Being from Detroit (a proud Vernor's drinker, I am), my exposure to "soul music"....not just Motown, but a wide spectrum of it.....was a major part of my musical education. But to many people, their exposure came from Don Cornelius' syndicated Chicago based TV show Soul Train. Trust me, even if you never watched the show, you know the theme.....
....from MFSB and The Three Degrees. I'll grant you, it's not the original theme, or the final one, but it's a great one. But that's really immaterial to this blog.
What is material is that while heading to Leavenworth this morning, NPR reported the Cornelius died this morning in his home in Los Angeles of what appears to be a self inflected gunshot wound. He was 75. Corneilus was the producer, host, owner and creator of Soul Train. You'll probably hear a lot about him in the next day or two. Read the obits you see, you'll get much information about him and his business. We're more concerned about the music.
Where else would you see Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin sit down at a piano together and make beautiful music together? Here.
Or early exposure to a very young Michael Jackson.
Maybe some LaBelle?
Cornelius sure knew how to book 'em. David Bowie answering questions from the crowd was an inspired idea.
And Elton John? He was the second white artist booked on the show.
It was the music that made Soul Train what it was. Cornelius hosted the show for the first 22 years of it's 35 year run, and kept controling interest in it until last year. He will be missed.