Book Notes: Gil Scott-Heron Memoir, Release Date Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


In the fall of 1980, Gil Scott-Heron was invited by Stevie Wonder to join him on a 41-city tour across America that would end in Washington on January 15, 1981. The “Hotter than July” Tour supported the album that featured the now classic Stevie rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

The tour’s purpose was to raise popular support for the creation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a national holiday to honor the great civil rights leader. The holiday was signed into law in 1986, and now, the history-making tour serves as the backdrop for the late Gil Scott-Heron’s final book, The Last Holiday: A Memoir.

To be released on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – this Monday, January 16, 2012 – by Grove Press, The Last Holiday: A Memoir,  is a post-humous reflection on Heron’s life, as well as the momentous tour in honor of Dr. King. In the opening pages, Heron reflects on his early life and his inability to recollect much of his childhood. But what he does remember is music.

A soul and jazz poet, Heron, considered “The Godfather of Rap,” released 15 studio albums during his 30-year career. His final work, I’m New Here, was his first release in 15 years, debuting just three months prior to his death on May 27, 2011, at the age of 62.

The Last Holiday: A Memoir is dedicated to Heron’s three children, yet encourages all readers to “reach beyond what looks possible and make it happen.” In the book, Heron expresses his hope that his memoir will help readers remember the work of Dr. King and the diligents effort of Stevie Wonder every Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Find more info on The Last Holiday: A Memoir at The book is available for purchase on January 16.