Soul Train

Soul Train is a long-running American music-related syndicated television program. It premiered on local television station WCIU-TV in Chicago, Illinois in 1970 and went into first-run syndication in selected cities across the United States on October 2, 1971. New episodes are still being broadcast in first-run syndication today, and the show's opening claims that it is the "longest running first-run syndicated program in television history."

The program features African American singers and performers almost exclusively, although a few white musicians such as Elton John, The Romantics, Gino Vannelli, David Bowie, Teena Marie, Captain and Tennille, Michael McDonald, Paula Abdul, Sheena Easton, The Beastie Boys, a-ha, Michael Bolton, JoJo, The Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera have also appeared on Soul Train through the years. Artists usually lip sync their latest songs and are interviewed by the show's host.

Soul Train has primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, and hip hop artists, although jazz musicians and gospel singers have also appeared. In addition, there is an in-studio group of dancers who dance along to the music as it is being performed. (Rosie Perez, Carmen Electra, Nick Cannon, Jody Watley, singer Jermaine Stewart, singer/producer Pebbles, and NFL greats Walter Payton and Fred Williamson all got noticed dancing on the program over the years)

From its inception until 1993, the host of Soul Train was Don Cornelius, who is also the program's creator. Cornelius also commissioned the show's theme song, "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)", recorded by Philadelphia soul studio group MFSB. Released as a single, this song became a pop and R&B radio hit in 1973. For several seasons beginning in 1983, the program switched to another theme created by R&B artist O'Bryan. This lesser-known theme to the program, Soul Train's A Comin' , had a funkier beat and a stronger bass line.

During the heyday of Soul Train in the 1970s, the program was widely influential among younger black Americans, many of whom turned to it not only to hear the latest songs by well-known black artists but also for clues about the latest fashions and dance trends. Moreover, for many white Americans in that era who were not living in areas that were racially diverse, Soul Train provided a unique window into black culture. Some commentators have called Soul Train a "black American Bandstand", another long-running (though now cancelled) program with which Soul Train shares some similarities.

In its structure, each show ends with the popular "dance line", in which all the Soul Train dancers form a two lines with space in the middle for individual dancers to strut down and dance in consecutively. Sometimes, new dance styles or moves are featured or introduced by particular dancers.

The show is also known for its popular closing catchphrase, "...We wish you love, peace... and SOUL!"

Cornelius ended his stint as host in 1993, and guest hosts were used from that time until 1997. Mystro Clark hosted the show from 1997-1999, and Shemar Moore was the host from 1999-2003. Moore was succeeded by the current host, Dorian Gregory.

* The comedy show In Living Color parodied Soul Train in 1990 with a sketch called Old Train. Keenen Ivory Wayans portrayed Don Cornelius as the host of a show that featured dancing elderly people. Participants in the "dance line" included a nurse pushing an old person in a wheelchair, and a casket being carried by pallbearers.

* The TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? once featured a game in which one of the actors pretended he was the host of Soul Train, repeatedly morphing into a "goofy white guy" and back again.

* The Simpsons featured a parody show entitled Soul Mass Transit System.

* A sequence in the movie Charlie's Angels featured actress Cameron Diaz dancing on Soul Train.

* Don Cornelius played himself in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where the main characters appear on Soul Train.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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