Album: Secrets
Label: Arista Records


"It's impossible to visit the place and not feel that a prisoner could disappear off the face of the earth and no one would ever know or care," wrote New York Times journalist Peter Applebome in 1998 about Louisiana's Angola State Prison. Known as one of the most brutal prison complexes in the country, Angola has more inmates on death row than any other facility in the country. Heron and Jackson wrote this track about the unfair imprisonment of black teenager Gary Tyler, who was jailed in 1975 after a 13-year-old white kid was killed during a riot. Although no weapon was found, Tyler was arrested for the crime. Supposedly beaten by police, he confessed and became the youngest person ever sentenced to death. Although no longer on death row, Tyler is still an inmate. While Brit artists UB40 ("Tyler") and Chumbawamba ("Waiting for the Bus") have since made songs about Tyler-but as in so many other cases, Gil Scott-Heron was the first.