Farewell to Don Cornelius

1 02 2012

Suicides never sit well with me.  Sadly, an entertainment legend, Don Cornelius, took his own life.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/02/don-cornelius-suicide-reveals-troubled-life-of-soul-train-founder/

If you don’t know him by name, but you’re over 30, you probably know his work.  Don’s best known as the creator and host of Soul Train, a cool, primarily Afro-American dance show that ran from 1971 to 2006.  It was a groovier, funkier, more urban cousin of American Bandstand.  Don was so cool and smooth.  The dancing and music was great R&B, funk, disco and eventually hip-hop.

I was a white kid that grew up in an all-white area.  Despite living only about a dozen miles from where all that great Motown music was made, I didn’t listen to the kind of music that was played on Soul Train.  But I watched it a fair amount.  I was always amazed by the cool polyester outfits, big afros and the great dance moves by those in the audience.  Don always set up the next tune or artist so that you couldn’t help but stay glued to the set.

Don’s death came to my attention by way of a sports talk radio show.  One of the black hosts asked the audience whether we white folks watched Soul Train.  I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I think we did.  I don’t know anybody that didn’t turn it on once in awhile.  It was great stuff in its heyday.

Here’s one of my favorite artists performing on the coolest show around.  Rest in peace, Don.

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