Gil Scott-Heron - H2O Gate Blues Lyrics

Heh, don't wanna be involved in this one, huh?
This here is gonna be a blues number.
But first I wanna do a little bit of background on the Blues
And say what it is.

Like, there are 6 cardinal colors
And colors have always come to signify more than that particular shade.
Like: "red-neck" or "got the blues."
That's where you apply somethin to a color, to express what you're trying to say.
So, there are 6 cardinal colors: Yellow, Red, Orange, Green, Blue, and Purple.
And there are 3,000 shades.
And if you take these 3,000 and divide them by 6, you come up with 500.
Meaning that there are at least 500 shades of The Blues.
For example, there is...

The "I ain't got me no money, blues".
There is the "I ain't got me no woman, blues".
There is the "I ain't got me no money AND I ain't got me no woman".
which is the double blues.

And for years it was thought that Black people was the only ones who could get the blues.
So the Blues hadn't come into no international type of fame. (...had a corner on the market.)

But lately we had..

The Frank Rizzo with the "Lie Detector Blues".

We had the United States government talkin bout the "Energy Crisis Blues".

And we gonna dedicate this next poem here to Spearhead X.
The Ex-Second in Command in terms of this Country. (He GOT the blues.) [laughter]

And the poem is called the "H2O G-A-T-E Blues".
And if H2O is still water
And G-A-T-E is still gate
What we gettin ready to deal on is the
"Watergate Blues"... (Yeah YEAH haha) [scattered applause]
(Rated X!)

Lemme see if I can dial this number....

Click! Whirr ... Click!

"I'm sorry, the government you have elected is inoperative ...
Click! Inoperative!"

Just how blind will America be?
The world is on the edge of its seat
Defeat on the horizon. very surprisin'
That we all could see the plot and still could not...
-- let me do that part again.

Just how blind will America be? (Ain't no tellin')
The world is on the edge of its seat
Defeat on the horizon. very surprisin'
That we all could see the plot
And claimed that we could not. (Alright)

Just how blind, America?
Just as Vietnam exploded in the rice
snap, crackle, and pop (Uh Oh!)
Could not stop people determined to be free.
Just how blind will America be? (Yes Sir!)

The shock of a Vietnam defeat
Sent Republican donkeys scurrying down on Wall Street
And when the roll was called it was:
Pepsi-Cola and Phillips 66
Boeing, Dow & Lockheed
Ask them what we're fighting for and they never mention the economics of war.
Ecological Warfare!
Above all else destroy the land!
If we can't break the Asian will
We'll bomb the dykes and starve the man!

The international Jekyll and Hyde
The land of a thousand disguises
Sneaks up on you but rarely surprises (Yeah!)
Plundering the Asian countryside
in the name of Fu Man Thieu.

Afraid of shoeless, undernourished Cambodians
While we strike big wheat bargains with Russia
Our nuclear enemy
Just how blind, America?

But tell me, who was around where Hale Boggs died?
And what was the cause of LBJ's untimely demise?
And what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover?
The king is proud of Patrick Gray
While America's faith is drowning
beneath that cesspool-Watergate. (Yeeeah!)

How long will the citizens sit and wait?
It's looking like Europe in '38
Did they move to stop Hitler before it was too late? (no...)
How long. America before the consequences of
Keeping the school systems segregated
Allowing the press to be intimidated
Watching the price of everything soar
And hearing complaints 'cause the rich want more? (Alright!)
It seems that MacBeth, and not his lady, went mad
We've let him eliminate the whole middle class
The dollar's the only thing we can't inflate
While the poor go on without a new minimum wage
What really happened to J Edgar Hoover?
The kind is proud of Patrick Gray
And there are those who say America's faith is drowning
Beneath that cesspool-Watergate.

How much more evidence do the citizens need
That the election was sabotaged by trickery and greed?
And, if this is so, and who we got didn't win
Let's do the whole goddamn election over again! (YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!)

The obvious key to the whole charade
Would be to run down all of the games they played:
Remember Dita Beard and ITT, the slaughter of Attica,
The C.I.A. in Chile knowing nothing about Allende at this time
In the past. As I recollect, Augusta Georgia
The nomination of Supreme Court Jesters to head off the tapes
William Calley's Executive Interference
in the image of John Wayne.
Kent State, Jackson State, Southern Louisiana.
Hundreds of unauthorized bombing raids.
The chaining and gagging of Bobby Seale -
Somebody tell these Maryland Governors to be for real!

We recall all of these events just to prove (Yeah!)
The Waterbuggers in the Watergate wasn't no news!
The thing that seems to justify all of our fears
Is that all of this went down in the last five years.
But tell me, what really happened to J. Edgar Hoover?
The kind is proud of Patrick Gray
While America's faith is drowning
Beneath that cesspool-Watergate.

We leave America to ponder the image
Of justice from its new wave of leaders
Frank Rizzo, the high school graduate
Mayor of Philadelphia, whose ignorance
Is surpassed only by those who voted for him. (Hahahaha)
Richard Daley, imperial Napoleonic Mayor of Chicago.
who took over from Al Capone and
Continues to implement the same tactics.
George Wallace. Lester Maddawg
Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan-
An almost endless list that won't be missed when at last
America is purged (Yeah! Alright)

And the silent White House with the James Brothers
once in command.
But see the sauerkraut Mafia men
deserting the sinking White House ship and
Their main mindless, meglomaniac Ahab.

McCord has blown. Mitchell has blown no tap on my telephone,
McCord has blown. Mitchell has blown no tap on my telephone
Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean.
Halderman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean
It follows a pattern if you dig what I mean.

And what are we left with now?
Bumper stickers that say Free the Watergate 500.
Spy movies of the same name with a cast of thousands.
And that ominous phrase: that if Nixon knew, Agnew knew! (check it out!)
But Agnew knew enough to stay out of jail
What really happened to J. Edgar Hoover?
The kind is proud of Patrick Gray
And there are those who swear they've seen King Richard (who? who?)
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard
King Richard- (Yeah!)
Beneath that cesspool-Watergate.

Four more years,
Four more years,
Four more years,
Four more years of THAT?

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Gil Scott-Heron H2O Gate Blues Comments
  1. Albert Cafaro

    Mr. Gil Scott-Heron a man for all seasons!

  2. Andrew Brunelle

    I found this because of KRS-One's Why Is That. He used a sample of this, "The government you have elected in inoperable." This man was brilliant as a poet. I wasn't around during Watergate, born in '85, and of course they didn't teach us about it in school, so I guess the best way to learn is from people who did see it.

  3. Gill T

    The more things change... The more they stay the fucking same... It is indeed Winter in America.

  4. MrArchangel73521


  5. Shallot

    People talking about Trump and Kremlingate. Idiots really want to believe that they too can be subject to a scandal like Watergate. Well, sorry, it's been proven false. Onto the next controversy now?

  6. Jason Miller

    Ain't a damn thing changed...

  7. Sam GL

    This that shit buddy, no fakin this kinda funk, god bless Scott-Heron

  8. Yseson _

    Htf is the things my dad went through I'm going through?
    Police brutality, friends who are crippled vets with massive PTSD, drug epidemic, shrinking middle class, blatant political corruption and a cold war to boot. Goddamn, it's like the matrix, it's like we have been sold a shitty script. At least it was cheaper to buy property back then.....

    This is so relevant that it's absurd

  9. GeneralTarik

    34 days into the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and finally it clicked on my head “click, click, the government you have elected is inoperative”! Gil & Brian were prophets!


    Mm Mmm So True!

    Larry Chamberlain


  10. LUCKY 472

    #PREACH! !!! (-_-)

  11. dre Money

    My dad used to play this all the time when I was a young teen over 25 years ago wow

    Romantic Warrior1

    A blond hair, blue eyed German turned me on when I was in high school -- much luv to Jerry

  12. Brett Bass

    This Brother was the Shit then AND NOW!

  13. Dan Mage

    The heavy burden of speaking the truth as a poet killed Gil. But he's a being of light too, his resonance and illumination remains.

  14. Damani Baraka

    Check out I beg your pardon America.

    Romantic Warrior1

    Check out "Winter in America", "The Revolutions Will Not Be Televised", etc ..
    His entire body of work

  15. MrArchangel73521

    Got to apply this to TRUMP...same difference

  16. Carolyn Mackie

    I bought this in 1978. I had no idea I would be living the same senerio in 2018.


    And...2019 here we are...just change the names!

  17. Patrick Stewart

    I remember this growing up in Harlem NYC black people are not blind America is but they don't want to hear the truth when we as black people tell it like it is

  18. Karin Johnson

    I agree just change the names and so apropos to today

  19. Eric Simerly

    There are lots of appropriate comments here, but I wish this video had more views. Gil Scott-Heron's voice is needed right now.

  20. Byron Haskins

    Still relevant today (see Mueller investigation of Trump).  Great poetry when you read it.  Great music when you listen.

  21. Romantic Warrior1

    We've learned nothing ... Trump and his posse? Putin must be proud.

  22. Jack Campone Cuhz

    He kinda sounds like he's rapping

    Brenda Thom

    Some have called him the first rapper. I've been listening to him since high school and was glad he recorded more toward the end of life.. Hope you will sample a bit more of his work.

    Damani Baraka

    He more like a street poet or a spoken word artist. You can dance to rap. This u just listen and reflect.

    Jack Pea

    He is so much more. He is a musician, singer and poet.

    Romantic Warrior1

    Yes he is ... the rappers came from him and the links of "Last Poets", "Curtis Mayfield", etc.



  23. FunkyDoolittle

    very relevant !

    Dean Rao

    Unfortunately still relevant.

  24. Brian Lloyd


  25. T Nicks

    Just change the Names from the 70's to NOW! Was good when it first came out and is ringing true today!

    Kevin Nelson

    2019 we living it again

  26. tomitstube

    just now finding this... absolutely brilliant.

  27. Edward Jennings

    If you listen closely to this song, our late brother Gil Scott-Heron is right on the mark with Washington, Donald Trump and Kremlingate.

    Brenda Thom

    Still relevant 1,2, 3 or five years later. How blind?

  28. SHAWNSexxy BlackHill


    Romantic Warrior1

    Had the honor and privilege of meeting him in person. :-)

  29. Robert Cabrera

    let these kids who think they rap the preach hated in the ghetto let them listen to gill scott heron then they will know how to be black

  30. Jx Hemphill

    The prophet speaks at 5:00. "Let's do the whole God damned election over again." FDT...

    Richard Marshall Bowman

    "Just how blind America...?"  2017.

    Simon Kohli

    Yeah, but this song would still be sung if Hilary got in. Don't matter who you vote for . . .

    makini t.tate

    PROPHET?? Oh Hell yeah !! that is Exactly who he is/was , and Prophets do not die, they carry on, live on thru those who are woke enough to recognize and receive the message!!!

    Larry Chamberlain


  31. Luckhappens

    Donald Trump is president... how blind America?

    Toby Walker


  32. Pavel

    RIP Gil you called it the way you see it We still drowning as a Nation under the cesspool Water Gate

  33. Gerald Harris

    How blind America????

  34. Joey2deleon Joey3deleon

    we need that bread

  35. Joey2deleon Joey3deleon

    we need that bread

  36. Terrence Moore

    and of course John Ehrlichman final admits to nixons real reason for his drug war policies: "We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or
    black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana
    and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could
    disrupt those communities." If only Gil was here to hear the final half hearted confession.


    Sarcasm inbound. "Oh no! That's nothing more than liberal lies spread by the establishment! I don't have a problem with black people, only the ones who don't work. I love black people, I have many black friends! But if black people choose to be victims of the war on drugs then it's not my problem. If I don't see it, and it never happened to me, then it's not my problem and it doesn't exist." SMH.

    All jokes aside, I agree with you 100%. The more I learn about what this country has done, the sicker I feel. It's frustrating and depressing. We are supposed to be the land of the free, but we hurt our own citizens, especially if they come from the "darker groups" more than our supposed "enemies" in some cases. To tell you how stupid and irrational this nation's fears are. America fears being "over run" by brown people from Mexico more than it fears a racist demagogue or a hostile, nuclearly armed, foreign government who has violated the rights of millions tampering with our electoral process. This country is screwed, and not because we legalized gay marriage or had a black man in the White House for 8 years. If we can't figure out how to treat our own citizens like human beings, and if we are still held up on the belief that a 600 year old lie named race justifies mistreating people, well then I can't see this nation lasting that much longer.

  37. Richard Marshall Bowman

    500 shades of the blues.....?  Good lord, Gil....

  38. Diamond

    Bravo , Bravo........

  39. swt32567

    The two thumbs down were most likely posted by the grandchildren of Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew.


    trump voters...

  40. Kevin Mabry

    WATERGATE BLUES ... from the beginning over 500 years ago thru today still.

  41. Paul Peter

    03:22 America the international Jackel and Hyde the Land of.....

  42. gailt1956

    Ain't nothin' changed - Gil could have laid this track down YESTERDAY. How sad is that?

  43. Dj Quet


  44. Mr. Bailey J. Nelson


    Diane Brantley

    Check it out today.

  45. Temujinn463


  46. Serge NYAMBO

    One prophet of a kind. From USA to China thru France or Germany, we can understand politics thx to a poet. A black poet.

  47. Colin Finch

    I met the great man at Womad 2010 as it was my job to collect him and the band from the airport and drive them to the festival.....he signed my copy of Winter in America that I'd bought specially earlier that day.

  48. Colin Finch

    Genius, genius, genius. RIP.