On February 1, 2012, Don Cornelius passed away. He was a pioneer in creating a platform for African American artists and more to showcase their talents on Soul Train. Throughout the years of the show there were A-List celebrities to touch the stage including: Michael Jackson (and the Jackson 5), Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and countless others. He not only gave a platform to recording artists, but to upcoming dancers as well. A couple dancers to highlight are Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel who went on to become 2/3 of the group, Shalamar.
I found this book called Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation in Barnes and Noble. It highlights the entire Soul Train history through pictures and a few excerpts. It retails for $45, I was able to purchase mine on sale for $25. The book is broken into 3 sections, Love, Peace, & Soul which was Cornelius’ signature at the end of each show.
Here’s a glimpse into the history of Soul Train from VH1‘s special, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America.
Cornelius ended his time on the show on June 26,1993 after 22 seasons. From that point there were guest hosts weekly until comedian Mystro Clark took over in 1997 and Shemar Moore would go on to host from 1999 to 2003. After Moore’s exit the show was hosted by actor Dorian Gregory until the shows finale in 2006. The newer version of Soul Train featured more urban artists and highlighted not only R&B, but included Hip-Hop as well which was something that Cornelius had began during his time. Although Soul Train is off the air the Soul Train Awards are still being shown on Centric/BET.
Rest in peace to the pioneer and visionary, Mr. Don Cornelius.