In the 1970s, a lot of school kids on Monday mornings would talk about who appeared on the past weekend's American Bandstand, but the really cool kids ... and by cool, I mean groovy ... talked about Soul Train. Billed as "the hippest trip in America," the syndicated television show blasted out of the tube with a cartoon train and an announcer telling you that it "was time to get back on the the Soul-l-l-l-l-l-l Train."
The best of the best were regular passengers: Aretha, Marvin, Stevie, The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays, The Commodores, Curtis Mayfield and, of course, James Brown.
The conductor and host was Don Cornelius, who assured us that the 60-minute trip was "a stone gas." Classic.
The show left the station in 1970 and kept rolling until 1993, and by any account, it was the godfather of all black entertainment television.
Cornelius, 75, was found dead in his Los Angeles home this morning. An L.A. county coroner said Cornelius had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.