Don Cornelius got the idea to call the show “Soul Train” from his traveling to and from high school record hops. He reached out to his list of contacts from Chicago’s radio station, WVON, and from the artists he’d been promoting in high school auditoriums. Joseph Hutchinson, the father of the Emotions singers, was the first person he contacted, then Jerry Butler, and the Chi-Lites. He booked all of them for the first show.
He approached his buddy, WVON deejay Joe Cobb, about doing promotions for the program while in the studio at the radio station. Cornelius was holding the copy for promotion of the show and he asked Cobb to read it. “Channel 26, will be airing the Sooooooooouuuul Traiiiiin!” Cobb sung into the microphone. He was just joking, but Cornelius told him, “I like that. Do that again for me.” The name stuck, as did the bombastic approach to stretching it out. He also reached out to his colleague at WVON, Don Jackson, the first black advertising sales manager at the station, as well as the youngest, to help him develop the show. Cornelius told Jackson that the show would have the hippest dancers from around town and first-class acts from the Chicago music scene.
“Man, there’s no way in hell a show called ‘Soul Train’ will ever make it. Thank you, but no thank you,” Jackson said with an affable smile.
Meanwhile, Cornelius still had to get a show together. The first thing he needed to do was to find dancers–but not just any dancers. He needed the kind that would keep the attention of an audience used to seeing the latest dances at the clubs around town.
Keep reading this excerpt on Huffington Post!
Love, Peace, and Soul tells the story of the television phenomenon known as Soul Train, a show created in the land of bell bottoms, afros, and soul power; a show that became the touchstone of the Baby Boomer generation. Don Cornelius, host and owner of the show, was one of the coolest cats on television. With his platform shoes, wide neckties, and mellifluous voice, he showed the world just how corny American Bandstand was in comparison. In 2012, fans were shocked to hear one of the most powerful men in the music and television business took his own life.
Posted on October 16, 2013, in Film & TV, Music Fans and tagged Don Cornelius, don jackson, Ericka Blount Danois, excerpt, Huffington Post, joe cobb, Soul Train. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.