The link between Celtic and this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

By Euan Davidson

October 28, 2021

With a new list of inductees every year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates some of music’s best; and now, there’s a prominent Celtic link in the famous monument to music history.

Gil Scott-Heron will be formally inducted this Saturday. The beat poet, singer and writer, famous for songs like “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and “Pieces of a Man”, passed away in 2011. He was productive right until his final days, collaborating with Jamie XX for the transcendent “We’re New Here”.

It’s cool enough that one of hip-hop’s most formative influences, a man who married folk, blues, soul and jazz together in thrilling fashion, is being inducted [Rock and Roll Hall of Fame]. But it now means there’s lineage between Celtic and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On the off-chance you didn’t know, Scott-Heron’s father, Gil Heron, played for Celtic in the 1950s.

Heron, born in Kingston, Jamaica, had a brief but fruitful spell playing football in the UK. He made 5 appearances for the Bhoys, scoring twice. He was spotted in a Celtic tour of North America, where Heron had made his name playing for clubs in Detroit and Chicago [BBC Caribbean].

On signing for Celtic, he said [BBC Caribbean]: “Gee, I was tickled. Glasgow Celtic was the greatest name in football to me.”

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Unfortunately, he didn’t stay too long at Celtic, joining Third Lanark and then Kidderminster Harriers. But the social impact he made was huge, as Celtic’s first black professional player. He also played cricket for Poloc while he was in Glasgow, before becoming a professional poet.

His work, ‘The Great Ones’ is a poem in tribute to the Celtic players he worked alongside for that brief but meaningful period of Heron’s career.

Gil Scott-Heron, Celtic, and a lineage in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The love of poetry, obviously, was passed down to Gil Heron’s son.

A self-appointed “bluesologist” [New York Times], Scott-Heron had a monumental impact on music in the 20th Century. His jazz-esque compositions paved a way for beat poetry to be set to music. You could argue that the lineage of hip-hop features Scott-Heron prominently.

While Scott-Heron wasn’t quite as into football, he was still hugely aware of Celtic. That was made clear when Scott-Heron’s children visited Celtic Park in 2019 [Glasgow Times].

Photo Staff/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

It’s quite the link. And it’s one that Celtic fans have celebrated ever since Heron played for the Bhoys. Gil Heron and Gil Scott-Heron memorabilia can be found in match-day haunts like McChuills to this day.

Scott-Heron, being inducted posthumously, will be joined by a line-up of world-famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. Kraftwerk, Tina Turner, the Foo Fighters and Jay-Z will also be welcomed into Cleveland, Ohio’s Hall of Fame this Saturday [Rock and Roll Hall of Fame].

A quite wonderful link between music heritage and Celtic Football Club.

Read more: BBC Pundits react to fantastic Kyogo goal for Celtic against Hibernian