Berry Gordy, Jr. might have introduced MOTOWN as the “SOUND of YOUNG AMERICA”, but it was Don Cornelius who brought the “SOUL of ALL AMERICA” into our living room for 35 years. His syndicated TV show, SOUL TRAIN was the safest place to see the latest fashions, the newest dance steps, and for a long time the only place to see African-American performers on a regular basis.

 Don Cornelius stayed on the scene for so long, because he didn’t try to act cool…he was cool! In the US, he was always surrounded by fans, singers, producers, all vying for his attention. In Europe, however, it was a different story, SOUL TRAIN wasn’t being broadcast yet, and nobody knew who he was.

 I was attending MIDEM the annual gathering of music business people held in Cannes, and I saw Don standing alone at the Martinez Hotel, staring impatiently at his watch. I never met him before, but I thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I buffed the toes of my platform shoes on the back of my pants leg., cocked my “Superfly” hat, walked over and introduced myself.

 He smiled in a guarded kind of way. I told him I represented the publishing of many artists he had on his show including Sly Stone, Billy Preston, and Donny Hathaway. He warmed up a bit, and then we talked about music until his late friends showed up and whisked him off to parts unknown.

As he walked away he looked over his shoulder and said, “Stay in touch”

 I did, and every Saturday morning on my TV,  I learned a new step from the SOUL TRAIN GANG or see a new artist like Al Greene, or Mary J. Blige perform.

Thank you Don Cornelius, for all you’ve given us.

Wishing you…LOVE…PEACE… AND SOUL

MAY YOU R.I.P. ROCK IN PERPETUITY!

Respectfully, Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

 

A wide range of celebrities and music figures have reacted to the death early Wednesday of Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius:
    • Aretha Franklin: “It’s just so sad, stunning and downright shocking and a huge and momentous loss to the African-American community and the world at large. Don Cornelius single handedly brought about a melding and unity of brother and sisterhood among young adults worldwide and globally with the unforgettable creation of Soul Train.”
    • Berry Gordy Junior: “Don was a pioneer, the first to present Soul music to the masses via television. His Soul Train show was an important and timely vehicle that showcased Black talent and their new releases. From his unique Soul Train dances to his brilliant commentary, there are not enough adjectives to describe how important his role was to our society. There was American Bandstand and Where the Action IsThe Ed Sullivan ShowHullabaloo, and others, all extremely important to me and Motown and our growth; but Soul Train was our own, and yet it was for everybody.”
  • Quincy Jones: “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius. Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was ‘Soul Train,’ that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched. My heart goes out to Don’s family and loved ones.”
  • Whitney Houston: “I grew up watching Soul Train and I was privileged to perform on the show at the beginning of my career and on several more occasions. Don opened the door for many artists. He was a great pioneer.”
  • John Oates: “Performing on the show meant that you had made it in his world and for us, validation of the fact that we were accepted and acknowledged for the ‘crossover’ success that we had on radio and TV.He overcame many obstacles to become not only the face of soul music but a positive role model as a successful African-American entrepreneur, executive and TV personality.”
  • Patti LaBelle: “Don Cornelius was simply a genius and the contributions he made to music and our culture are second to none.I will always treasure the fond memories I have of working with Don over the years and being part of the history that he created through Soul Train. He will truly be missed and my heart and prayers go out to his family.”
  • The Tavares Family: Our deepest condolences go out to the family. Don was a pioneer for black people, and a great individual, he will be greatly missed.” 
  • Jerry Martini of Sly and the Family Stone: “Don was a great guy. Sly and The Family Stone played on Soul Train several times and he always made the band [and myself personally] feel welcome. Don was an usher at Sly’s wedding at Madison Square Garden in the ’70s.”
  • Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey: “Don was a class act. When I saw Don at the Hyatt in L.A. and told him I had just gotten married, he had a bottle of champagne sent over to our table. I always remembered that.”
  • Robbie Dupree: The Soul Train experience gave us all a chance to see the greatest artists of golden age of music and witness a cultural revolution coming into our homes every week. Mr. Cornelius was a giant.” 
  • Songwriter and publishing executive Artie Wayne: Berry Gordy might have introduced Motown as the Sound of Young America, but it was Don Cornelius who brought the Soul of All America into our living room for 35 years. Soul Train was the safest place to see the latest fashions, the newest dance steps, and for a long time the only place to see African-American performers on a regular basis.”
  • Dionne Warwick: “Don played an enormous part in my career by giving me exposure when there was none for African American recording artists on television. He was an icon of the broadcasting world.”
  • Magic Johnson (whose Vibe Holdings company currently owns the rights to Soul Train), said on Twitter: Soul Train taught the world how to dance! I thank Don for trusting me with his Soul Train brand and I will carry on his legacy through it.”
  • Rev. Al Sharpton: “I have known him since I was 19-years-old and James Brown had me speak on ‘Soul Train.’ He brought soul music and dance to the world in a way that it had never been shown and he was a cultural game changer on a global level.”

Mike McCann
Producer – Hot Wax Daily

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For the last three years I’ve been writing my book about my 50 years in the music business. I was warned not to write about certain people, certain companies, and certain things which made me want to tell more.

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In my book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG”, I write about my first hand experiences songwriting (Aretha, Michael Jackson,Tony Orlando, Cher, etc.) producing (the Kingsmen, The Shirelles, the Guess Who) and getting hits for Warner Brothers Music (“You’re 16″, “R+R Heaven”) and Irving/ Almo music (“I Honestly Love You”, “Our Day Will Come”).

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Thanks and regards, Artie Wayne http://artiewayne.com

Special thanks to Sally Stevens for  the Rainbow’s End photopainting on the cover.  http://sallystevens.fineartstudioonline.com/

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