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Don Cornelius: The Soul Of Soul Train

We’ll remember the soul of Soul Train.

A screen capture of Don Cornelius on the show Soul Train (YouTube)

A screen capture of Don Cornelius on the show Soul Train (YouTube)

In October, 1971, something new hit the television screens of America.  Chicago host Don Cornelius stepped in front of live cameras and introduced “Soul Train”.  If it looked like “American Bandstand,” that was no accident.

But Soul Train put front and center a world Americans had never seen before on a regular national television show.  Black artists, black musicians, black dancers, black style, black moves.  An exuberant, explosive black pop culture.  This week, Don Cornelius died, at his own hand apparently.  And we’re looking back.

This hour, On Point: the soul of Soul Train.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Renee Graham, music and pop culture critic.

Danyel Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Billboard Magazine.

From Tom’s Reading List

Rolling Stone “The death of Don Cornelius, the creator of the long-running television series Soul Train, has rattled fans of R&B, soul and dance music around the world. The news of Cornelius’ apparent suicide is especially troubling for musicians who either appeared on the show or were introduced to many of their favorite artists while watching it each week as kids.”

Time “A photographic look at the seminal dance program and its late creator.”

Tampa Bay Times “When I watched Soul Train host Don Cornelius back in the 1970s, I didn’t see a pro-black entrepreneur who would become the African-American Dick Clark.”

Video: Don Cornelius Greatest Hits

This videos shows some of Don Cornelius’s greatest moments from his hit show Soul Train.

Video: James Brown Plays Soul Train

Watch “Soul Brother Number One” James Brown play a set on Soul Train.

Video: Stevie Wonder On Soul Train 1971

Stevie Wonder plays “Superstition” on a classic episode of Soul Train.

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ONPOINT
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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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