Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Soul Train

on March 31, 2023

(Photo from The Detroit News)

When Don Cornelius committed suicide in 2012 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, the music industry reacted with profound shock and sorrow. Cornelius, as many music lovers know, was the genius behind the hit TV show, Soul Train. He was instrumental in launching the careers of Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, and other R & B artists. Soul Train premiered on Chicago’s WCIU-TV in 1970. It graduated to national syndication in 1971 and ran until 1993, when Cornelius decided to step down.

Soul Train introduced soul music to the American public. Black artists like Marvin Gaye and James Brown soon became staples on mainstream radio stations. And the dancing! The Soul Train dance line introduced young people to a whole new style of dancing and having fun.

Why did Cornelius commit suicide? At the age of 75, he was suffering from several health issues, including frequent seizures. He had undergone brain surgery in 1982, but he admitted publicly that he never felt the same afterward. His health issues were part of the reason he retired from Soul Train in 1993.

I loved watching Soul Train as a child. The opening graphics, the music, the dancing, the high excitement and infectious energy always pumped me up and helped me to view the world in a whole new way.

Wherever you are now, Don Cornelius, may you rest in eternal peace.


Dawn Pisturino

March 31, 2023

Copyright 2023 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


22 responses to “Soul Train

  1. philsblog01 says:

    Amen! I did not know he commited suicide, so sad. Left behind an amazing legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. utahan15 says:

    same reason brian keith did and anyone famous in pain
    papa hemingway. was my age 61 oh oh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jai says:

    I enjoyed Soul Train too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this contribution, while living on the other side of the globe and busily bringing up children I was completely cut off from what went on in the music scene, it was all about work, work, work. now in old age, I can ‘reeducate’ myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Michele Lee says:

    Soul Train! πŸ™ŒπŸ» πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ•ΊπŸ½πŸͺ© Sad legacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved Soul Train Dawn. He was awesome and sad times for him and his fans’1 πŸ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kvbclarke says:

    A wonderful tribute.
    May I humbly suggest you consider using a different word then ‘committed’ suicide.
    I have trained trainers to intervene in suicide for 32 years and learned what is hard for families of those wh have suicided find targeting language. We generally think of the negative meaning of ‘committed’ as committed a sin or committed a crime. It is far less offensive to make suicide into a verb–suicided. Or try saying completed suicide. (I thought you would want to know this–no offense meant.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] RELATEDβ€œSoul Train”, a tribute post to Don Cornelius (redirects to another blog) […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jeff Flesch says:

    Thank you for this, Dawn. I loved watching Soul Train as a kiddo too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. tamweary says:

    A Saturday must see!!πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my gosh Dawn, love this tribute. “The Hippest Trip in the West! Love, Peace & Sooouuuulllll.” I was in high school when this show came out and what an impact it made. Who didn’t want to be a Soul Train dancer, even if you couldn’t dance? πŸš‚ But girl, the day I heard that Don committed suicide, I think our hearts stopped. πŸ˜₯ Until we found out that he had been suffering from health issues, we couldn’t understand why he resorted to this. But to bring situations like this to light that many people may be suffering from in silence, lets us know that they are not alone and shouldn’t be. Great post my friend. Thanks for sharing this. πŸ™πŸΌ

    Liked by 1 person

  12. balladeer says:

    I always think of him saying “Let’s put some hands together now.”

    Liked by 1 person

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