Don Cornelius, RIP
‘Soul Train’ Host Commits Suicide
By Margaret Moser, 10:28AM, Wed. Feb. 1, 2012
Don Cornelius, best known as the TV host of Soul Train, was found dead this morning in his Sherman Oaks, CA., home. An L.A. coroner confirmed he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Cornelius was 75.
Don Cornelius took his place in music history in 1970 as the first host and producer of a Chicago area dance show called Soul Train, “the hippest trip in America.” The show went national within a year, a musically ripe time for black music, attracting a caliber of stars that read like a soul hall of fame: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown. In its reign from 1971 to 2006, it bested its archetype, American Bandstand, with hip bands, funkier music, and better dances, including the show’s popular “Soul Train Live” segment.
Cornelius may be best remembered by Austin for his role as promoter Mohammed Johnson in Roadie. The film was shot around Austin in 1980 with Blondie and Meatloaf. In the Nineties, Soul Train became a target for younger blacks like Ice Cube, who dissed Cornelius for supporting record labeling. On In Living Color, it was parodied as Old Train. Yet Soul Train remains iconic and forever burned into the Seventies memory not to mention Cornelius’ beloved farewell, “love, peace, and soul.”