In Memory of Don Cornelius: Love, Peace, and British Soul

David Bowie on 'Soul Train'

Many of us woke up this morning to the absolutely stunning news that Don Cornelius, the bass-voiced host and creator of the U.S. music program Soul Train, had died in an apparent suicide at age 75. Black America’s alternative to American Bandstand in the ’70s, Soul Train was a cultural institution that crossed color lines and international boundaries, welcoming the British likes of David Bowie, Elton John, Sting, Spandau Ballet, and Soul II Soul to its glittering stage.

Elton, Bowie, and Scottish group Average White Band all appeared in 1975, making them among the first white acts to perform on the show. Here are those performances, via that great cultural aggregator, YouTube:

David Bowie – “Golden Years”

David Bowie – “Fame”

Elton John – “Philadelphia Freedom”

Elton John – “Bennie and the Jets”

Average White Band – “Cut The Cake”

Average White Band – “School Boy Crush”

Average White Band – “Person to Person”

Any Soul Train memories to share? Tell us below:

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself—he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri—he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.
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