looking for justice, liberty and equality

The blues is in the street
America has got the blues
But don't let it get by us.





Other Lyrics by Artist

Rand Lyrics

Gil Scott-Heron Bicentennial Blues Comments
  1. Richard Marshall Bowman

    Can you imagine what Gil would say about Trump! He'd have a field day roasting Trump's punk ass. Trump's stupid ass gives up so much material to work with. Trump makes Nixxon look like a boy scout.

  2. Bill Hunter

    These words are more appropriate now than ever - the man was a genius

  3. Gregory Reese

    What would he say now

  4. Robert Cabrera

    Wake up American people

  5. Basil Shahiyd

    Golden classic!!!
    RIP Gil.

  6. Igotsometaste e

    Im here from warren g do you see

  7. David Mann

    Hollywierd.

  8. ThreesomeMonkey

    I take a look over my shoulder as I get older
    Gettin tired of motherfuckers sayin
    Warren I told ya 😜🤙🏽

  9. Vinyl Uploads

    Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson - “Bicentennial Blues”
    [Vocals/Written By: Gil Scott-Heron]

    [Intro: Gil Scott-Heron]
    We have assigned ourselves the task of defining certain, certain trends and certain situations and, in such, have become, I guess, more so than musicians, bluesicians because we have tended to try to define certain means and modes related to the blues. We attempted to define the Lie Detector Blues, as caught by Mayor Frank Rizzo. I understand that he is sick currently. And we send our coldest regards. Lie Detector Blues and what Brian Jackson used to refer to as the Ex- Official Blues, as caught by Agnew, Nixon—it’s terminal. And what we’ve found ourselves becoming afflicted with over the past six months or so is the Bicentennial Blues

    [Verse 1: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Some people think that America invented the blues
    And few people doubt that America is the home of the blues
    As the bluesicians have gone all over the world, carrying the blues message
    And the world has snapped its fingers and tapped its feet right along with the blues folks
    But the blues has always been totally American
    As American as apple pie
    As American as the blues
    As American as apple pie
    The question is why?
    Why should the blues be so at home here?
    Well, America provided the atmosphere

    [Verse 2: Gil Scott-Heron]
    America provided the atmosphere for the blues and the blues was born
    The blues was born on the American wilderness
    The blues was born on the beaches where the slave ships docked
    Born on the slave man’s auction block
    The blues was born and carried on the howling wind
    The blues grew up a slave
    The blues grew up as property
    The blues grew up in Nat Turner visions
    The blues grew up in Harriet Tubman courage
    The blues grew up in small town deprivation
    The blues grew up in big city isolation
    The blues grew up in the nightmares of the white man
    The blues grew up in the blues, singing of Bessie and Billie and Ma
    The blues grew up in Satchmo’s horn, on Duke’s piano and Langston’s poetry, on Robeson’s baritone
    The point is that the blues has grown

    [Verse 3: Gil Scott-Heron]
    The blues is grown now, full grown, and you can
    Trace the evolution of the blues on a parallel line with the evolution of this country
    From Plymouth Rock to acid-rock
    From 13 states to Watergate
    The blues is grown, but not the home
    The blues is grown, but the country has not
    The blues remembers everything the country forgot
    It’s a bicentennial year, and the blues is celebrating a birthday
    And it’s a Bicentennial Blues

    [Verse 4: Gil Scott-Heron]
    America has got the blues and it’s a bicentennial edition
    The blues view might amuse you, but make no mistake
    It’s a bicentennial year
    A year of hysterical importance
    A year of historical importance

    [Verse 5: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Ripped off like donated moments from the past
    200 years ago this evening
    200 years ago last evening
    And what about now?
    The blues is now
    The blues has grown up and the country has not
    The country has been ripped off
    Ripped off like the Indians
    Ripped off like jazz
    Ripped off like nature
    Ripped off like Christmas
    Manhandled by media overkill
    Goosed by aspiring vice presidents
    Violated by commercial corporations

    [Verse 6: Gil Scott-Heron]
    A bicentennial year
    The year the symbol transformed into the B-U-Y centennial
    Buy a car
    Buy a flag
    Buy a map
    Until the public in mass has been bludgeoned into bicentennial submission
    Or bicentennial suspicion
    I fall into the latter category
    It’s a, a blues year
    And America has got the blues
    It’s got the blues because of partial deification
    Of partial accomplishments
    Over partial periods of time
    Halfway justice
    Halfway liberty
    Halfway equality
    It’s a half-ass year

    [Verse 7: Gil Scott-Heron]
    And we would be silly in all our knowledge
    In all our self-righteous knowledge
    When we sit back and laugh and mock the things that happen in our lives
    To accept anything less than the truth about this bicentennial year
    And the truth relates to 200 years of people and ideas getting by
    It got by George Washington
    The ideas of justice, liberty, and equality
    Got cold by George Washington
    Slave-owner general
    Ironic that the father of this country
    Should be a slave owner
    The father of this country a slave-owner
    Having got by him, it made it easy to get by his henchman
    The creators of this liberty
    Who slept in the beds with the captains of slave ships
    Fought alongside black freedmen in the Union Army
    And left America a legacy of hypocrisy
    It’s a blues year

    [Verse 8: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Got by Gerald Ford
    Oatmeal Man
    Has declared himself at odds
    With people on welfare, people who get food stamps
    Daycare children, the elderly, the poor, women
    And people who might vote for Ronald Reagan

    [Verse 9: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Ronald Reagan, it got by him
    Hollyweird
    Acted like a actor
    Acted like a liberal
    Acted like General Franco when he acted like Governor of California
    Now he acts like somebody might vote for him for President

    [Verse 10: Gil Scott-Heron]
    It got by Jimmy Carter
    Skippy
    Got by Jimmy Carter and got by him and his friend, the Colonel
    The creators of southern-fried triple talk
    A blues trio
    America got the blues

    [Verse 11: Gil Scott-Heron]
    It got by Henry Kissinger
    The international godfather of peace
    A piece of Vietnam
    A piece of Laos
    A piece of Angola
    A piece of Cuba

    [Verse 12: Gil Scott-Heron]
    A blues quartet
    And America got the blues
    The point is that it may get by you
    For another 4 years
    For another 8 years
    You stuck
    Playing second fiddle in a blues quartet

    [Verse 13: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Got the blues looking for the first principle, which was justice
    It’s a blues year for justice
    It’s a blues year for the San Quentin 6
    Looking for justice
    It’s a blues year for Gary Tyler
    Looking for justice
    It’s a blues year for Reverend Ben Chaves
    Looking for justice
    It’s a blues year for Boston
    Looking for justice
    It’s a blues year for babies on buses
    It’s a blues year for mothers and fathers with babies on buses
    It’s a blues year for Boston

    [Verse 14: Gil Scott-Heron]
    And it’s a blues year all over this country
    America has got the blues
    And the blues is in the street looking for the 3 principles
    Justice, liberty, and equality
    We would do well to join the blues looking for justice, liberty, and equality
    The blues is in the street
    America has got the blues
    But don’t let it get by us

    [Outro: Gil Scott-Heron]
    Thank you very much

  10. Anthony Dziemiela

    Derrick Carter's Boiler Room set brought me here!

  11. Fred Watkins

    Warren g brought me here! Thanks 90s hip hop for having some type of conscious.

    Mik Patton

    Ditto. I wanted to hear the quote and the context.

    MrArchangel73521

    90s lmao...the bicentennial year was 1976...this is no 90s anything...search Gil Scott-Heron...listen to him...this is nothing new...it sounds new...because it is as relevant now ...as then !!!

    Mik Patton

    @MrArchangel73521 yeah, but I wouldn't have known about this without him! That's the connection.

  12. David Whiteis

    RIP Gil -- Where is your voice now, when we need it more than ever?

    Slim Jim Longfoot

    Up to us now.

    ThreesomeMonkey

    Learn the lesson, spread the message because as stated THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED. Chuur Gil 🤙🏽

  13. Nathaniel Trone

    One of my favorite albums of Gil Scott Heron and it stands today what's going on timeless as I am revolution is near the revolution is here and it won't be live. So here's to you brother heroine see you on the other Side Nathaniel Trone Timeless3 Hotep! Means peace! Travel Safe. MayAssur Asset andHeru with Amon Ra watches over you. Ase and Amen

  14. DaOldSchoolRapLova96

    1:42-2:00

    Lucas

    @DaOldSchoolRapLova96 warren I tooooooold ya

  15. probityk

    appropriate for today, for everyday. today is certainly a blue day.

  16. aaronl22

    What a deep voice too

  17. aaronl22

    Brilliant slam poetry

  18. Denise Lott

    Speak Brother!

  19. Mr C

    Yes, the 'Blues' is as American as apple pie, but it's interesting that we in the UK took it to our hearts and loved it!

    ThreesomeMonkey

    It all started with the english aye? 1st fleeing home or sent to Oz then greed then slavery and blah blah blah but I'm glad the U.K enjoi lmaoooo

    ThreesomeMonkey

    Jokes broooo music is one of the largest medians of communication, everyone deserves it and it's enjoyed even if the language isn't understood... Go hard Mr C 😎

  20. alex Villarreal

    Amen, may we let it be heard and respected. The fight for your rights never stops.

  21. TheLastSliceOfPie

    you don't see what I see...

  22. Mikail K

    Warren G - Do you see

  23. Dayna Gratefull

    America has still got the blues...