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Every page dripped with the names of musicians who appeared on Soul Train that went on to be icons the Jackson 5 , Marvin Gaye.

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It was surprising to learn that even some of Black America's prominent politicians reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson boarded the Train , and to learn about the folks who got their starts at Soul Train dancers Vivica A. Fox and Rosie Perez. How Don Cornelius leveraged the Soul Train platform to launch the careers so many artists was revelatory. Blount also gives Soul Train enthusiasts a healthy dose of dirt on the behind-the-scenes horse-trading and attitudes that flourished on the Soul Train set.

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The culture of Soul Train and the music business at the time was full of characters, each of which elbowed for a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame. Reading about it showed me that even though the industry has changed in the internet age, so much is still the same.

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Love, Peace, and Soul is the literary equivalent of going through your great-aunt's photo album. The pictures are faded, the dates are a bit jumbled and the history isn't as neat as what would be found in a textbook, but it is an important part of remember the musical legacy that came before. Home Literary Soul.

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December 9, pm. Center Ericka Blount Danois grapples with Soul Train 's sizable history by beginning with Don Cornelius' humble rise from Chicago radio personality to host of a nationally syndicated show based out of Los Angeles. Bounce-Worthy: Lucky Daye.


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So young black people saw themselves most often on the nightly news, and rarely in a flattering light. His challenges were daily.


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  8. To fulfil its potential, Soul Train needed national syndication, which required sponsorship. Snubbed by most brands, Cornelius secured the vital support of Johnson Products, the Chicago-based manufacturer of the black haircare range Afro Sheen.


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    Black culture was communicating blackness to black people and everybody else was just there to look over our shoulders while we had this love festival amongst ourselves. As host, Cornelius emanated a distinctly Chicago brand of cool: smooth, drily witty, somewhat strait-laced despite his flashy threads. Even his hair had gravitas.

    Love, Peace and Soul Train with Ericka Blount Danois

    Feeling a civic responsibility to emphasise the positive, Cornelius ran a tight ship. While inviting artists and activists to discuss political issues on the show, Cornelius practised what he preached by employing as many black directors and crew members as he could. He was like an adman whose product was blackness. Cornelius himself became a household name. White artists were welcome, too, provided they were deemed to have soul.

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    In Elton John, who personally requested to appear, was followed by a sketchy, skeletal David Bowie , who received an off-camera scolding from Cornelius for his sloppy lip-syncing. Cornelius had a good relationship with most artists — in a memorable episode he played basketball with Marvin Gaye, refereed by Smokey Robinson — but liked to maintain a professional distance.

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    In , after a hiatus to recover from brain surgery, he gave the show a glossy relaunch for the era of MTV , broadening its remit to pretty much anything with a groove: Whitney Houston and Janet Jackson, of course, but also a-ha and Pet Shop Boys. The reboot hit a new ratings peak. They felt like these people were trying to drag them back down.