Soul Train is an American music variety show that was aired in syndication from 1971-2006. The show primarily featured performances by hip hop, soul and R&B artists, although gospel, disco and jazz artists have also appeared. The series was created by Don Cornelius. Soul Train premiered on WCIU-TV on August 17, 1970 as a live show airing weekday afternoons. After securing a sponsorship deal with Chicago-based retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co. The first episode of the show featured the Emotions, Jerry Butler, and the Chi-Lites as guests.
Cornelius was assisted by a local professional dancer Clinton Ghent, who appeared on early episodes before moving behind the scenes as a secondary host and producer.
The Johnson Products Company (Manufacturers of the Afro Sheen line of hair-care products) agreed to co-sponsor the program's expansion into national syndication, due to its immediate success.
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