Views: 465,274
Comments: 436
Posted: 2011 07-10


Artist or Show

You are not currently tracking Gil Scott-Heron

this artist

You are not currently tracking Lyceum Theatre, London

this show


Artist Vitals
Total Clips38
Active Streams23
Missing Streams15
Commercially Available8
Artist RP Ranking37%
If you are a copyright holder of this video and believe that this content infringes your intellectual property rights, please submit a Notice of Claimed Infringement.


This video is provided and hosted from a third-party server. RockPeaks is not responsible for any activities originating with such third-party server. If you believe this linked content infringes your intellectual property rights, please click the flag icon above and follow the instructions.

Celebrate Your Life!

One of the channels tunes in! Soul. Sink me. I’m gone.

Check out this band. This sound. This arrangement. This song.

Catch the bass solo at around 5:00 and tell me your mouth didn’t just drop open. I don’t know who that guy is, but I want him in my band.

The beginning and end of the song are clipped off, and it seems like it’s the show-ender with the two rhythm solos, but there’s so little multi-camera shoots of this overlooked master that we gotta grab everything we can get. And this is a “get.”

This guy was not far behind Stevie Wonder in the talent pool, and yet . . . Stevie’s playing the White House and this guy’s spending half his life in the big house. We Almost Lost Detroit. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. A leader in the Martin Luther King Holiday movement, a leader in No Nukes, a poet, an author, a jazz-funk-soul-fusion master living in the hell of addiction. Charlie Parker to Stevie’s Dizzy.

Although the song’s verse is about alcoholism, which is also a metaphor for the desolation of ghetto life, the song has evolved live over the years, with the positive refrain of escape – “Celebrate your life” – started to overtake the despair originally dominant in the song. It became a popular live choice in his massive repertoire, including a classic rendering on Sunday morning at Woodstock ’94 that had the audience dancing and singing like a massive Baptist church.

But for as much as we may admire or even envy these masters’ talents -- from Michael and Bird, to Garcia and Janis -- they sure seem to need a lot of painkillers to sooth the fire. And Gil is yet one more bright light fighting the fight but with a pocketful of white.

YouTube Uploader: Francisco Cruz
Francisco Cruz
Retrieved from Wikipedia:
The Bottle on Wikipedia
"The Bottle"
The Bottle 12inch.jpg
Single by Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
from the album Winter in America
B-side"The Bottle (Drunken mix)"
Format7" single, 12" single
RecordedOctober 15, 1973
D&B Sound
GenreSoul, jazz-funk
Writer(s)Gil Scott-Heron
Producer(s)Perpis-Fall Music
Gil Scott-Heron chronology

"The Bottle" is a song by American soul artist Gil Scott-Heron and musician Brian Jackson, released in 1974 on Strata-East Records in the United States. It was later reissued during the mid-1980s on Champagne Records in the United Kingdom. "The Bottle" was written by Scott-Heron and produced by audio engineer Jose Williams, Jackson, and Scott-Heron. The song serves is a social commentary on alcohol abuse, and it features a Caribbean beat and notable flute solo by Jackson, with Scott-Heron playing keyboards.

The song was issued as the first and only single for Scott-Heron's and Jackson's album Winter in America (1974). It became an underground and cult hit upon its release, and the single peaked at number 15 on the R&B Singles Chart. Described by music critics as the album's best recording, the commercial success of "The Bottle" helped lead to Jackson's and Scott-Heron's next recording contract with Arista Records. Similar to other compositions by Scott-Heron, the song has been sampled extensively by hip hop artists.


  • 1 Composition
  • 2 Release and reception
  • 3 Track listings and formats
    • 3.1 7" Single
    • 3.2 12" Single
  • 4 Personnel
  • 5 Charts
  • 6 Covers
  • 7 Notes
  • 8 References
  • 9 External links


"The Bottle" is a social commentary on alcohol abuse with a Caribbean beat.[1] Scott-Heron wrote it after seeing men line up every day in front of a liquor store called the Log Cabin, bringing back their empty bottles to get a discount on their next purchase.[2] Scott-Heron said of his inspiration for the song in an interview for Newsnight, "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."[2]

The song also became a popular song played at parties at the time. French music critic Pierre Jean-Critin later described it as "an epic song ... whose infectious groove can still set dance floors alight over thirty years later."[1] The song's pop/dance sensibilities and social message engendered its appeal to listeners following its release as a single. Scott-Heron later said of the single's success and style, "Pop music doesn't necessarily have to be shit."[1]

Cited by critics and music writers as Winter in America's best recording, "The Bottle" also addresses problems of drug addiction, abortion, and incarceration, while featuring Jackson on flute and Scott-Heron on keyboards.[1][3] While its theme examines the plight of alcoholics and those who have to live with and cope with them, "The Bottle" became a concert favorite and one of Scott-Heron's most popular songs.[4]

Release and reception

"The Bottle" was released in 1974 as the only single for Winter in America. The song became an underground and cult hit upon its release.[5] Soon after, it also became one of Scott-Heron's most successful singles, as it reached the number 15 spot on the R&B Singles Chart.[3] The single's success helped lead to Jackson's and Scott-Heron's next recording contract with Arista Records, where they would enjoy more commercial success.[6]

"The Bottle" has been cited by critics as Winter in America's best recording.[7] Paul J. MacArthur of the Houston Press called it a "strong anti-alcohol rant with a funky bass hook and chilly flute fills."[7] "The Bottle" was later ranked number 92 on NME's list of The Top 150 Singles of All-Time and was included in Q magazine's 1010 Songs You Must Own! publication.[8]

Track listings and formats

These are the formats and track listings of the U.K. single releases of "The Bottle":[9][10]


  • Gil Scott-Heron – lead vocals, electric piano
  • Brian Jackson – flute
  • Danny Bowens – bass
  • Bob Adams – drums
  • Perpis-Fall Music, Inc. – producer
  • Jose Williams – engineer, production assistance


Billboard Music Charts (North America) – "The Bottle"[3]

  • 1974: Top R&B Singles – #15


Joe Bataan covered "The Bottle" for his 1975 album Afrofilipino, though slightly re-titled "The Bottle (La Botella)".[11]

The Christians covered "The Bottle" for their 1992 album "Happy In Hell". [12]

Paul Weller covered "The Bottle" for his 2004 album "Studio 150". [13]

The group Template:Brother To Brother covered "The Bottle" or "In The Bottle" for their 1974 album "In The Bottle"


  1. ^ a b c d Jean-Critin (2001), p. 2.
  2. ^ a b Stephen Smith, "The Legendary Godfather of Rap Returns" BBC News (November 16, 2009). Retrieved June 7, 2011
  3. ^ a b c "20 People Who Changed Black Music – Revolutionary Poet Gil Scott-Heron, the First Rap Rebel". The Miami Herald Media Company. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  4. ^ "Review of Winter in America". Soul Music: January 12, 2009.
  5. ^ "Gil Scott-Heron at All About Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  6. ^ "Gil Scott-Heron: American Visions - Find Articles at BNET". CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-10. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Catching Up with Gil - Music - Houston Press". Village Voice Media. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  8. ^ "Acclaimed Music - The Bottle". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  9. ^ - Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson* - The Bottle (7"). Discogs. Retrieved on 2008-08-24.
  10. ^ - Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson* - The Bottle (12"). Discogs. Retrieved on 2008-08-24.
  11. ^ "Bataan* - The Bottle (La Botella)". 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  12. ^ "The Christians - Happy In Hell". Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  13. ^ "Paul Weller - Studio 150 (CD, Album)". Retrieved 2016-10-09. 


  • Gil Scott-Heron, Pierre Jean-Critin (2001). Winter in America (Charly) CD reissue booklet. liner notes. Charly Licensing Aps/Artistry Music Ltd./Snapper Music Plc., London, UK. 

External links

  • "The Bottle" at Discogs
  • Song lyrics at Scott-Heron's website
  • Music video at YouTube

Complete Video List

Sort By:
          Enter your Rock Peaks username.
          Enter the password that accompanies your username.
          Forgot Password?

          Not a Member Yet?


          It's Free!