Soul Train

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(ended 2006)

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User Score: 9035

Soul Train
6.8
out of 10
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127 votes
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Show Summary

It's the SOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUL TRAIN!

Pop music has always had shows like American Bandstand to sing its praises, but R&B music had to wait a while for its own major weekly showcase. Just the same, Soul Train proved to be well worth the wait when it hit the airwaves in the 1970s. This weekly extravaganza, which showed off the latest and greatest in soul music and dance moves, became a national sensation in the mid-1970s and became a pop culture juggernaut that broke new ground for African-American entertainment.

Soul Train was the brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius. After studying broadcasting in college, Cornelius got a job at WVON, one of Chicago's most popular urban radio stations. During this time, he pondered breaking into television with a dance and music show from an African-American perspective. In 1969, he produced a pilot episode and dubbed it "Soul Train" after a local radio promotion he had done in Chicago. The pilot impressed the Sears Roebuck Company, which gave Cornelius some funding in exchange for the rights to use Soul Train to promote a line of record players. With this help, Cornelius launched Soul Train on WCIU-TV, a Chicago UHF station. It premiered on August 17, 1970 as a weekday series airing from 4:30-5:30pm. Cornelius himself hosted the dance-stravaganza, which took place on a club-set. The show featured performances by soul music acts, appearances by guest hosts, and scorching dance numbers from the Soul Train Gang. Local word-of-mouth made Soul Train a big hit in Chicago, which won it another sponsor in The Johnson Products Company, makers of Afro-Sheen.

Soul Train's relationship with The Johnson Products Company also helped it make the move from local television to syndication. With this company's financial backing, Cornelius moved the show to Hollywood and got it into television syndication in the fall of 1971. Only seven cities were on the initial lineup, but the Soul Train quickly picked up steam and began playing in new cities as its reputation spread. Pretty soon, people all over the country were enjoying the funky thrills that only Soul Train could provide. By the mid-1970s, Soul Train was a force to be reckoned with. Each week, the latest hits and coolest dances were served up in a slick package that had kids of all ages and races dancing around the TV-room floor. Cornelius cut a stylish, unflappably cool figure as the host, making him an often-imitated icon in the entertainment community. Music groups clamored for an appearance on Soul Train, since it was practically a free ticket to r&b (and often pop) chart success. Today, many critics fondly remember Soul Train as the television show that did the most to bring African-American popular culture into American households.

As the 1980's began, Soul Train was as popular as ever. Tribune Entertainment, a Chicago-based company, became the exclusive distributor of the show and helped launch The Soul Train Music Awards. This yearly awards gala has become one of the most popular and respected awards ceremonies for r&b musicians and now enjoys "institution" status in the music world. The success of this awards show has also led to other popular Soul Train spin-off specials like The Soul Train Lady Of Soul Annual Awards Special and The Soul Train Christmas Starfest.

In the 1990s, Don Cornelius stepped down as Soul Train host and passed the role to others. Guest hosts were used from 1993-97 (seasons 23 through 26). Mystro Clark became host in 1997. Following him, was Shemar Moore who hosted seasons 29 through 32. Dorian Gregory is the current Soul Train host. Cornelius remains active as an executive producer for the show, which shows no signs of slowing down. With r&b music more popular than ever in the mainstream, viewers everywhere continue to shake their groove thing to the churning wheels of the Soul Train.

Soul Train continued with new episodes through the 2005-06 season. The final, first-run episode aired on March 25, 2006. The 2006-07 season began with repeats from 2005-06. As of December 9, 2006, the series has been retitled The Best of Soul Train and features c episodes from the 1970s and 1980s. 1970's & early 1980's Soul Train airdates On this guide, we've listed the earliest known airdates for episodes 1 - 163. The original Los Angeles airdates are listed for episodes 164 - 366 (Dec. 27, 1975 - June 20, 1981). In the 1970s through the early '80s, the episode airdates varied from city to city. Instead of using communications satellites, tapes of the episodes were mailed directly to individual TV stations. And once a station aired an episode, the tape would then be forwarded to a station in another city. (This practice, called "bicycling," was common with most 1970s first-run syndicated shows.) Sometime in the early 1980s, Tribune Entertainment began using satellites to distribute Soul Train resulting in standard airdates across the country.

Find at what television station and time the train pulls up to your TV: http://tv.tribune.com/showfinder/search/1,1001,soultrain,FF.html

Contributors to this guide include: --Nick Puzo (Nickfresh) - editor of the Soul Train Yahoo Group --Jabar Robbins (Calatine9) --Robert Spiegel --Edward Loney ("ehloney")moreless
Don Cornelius

Don Cornelius

Host [ seasons 1-27 ]

Mystro Clark

Mystro Clark

Host [ season 27 - season 29 episode 937 ]

Shemar Moore

Shemar Moore

Host [ season 29 episode 938 - season 32 ]

Joe Chism

Joe Chism

Dancer (1971-1978)

Pat Davis

Pat Davis

Dancer (1971-1975)

Damita Jo Freeman

Damita Jo Freeman

Dancer (1972-1979)

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Catch up on music with SOUUUUL Train!

    6.0
    My few quick peeks of this show makes me assume that it was always for people who wanted to dance with the best music the trend had to offer.
  • the soul train episode 1 !

    8.9
    for me the best episose because it\'s the first . I never don\'t see because I\'ve only 39 years . I\'ve a passion for the black & of specially for the soul train show who\'s the storie of soul disco funk music with the big more **** . the best dancer & the revelations same in 80\'s jody watley & jeffrey daniel (shalamar) I don\'t studed this episode but I hope see a faboulous show . I\'m french I born with the culture black music & I listen only the soul disco funky musicccc !moreless
  • Im Tim Fahey aka Slim and i am a dancer on Soul Train. I am the tall white guy, you can see me on the line or on top of one of the risers. Soul Trains Not cancelled so keep watchin check me out at www.teamronin.piczo.com or www.myspace.com/ronintimmoreless

    10
    Im Tim Fahey aka Slim and i am a dancer on Soul Train. I am the tall white guy, you can see me on the line or on top of one of the risers. Soul Trains Not cancelled so please continue to watch, we really appreciate everyones support and love dancing for you guys. Soul Train has been an inspiration for me and my dance team ever since we were very little and we hope to put that same inspiration into younger kids today. I have been on the show now for about two years and all the people there are very professional and many of them have potential for very large things. If you guys enjoy watching me on Soul Train please check out my web site www.teamronin.piczo.com or hit me up on myspace www.myspace.com/ronintim. My entire team dances on Soul Train so check out the website.moreless
  • Soul Train is a Classic

    10
    Soul Train is a Classic because he highlights an era that had so many entities involved with it in regards to human right struggles. The entertainment it provided to a hard working stuggling society provided many moments of exciting, and interesting classical R&B artists and their musical repertoires.



    Everything about Soul Train tells today's world about a society that changed the world through it's music. From the highlights of the Jackson 5 to the Temptations and The Supremes; adding, Sly & The Family Stone and Issac Hayes (to name a few). The dances were for this generation but the style and the music is for everyone, always.moreless
  • Blew Bandstand out of the water in the 70's.

    10
    Bandstand was good, but the year Soul Train came on the air it made the dancers on Bandstand look goofy. The Soul Train Line was tight! You got to see the latest dances and fashion. And the guest were always cool. It was the first time we got to see R&B singers on tv on a weekly basis. I have to say it lost it's soul completely in the 90's. They started bringing anybody on the show. And the girls standing around dancing look pretty stupid in the 90's too, more like strippers. But from the beginning up until around 1985 it was a good fun dance show. Bandstand was good too, but in the 70's Soul Train blew it out of the water. Would like to see reruns of both shows on TVLand.moreless
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  • RIP

    Soul Train's Don Cornelius Dies at 75

    The host of the long-running soul-music show was found dead early Wednesday morning of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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    Arts, Game Show, Music, Reality