Peace, Love and Soouuuuuul…..
For those of us hanging out in front of the TV during the weekends of the 70’s (which was pretty much everyone), Don Cornelius was a household name and his trailblazing Soul Train was truly “the hippest ride in America.” We had it pretty good with shows like American Bandstand and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert but it was Don Cornelius who put the soul in Saturdays. We knew enough to know we were witnessing something special because we never missed it, but I’m not sure we knew just how monumental it was and how lucky we were to be a part of it. (I wonder if kids today will feel the same when looking back on American Idol?) He introduced the black experience to suburban kids everywhere and created a much needed platform for young R&B artists like Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye as well as The O’Jays, The Spinners and Chaka Khan, all who helped soundtrack the era. The ride was sometimes rough for Don Cornelius and though it ended tragically, he will always be remembered as a cultural force for which we are forever indebted. Check him out here with Mary Wilson taking his own ride down the iconic Soul Train line showing his moves are as smooth as his unmistakable voice…and style.