'Soul Train': Don Cornelius remembered by Kenneth Gamble
Don Cornelius passed away on February 1st from a gunshot wound to the head. The host of "Soul Train" is being remembered by music legend Kenneth Gamble. "I'm sad to hear of his passing. He was such a wonderful person and an American icon," he said. Gamble, along with partners Leon Huff and Thom Bell, was responsible for discovering and nurturing numerous R&B and soul performers while running their Philadelphia International Records label in the 1970s and '80s. Gamble remembers his friend Cornelius in an interview with the LA Times
He talks about what the show did for the African American community. "Don Cornelius' 'Soul Train' made a great contribution to American culture. It came directly from the African American community. It was more than TV dance show; it was a source of pride and dignity for African American community. There were hardly any venues at that time, especially on TV, that would give African American artists any exposure, including '[American] Bandstand.'"
"'Soul Train' not only became a community -- something that gave the African American community a lot of pride -- but it became a strong economic engine for the total music industry," he continues. "It got so popular that artists like Elton John and David Bowie and the Bee Gees wanted to be on 'Soul Train.' By that time it had gone far beyond the color barrier this country has embraced for so long."
"It was a moment in time," he says. "A moment that comes around every now and then, when someone has a vision. Don Cornelius had a vision and the talent to put together an idea that was timely and able to capture the imagination of the whole world."
He concludes, "He was a great man, a humble man, and a very giving man. I pray for him. When I think of him, I think of fun times. Those were fun times in America."