Soul Train – Where Is It?

Soul Train is missing from today’s television and I want to know why. Soul Train is the most influential music entertainment program in tv history. It shaped urban music and its artists in so many ways. It gave musicians a platform to showcase their stage performance and the ability to put an artists’ face with their music. In the past, you only had the music of an artist to listen to unless you bought their record or caught a live performance. You may even have seen them in a magazine article if you were lucky. It was an hour long program comprised of live performances, The Soul Train Line, and maybe an interview of a popular urban celebrity segment.

Where is it? What happened to the reboot or the revamp for the new era or whatever it is they’re so-called doing with it? Nick Cannon was supposed to be revamping the show.

What Is Soul Train?

Soul Train is a syndicated dance entertainment show that aired from October 1971 – March 2006. It highlighted urban music such as funk, r&b, and soul. It later featured Hip Hop but also showcased jazz, gospel, disco, and pop/dance music.

Soul Train - Urban Music 2000
Soul Train – Urban Music 2000

You could tune in on a Saturday morning and expect to see music artists perform 2 songs They would perform their hit everyone knew that was currently on the radio and then the B-side. The B-side was usually the next single to be released. If you were really popular, you already had more than one song on the radio and everybody knew your B-side.

Singles back in the day comprised of a record album, a 45 record, with 2 songs. You had one song you played on one side and a different song on the other side. Cassettes and CD’s also came in single format.

The Format

The format of the show started off playing an urban music song that was popular or was being promoted while the Soul Train Dancers danced in various places on the set including a main dance floor and several stages. The host, Dom Cornelius, would then introduce the first performing act. Artists lip-synced their songs when they performed. I liked it because it sounded just like the record and you could sing along. This war repeated for the second act. Sometimes if there wasn’t a second performer you would get a comedian or a spotlight on a dance troupe. Eventually they started playing music videos in between performances.

The Revamp

Nick Cannon purchased the rights to Soul Train in 2013. I was elated to learn that the breakthrough syndication show would be back on my tv.

Soul Train - Urban Music 2000
Soul Train Nick Cannon & Don Cornelius – Urban Music 2000

“It’s a passion project of mine. Obviously, what it means to our culture … One, it was one of the longest-running syndicated television shows in history, and then, it just did so much for us, for our style, for our fashion,” he explained. “Saturday morning, you knew what was cool by what was on ‘Soul Train.’” “Not only am I producing it, I’m hosting it. We got the rights. But it’s like full circle for me. A lot of people don’t know the first time I was ever on national television I was a ‘Soul Train’ dancer.”


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