It would be easy to tell the story of Soul Train with facts and figures. It ran for 35 seasons, making it the longest continuously airing first-run syndicated television program. It's been referenced in many song lyrics, films and TV shows. Countless R&B and soul acts performed on the show and credited Soul Train as a crucial element of their success.
But the show's impact on America's collective cultural identity is best described by the people who watched it and let it shape their musical sensibilities. While the show's audience was always primarily African-American, Soul Train was also a cross-cultural hit. Seems we all wanted to check out the latest moves and fashions from that in-studio dance floor.
Watching a new DVD compilation titled The Best of Soul Train, it's hard not to be struck by the time-capsule-like effect of the fashion — an experience similar to looking at photos of our high-school years and cringing at how cool we thought we looked.
Fashion aside, though, music is the star of this show, and there is plenty to appreciate. So pull back the rug in the living room, call some friends and get your own Soul Train Line going, because this DVD contains classic performances by countless favorites in their prime.
We've pulled aside four of our favorite videos here. Please leave us your own Soul Train memories in the comments section below.