Earlier this week, Don Cornelius, the beloved host and creator of Soul Train, chose the Gunter Sachs method of treating Alzheimer’s disease: he shot himself in the head. Though terribly sad, it’s not at all surprising that men like Cornelius and Sachs—both unceasingly proud and dignified individuals who lived fairy-tale lives—opted to stare down the barrel of a shotgun rather than the dim, tapering tunnel of dementia.
Many under the age of 30 had likely never heard of Mr. Cornelius before this week, since his 22-year tenure as tour guide on “The Hippest Trip in America” ended in 1993. But any fans of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Run-DMC or countless other artists whose careers began on Soul Train owe a healthy bit of gratitude to Don Cornelius.
While this must have netted the Don a pretty penny, we’re more interested in what it means for the show’s archives, a time capsule of some of the best funk and soul of the 70s, along with some of the worst jumpsuits. From the Jackson 5 (above) to Stevie Wonder and Sly & the Family Stone, we can’t think of another 70s television artifact that deserves DVD canonization more.
As always, Kempt wishes you love, peace, and soul.