don cornelius soul train

In 1974, 14 year old Chicago native Jody Watley joined Soul Train as a dancer. She was paired with 18 year old Jeffrey Daniel. The duo soon became one of the shows most popular couples and were recognized as trendsetters for their style and dance moves. Michael Jackson was famously a dedicated fan and reportedly studied Daniel when developing choreography.

 In 1977 Don Cornelius selected Watley and Daniel to become part of the R&B trio Shalamar, they went onto record multiple hits until the breakdown of their romantic and professional relationship in the 1980s. 

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These are pictures and info about Soul Trains Female Gang Dancers from the 70s-80s. We watched these women boogie on down every Saturday. You may not know who they were but you will now….. Enjoy! Part 1

1.Diana Bruner Puskas- Los Angeles native Diana Bruner Puskas was one of the prettiest and most fashionable divas to ever grace Soul Train. Her upbeat, perky personality and beautiful smile along with her eye catching dance style was a welcome treat for viewers of Soul Train. She also put the “c” in the words “chic” and “classy” as many of the fashionable outfits she wore caught viewers’ eyes. 

2.Fawn Quiñones- Fawn Quinones Soul Train, Who can forget this gorgeous dancing machine? Fawn Quinones, sister of Lockers dancer Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones, is one of Soul Train’s most popular regulars of all time. Hailing from Chicago, she was an original dancer on the local Chicago version of Soul Train before she moved to Los Angeles. From the moment Fawn graced the nationally-syndicated version of Soul Train in 1973, her beautiful looks, her unique style of dancing, and her fashionable outfits.

3.Vicki Abercrombie- Soul Train had a variety of dancers on the show with an distinct image that made them stand out; Vicki Abercrombie was the class act in the Soul Train Gang, her stylish attire, sexy but classy image, and her simple but appealing dance moves in platform heels made her one of the most recognizable and favorites of 1970s Soul Train. An original member of the Soul Train gang, Vicki along with other Soul Train dancers helped make Soul Train a hit with their style, personality, and dancing talents and became stars and legends themselves.

Vicki was every sense of the word fashion plate, she became a role model to young females of color who tuned in every Saturday to emulate her clothes style, style as a lady, and as a black beauty. Vicki was also a Soul Train eye candy favorite for the young men of her time. Her popularity gained her entry into popular black oriented magazines like Right On! where she modeled clothes and gave various interviews by popular demand. No other ladies were more lovelier and sweeter then Vicki Abercrombie on Soul Train and no lady filled Vicki’s shoes after her tenure on Soul Train.

4.Damita Jo-Freeman.-Did you see that girl dancing with Joe Tex?” “Who is that girl who kicks her leg way up?” “That girl was getting down with James Brown!” Damita Jo Freeman is arguably the most creative dancer in Soul Train history. Indeed, she was bestowed Soul Train’s “Best Creative Dancer Award” at the first Soul Train Gang reunion. Her rubbery, flexible movements and trademark leg kick were visual treats to watch every Saturday. Her classic performance with Joe Tex on his hit “I Gotcha” made Soul Train’s ratings go into the stratosphere. Her style of dancing caught the eye of many in the entertainment industry and helped her to get work in specials, theater and commercials in addition to doing choreography for major events. She also helped get opportunities for other Soul Train dancers whenever she could and fought for better conditions for the dancers while she was on the show.

Part 2 coming stay tuned…

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LOVE, PEACE AND SOUL | I LOVE THE 70s

Featuring the “Soul Train Line,” in which all the dancers form two lines with a space in the middle for dancers to strut down and dance in consecutive order. Originally, this consisted of a couple—with men on one side and women on the other. In later years, men and women had their own individual lineups.

[Click on Images To Enlarge]

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From bostonglobe.com: On Nov. 4, 1975, David Bowie appeared on “Soul Train.”

He wasn’t the first white solo artist to perform on the landmark music show — Elton John claimed that auspicious slice of history months earlier. But make no mistake: This was an equally seminal event. Forty years later, it remains a striking pop culture memory.

To be clear, “Soul Train” didn’t need Bowie. From the show’s 1971 debut, it was instantly must-see TV for many young African-Americans, and anyone else who wanted to be down with the best music around. “Soul Train” wanted Bowie on its stage. Already a star in rock circles, Bowie, by the mid-1970s, had begun to indulge his love of the American soul music that first caught his discerning ear as a teenager in his native England. And black radio stations that never thought twice about “The Man Who Sold the World” or “Changes” ate up “Fame” and “Golden Years,” the two songs Bowie would perform on “Soul Train.”

“Soul Train” creator and host Don Cornelius, the coolest uncle you never had, gave Bowie (whose name he pronounced as “BOO-ie”) an effusive introduction: “We’re very proud to have with us one who is easily one of the world’s most popular and important music personalities. A great welcome, gang, for the gifted singer, composer, producer — Mr. David Bowie.”

From the beginnings of popular music, African-American artists were accustomed to performing for all-white audiences, but a white performer appearing before a black crowd was practically unprecedented. In a periwinkle blue suit and a yellow shirt, here was Bowie, his hair a brassy two-toned strawberry blond, a pale, thin Brit amid a sea of Afros rising like the morning sun. When Bowie shakes Cornelius’s hand, he seems shy and nervous. Bowie hadn’t done much American television, and now he was on a stage once graced by his musical idols, like James Brown. This was hallowed ground, and Bowie, then 28, reportedly downed a few drinks backstage to steady his nerves. He needn’t have worried. The audience’s cheers and applause seemed especially enthusiastic, as if they wanted to assure him that he was a welcome guest in their house.

Yes, alone on the stage, Bowie lip-synched, and sometimes quite indifferently at that. Still, when he performed “Fame,” cowritten with John Lennon and his first chart-topping US hit, the audience yelped at his sinewy, spastic dance steps, and Bowie clearly reveled in it, grinning like a kid. He was no stranger in a strange land — there was deeper connection here. Perhaps the crowd saw in Bowie a bit of themselves. They certainly understood what it meant to be treated as outsiders, and to forge that status into a culture much envied and imitated. Bowie built his career as the champion of outcasts and misfits, those who become triumphs of self-invention, their humanity pulled from the ashes of conformity. Along the way, he deeply influenced Grace Jones, gave Luther Vandross an early break as a backup singer on “Young Americans,” and featured Al B. Sure on “Black Tie, White Noise,” Bowie’s response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Nile Rodgers produced 1983’s “Let’s Dance,” the best-selling album of Bowie’s career.

In retrospect, it’s not odd at all that the man who burst onto the music scene as rock’s Space Oddity found a place on “Soul Train.” It didn’t matter that Bowie was white; the music was funky and original. He was influenced by black music, but what he made was unmistakably Bowie music. On the wretched occasion of his death from cancer at 69, I remember and celebrate his remarkable performance, on a Saturday morning, all those decades ago. As with everything he did, Bowie’s lanky, angular soul was a sound and a moment all his own. - Renée Graham