Entries in Soul (1)

Wednesday
Feb012012

R.I.P. Don Cornelius, and Remember the 'Soul Train'

 

REVIEWING THE NEWS: A complicated legend, Soul Train creator and black-music pioneer Don Cornelius, passes away.

By Kenny Herzog

Don Cornelius: 1936-2012

 

Much like the recently deceased King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and late Godfather of Soul, James Brown, Soul Train conductor Don Cornelius' final years were marred by legal entanglements and poor health. But just as when word spread of M.J. and J.B.'s passing, news that Cornelius, 75, was found dead this morning of an apparent suicide still took your breath away.

We have a tendency to define people by their lowest point, particularly when we initially put them on a pedestal. But we mostly admire and ultimately mourn figures like Cornelius because of how something they created at a different time in their lives put us in a special place inside our imagination. And in the case of Soul Train, it was the hippest, coolest place to be on a Saturday morning, but also (and by design), a demonstration of peaceful activism, enormous catalyst for cultural integration, an heir to Motown as a platform for black artists and blueprint for future groundbreaking musical television like Yo! MTV Raps. In short, Soul Train was the shit.

 

IN OTHER WORDS: Despite Don Cornelius' troubled end, he was still there at the beginning.

THE SOUL TRAIN MAKING NO STOPS RATING: It's Gonna Be a Stone-Gas, Honey/10

 

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