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Soul Train’s creator and longtime host, Don Cornelius, was found dead Wednesday morning of an apparent suicide at his Encino, CA home on Mulholland Drive.
According to the Los Angeles police department, Cornelius was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of “an apparent suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound” after a family member discovered his body around 4 a.m. Feb. 1.
He launched Soul Train in 1970 in Chicago, the show went national one year later. Cornelius served as its host until 1993, moving to a more behind-the-scenes role.
In it’s heyday many of music’s greats appeared on the show alongside it’s dapper host.
Here are a few of the highlights:
5. Marvin Gaye The singer made many appearances on the show, even playing a game of basketball with Cornelius while Smokey Robinson refereed. But, his performance of “Let’s Get It On” in 1974 after taking a long break from the stage was a biggie.
4. Stevie Wonder. In 1971, Wonder performed three of his hits, “My Cherie Amor,” “I Wish,”and “Sir Duke,” live in a medley on the show.
3. Jackson Five. Back when he was still performing with his brothers in the family band, Michael Jackson (joined by Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon) sang one of their biggest hits “I Want You Back.”
2. The dance line. Probably the show’s most recognizable feature, Soul Train’s dance line got down to the likes of Earth Wind & Fire, KC & The Sunshine Band, and in this clip, the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing.”
1. Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson. The music royalty joined forces to perform “Ooo Baby Baby,” in a high-calliber duet.
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