Love, Peace & ‘Soul Train’
The “Hippest Trip in America” is forging full speed ahead with the recent news of the Viacom BET Networks acquisition of the “Soul Train” brand. Soul Train is the brain child of the late legendary Don Cornelius that ruled the airwaves from 1971 until 2006. We can all relate to tuning in to see our favorite performers and the infamous Soul Train line.
During its run on the musical tracks, the show featured performances from a variety of genres including R&B, soul, disco, gospel, and hip hop artists. Once the show pulled into the station, the digital footprint expanded and SoulTrain.com became the new destination for updates on our favorite entertainers.
This year marks 45 years since Soul Train made its national television appearance. As the train chugs into its new phase under the BET Networks thumbprint, JET takes a look at some memorable performances from the show and the Soul Train Awards.
1. Michael Jackson captivated the world well before he introduced the Moonwalk on Motown 25 in the 80s. In 1973, The Jackson 5 appeared on Soul Train to promote their new album, Get it Together. During a performance of “Dancing Machine,” Michael Jackson premiered a move that stopped everyone in their tracks during the instrumental break—by sliding across the floor like a motorized robot. MJ’s “Robot” ignited a new wave of more robotic movements among dancers across the nation.
2. 1974 brought a soul stirring performance by singer Al Green. Don Cornelius described him best, “He’s the closest thing the music world has come to having its own Messiah.” With a gut-wrenching, soul dripping, find a funeral home church fan to cool off because it’s too hot performance, Al Green took the Soul Train gang to church with a live performance of “Jesus is Waiting” all while his arm was in a sling.
3. In 1979, on a Soul Train episode, music lovers were treated to a rare pairing of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson singing a duet of the Miracles hit, “Ooh Baby Baby.” With Ms. Franklin on the keys, her and Smokey’s flawless vocals made this performance a highlight in Soul Train history.