Following the tragic death of Don Cornelius today we’ve been looking back over the archives at some favorite Soul Train moments. Watching old Soul Train clips has us in awe of some of the awesome talent that joined Cornelius in the studio, and we smiled all the way through this footage of the Soul Train host playing basketball against the legendary Marvin Gaye. The two superstars act like boys in a schoolyard, playfully breaking the rules and scuffling across the court. We won’t give away the end result and ruin the above video for you — but there is a clear winner!
Once you’ve digested this video of Cornelius and Gaye going head-to-head on the court, try wrapping your head around this one — a young Ike & Tina Turner being interviewed by Cornelius! Tina dominates the conversation but is wonderfully charming, stating her favorite hobbies as “to skate, to go into the country for a while, and I like being a woman.” Recounting their meeting in St. Louis Tina smiles from ear to ear as she recalls the magical encounter, ending the story with an emphatic “pow!” You can watch the clip after the jump.
Sad news to pass along this morning. Don Cornelius, the creator and host of Soul Train, was found dead in his California home earlier today. TMZ is reporting that the 75-year-old died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after struggling with health issues and a messy divorce over the course of the last few years.
His longtime friend, Quincy Jones, just released the following statement to USA Today: “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.”
Back in 2010, VH1 put a spotlight on Cornelius and the revolutionary program that he created with the VH1 Rock Doc, Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America. To remember exactly how awesome Soul Train was, take a look at this incredible footage of the Soul Train audience doing a line-dance to “Respect Yourself” by the legendary Staple Singers.