Sadly, I have to note the passing of Don Cornelius, father of TV’s Soul Train, the show that introduced many a young person of my generation to some of the greatest music being made that wasn’t always available on the crappy AM radio of the type I regularly listened to.
‘ “Soul Train” was one of the longest-running syndicated shows in television history and played a critical role in spreading the music of black America to the world, offering wide exposure to musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson in the 1970s and 1980s. ‘
– from the New York Times obituary, 2/1/12
Watching Cornelius’ program formed in many, myself certainly, a deep and lifelong appreciation for new and alternative musical forms, including: soul, funk, jazz and the blues. (In my particular case, credit also goes out to my old friend Melecio Magadluyo.) Soul Train also showed me how to dance, something I’ve still not really mastered.
Cornelius and his show were both international style icons. His voice (Here, in a clip from Soul Train, interviewing James Brown and a very young Al Sharpton.) was often heard being imitated to hilarious effect by cracking-voiced junior high school boys but his connection to his community, his business acumen and his appreciation of the era’s uncertain economic and political conditions were taken very seriously.
Rest in peace, Don Cornelius; I’ll listen to some very hot music today in your honor.