"Soul Train" Creator Don Cornelius Dead at 75

5 years ago

In the below video of a 1974 Soul Train show, Soul Train creator Don Cornelius is interviewing the Godfather of Soul James Brown, and the clip includes a young Al Sharpton presenting Brown with an award. I thought this clip would be appropriate upon hearing that Don Cornelius has passed away at age of 75 because Soul Train did so much more for the black community than feature music. (Although you won't want to miss the clip of Cornelius dancing in the Soul Train Line at the bottom of the page.)

The sadder news in this is that the Associated Press reports the cause of Cornelius's death as suicide:

Officers responding to a report of a shooting found Cornelius at his Mulholland Drive home at around 4 a.m., police said. He was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 4:56 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.


Don Cornelius at the 6th annual Family Television Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on December 1, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

I can't say more than this right now, except that Soul Train was an important part of my youth during the 70s, arriving during the Black is Beautiful era and bringing into my family den and homes around the world the performances of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan & Rufus, Curtis Mayfield, the O'Jays, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Jackson 5, Janet Jackson, even Elton John, and so many more plus the famous Soul Train Dance Line. Some people tuned in just to see that. The legendary Fred Astaire famously told 60 Minutes in an interview long ago, when asked who he liked to watch dance, that he tuned in to Soul Train to see "the kids" and their innovative dance moves.

I have to digest the news that Don Cornelius killed himself even though I'm aware that his life had signs that he was a troubled man. May his soul rest in peace.

In the video below, Cornelius dances in the Soul Train Line with Mary Wilson of the Supremes.

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