Soul Train- 70s and 80s

By Camryn Henry and Vashti Robinson

What is it?

Soul train is an American musical variety TV show. The founder of the show is Don Cornelius, who also was a host and producer for the show. The first episode aired on October 2, 1971. The show lasted for 35 years, it was the “longest running first run, nationally syndicated program in American television history” until 2016. The show incorporated R&B, soul, funk, and hip hop artists. The show originated at an upstart radio show in Chicago.


This show was very influential. It was TV’s only black owned show. It created the soul train line. The soul train line is where there are two lines facing each other and the first person at the start each line dance together in between the lines. The soul train show launches the Soul train Music Awards. This awards show honors performances in R&B, hip hop, funk, and gospel music. Soul train was considered the “Black American Bandstand”

Jackson 5

An American pop band that can also classify as R&B and soul. The band consists of brothers from the Jackson family. They have sold 100 million records worldwide. One its most famous members is Micheal Jackson. The Jackson 5 performed “I want you back” live on soul train.

James Brown

James brown is an American singer, dancer, and musician. He is known as the “Godfather of soul”. He performed with a band called the Famous Flames, they were inducted into the music R&B hall of fame. James Brown established the sound of funk.

Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan was apart of a popular band called Rufus, a funk band. She is an American singer and songwriter. She has won 10 grammys and sold 70 million records worldwide. She is known as the “Queen of funk”. She performed “Tell me something good” with Rufus live on soul train.

Rick James

Rick James is a funk/soul artist. He is an american singer/songwriter, musician, and producer. He performed several songs including super freak and give it to me baby. “Give it to me Baby” spent 5 weeks in the #1 spot on the R&B chart.

LL Cool J

LL Cool J is a hip hop/rap artist from Queens, NY. He is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, and actor. He sold over 13 million records and was nominated for 45 various awards. Signed to Def Jam records.

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson is an R&B, pop, electronic dance music artist from Gary, Indiana. She sold over 100 million records worldwide and has won over 209 awards for music and acting. She is the youngest member of the Jackson Family. Known for elaborate stage presence.

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