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It’s mid-morning on Wednesday. You’re at work, looking for something new on the Internet. Are you a retro music fan? Love the Funk, Jazz and Disco years?
Well then, I bet you haven’t forgotten about the epic TV series Soul Train.
The show created and ran by legendary Don Cornelius from 1971 until 2006, represented one of the most influential TV shows in terms of music, fashion and culture.
The year 2016 actually represents the 45th anniversary of the show so I think a little throwback won’t hurt and consequently I would TOTALLY recommend you to read Soul Train: The Music, Dance, and Style of a Generation, Hippest Trip in America by Questlove.
Soul Train is more likely to be known for its first decade, when it brought on big names in soul and funk like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Al Green James Brown, and of course, the Jackson 5.
Our beloved Michael Jackson actually captivated us before his famous moonwalk, as he appeared on Soul Train with the Jackson 5 in 1973.
During the performance, little Michael launched a move that simply surprised but amazed everyone – he slid across the floor like a mechanical robot. Of course, since then this move detonated a new wave of robotic moves amongst dancers throughout the nation.
The point Questlove was making, apart from the amazing dance moves and fashion, Soul Train represented “the first time that many people had ever seen Black Americans at the centre of an entertainment television show,” and for the time it was a big deal.
Of course, technology, fashion, and music evolved, taking the show along with it. If the show was primarily focused on black audience and black music, it eventually switched to something broader, with Cornelius bringing white bands to the show, but never failing to bring legendary artists like Prince.
Even advertisements became less ‘sexist’ as the years went by, and female dancers got more time to perform.
This is to say that Soul Train had a lot of style, but it’s important to remember that it had even more substance. Regardless, it is amazingly fun to watch.
The point is that if you are bored or feel like a cheeky escape at work (even if it’s just plugging your earphones to your laptop and listening to music) you should opt for the glimmering grooves, awesome dance moves, super funky outfits, and beautiful oh-so-sweaty performers.
As all good history, Soul Train shows us how far we’ve come, but also how far we still can go.
As for the future of Soul Train?
“You can bet your last money, it’s all gonna be a stone gas, honey.”
Désirée de Vi’