Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don Cornelius, Wishing You Love, Peace and Soul

Don Cornelius
1936 - 2012
"You can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey"

Don Cornelius was an American television show host and producer who was best known as the creator of the nationally syndicated dance/music franchise Soul Train, which he hosted from 1971 to 1993.
Donald Cortez Cornelius was born in Chicago's South Side on September 27, 1936, and raised in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Following his graduation from DuSable High School in 1954, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served 18 months in Korea. He worked at various jobs following his stint in the military, including selling tires, automobiles, and insurance, and as an officer with the Chicago Police Department. 
He quit his day job to take a three-month broadcasting course in 1966 despite being married with two sons and only $400 in his bank account. In 1966, he landed a job as an announcer, news reporter and disc jockey on Chicago radio station WVON.

Cornelius joined Chicago television station WCIU-TV in 1967 and hosted a news program calledA Black's View of the News.
"We got another sound comin' out of Philly that's a sure 'nough dilly"
In 1970 he launched Soul Train on WCIU-TV as a daily local show. The program entered national syndication and moved to Los Angeles the following year.  Originally a journalist inspired by the civil rights movement, Cornelius recognized that in the late 1960s there was no television venue in the United States for soul music, and introduced many African-American musicians to a larger audience as a result of their appearances on Soul Train, a program that was both influential among African-Americans and popular with a wider audience. 
As writer, producer, and host of Soul Train, Cornelius was instrumental in offering wider exposure to black musicians such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson, as well as creating opportunities for talented dancers that would presage subsequent television dance programs. Spike Lee described the program as an "urban music time capsule."
"We had a show that kids gravitated to"

There was also the popular "Soul Train Line", in which all the dancers form two lines with a space in the middle for dancers to strut down and dance in consecutive order. Originally, this consisted of a couple - with men on one side and women on the other. In later years, men and women had their own individual line-ups. Sometimes, new dance styles or moves were featured or introduced by particular dancers. In addition, there was an in-studio group of dancers who danced along to the music as it was being performed. Rosie Perez, Damita Jo Freeman, Darnell Williams, Carmen Electra, Nick Cannon, MC Hammer, Jermaine Stewart, Fred "Rerun" Berry, Laurieann Gibson, Pebbles, and NFL legend Walter Payton were among those who got noticed dancing on the program over the years. Two former dancers, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, enjoyed years of success as members of the R&B group Shalamar after they were chosen by Soul Train talent booker/record promoter Dick Griffey and Cornelius to replace the group's original session singers in 1978.Watley and Hewett would later enjoy success as a solo artists after leaving Shalamar

Who was this woman with the long hair again??? :)

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