In 1970, Don Cornelius set “Soul Train” rolling into American homes in Chicago, and soon the R&B-heavy weekly broadcast became a showcase for predominantly black musical acts and a fixture on TV sets around the country — and it didn’t stop for 35 years. Early on Wednesday, the pioneering producer was found dead in his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Later that morning, the tributes started rolling in. –KA

Click here to see a long and entertaining list of “Soul Train” performers through the years.

Washington Post:

“He was a transformer,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson told KNX-Los Angeles. “ ‘Soul Train’ became the outlet for African-Americans.”

Jackson said he talked to Cornelius a few days ago and there were no signs Cornelius was upset.

Others also expressed their grief.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius,” said Quincy Jones. “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.”

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig