RIP Don Cornelius; Philly bands on Soul Train - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

After hearing yesterday’s sad news regarding the passing of Don Cornelius, we thought we’d take this opportunity to take a look at some of the great Philly bands that were on Soul Train. The theme song for the show, “T.S.O.P,” recorded by MFSB with backing vocals by The Three Degrees was written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff; Gamble talked to NBC 10 Philadelphia about the impact of the show and the how the song “Love Train” came about:

I used to talk to Don two or three days a week and I used to tell him, ‘you need a theme song.’ We started playing around with some different melodies and that’s when we came up with “T.S.O.P.” (the Sound of Philadelphia), the Soul Train theme. Everybody knew that was a funky theme for him. It’s a track that’s known all over the world.

I wanted to name it the “Soul Train theme.” He said ‘I don’t want it to be named the “Soul Train Theme” because that’s my brand. I don’t want you guys to have my brand.’ I said ‘well, let’s call it “T.S.O.P.,” the Sound of Philadelphia and I’ll put down the subtitle “The Soul Train Theme.” So he agreed. Later on in life he said that was the dumbest move he’d ever made.{laughs} Because it really was the Soul Train theme.

When our artists played on “Soul Train” our sales shot through the roof. Every Saturday “Soul Train” was watched by millions and millions and millions of people. There was a time when you couldn’t get many rhythm and blues and African American artists on television. Of course “American Bandstand” was on every day. “American Bandstand” was a wonderful program here in Philadelphia but it didn’t really have a lot of emphasis on rhythm and blues and black artists. When Don Cornelius came along he specialized in exposing black artists that people had never seen before. I think that’s his legend. He contribute something to the American culture. Who could ever forget the Soul Train line? Who could ever forget Don Cornelius saying love peace and soul? He’s a legend. His contribution to American culture is unbelievable. It’s not just here in America, it’s all over the world…his legacy will go on and on for generations to come.

Definitely worth reading is this heartfelt tribute to Cornelius written by Questlove in which he says: “Soul Train to me is the GREATEST creation and inspiration of my life.”

Below, watch some classic sounds of Philly from Soul Train

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