Soul Train Decoded: Don Cornelius Created the Hippest Brand in America

Don-Cornelius-&-Aretha-Franklin-620×480

MUSICAL LANDMARKS

Over the years, Soul Train gave African American artists a national platform that equaled commercial success. For example, the show’s theme song “T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)” by MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother), featuring vocals by The Three Degrees, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the Hot Soul Singles chart and on the Easy Listening Singles survey. The show also led to the creation of Shalamar, comprised of Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, along with Howard Hewett, who went on to land a Top Ten hit with “The Second Time Around,” a Grammy Award for “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills,” and a string of hit singles in the U.K. When the group disbanded, Watley became a superstar, winning a 1988 Grammy award for Best New Artist and creating 32 Top Ten singles and 13 No. 1 singles. “Prior to the internet and the proliferation of other outlets, Soul train was very vital to the consumer purchase behavior of young Black kids,” says Gibbs.

MUSICAL LANDMARKS

Over the years, Soul Train gave African American artists a national platform that equaled…

(Image: Getty)