The 10 Greatest Soul Train Performances of All Time

An incredible journey through one of the most soulful and prolific eras in American music, through the lens of a landmark television experience.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

The 10 Greatest Soul Train Performances

When “Soul Train” creator and host Don Cornelius passed away, the world has lost a legendary conduit for cultural enhancement through R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, Doo-Wop, Pop and beyond.

“Soul Train,” which Cornelius hosted until 1993, changed the landscape of television on its debut in 1971, and ran until 2006 with massive influence and success around the globe, helping to launch names as illustrious as James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson. 

The show ran for 35 seasons, making it the longest continuously airing first-run syndicated television program. It’s been referenced across the cultural spectrum, from song lyrics to films and TV shows. Countless acts – many of which went on to become icons in their own right – performed on the show and credited Soul Train as a crucial element of their success. 

In tribute, CraveOnline has compiled a collection of the 10 Greatest Soul Train Moments of all time. Running through the list, from Al Green to Stevie Wonder to Elton John, Aretha, Tina Turner and beyond, we’re reminded of just how incredible the musical ecosystem of the 1970s was.

 

James Brown – Get On The Good Foot, Soul Power, Make It Funky (1973)

 

Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (1972)

 

Al Green – Here I Am (1974) 

 

Ike & Tina Turner – I Want To Take You Higher (1971)

 

Run DMC – Hit it Run (1986)

 

Stevie Wonder – Superstition (1972)

 

Elton John – Benny And The Jets (1975)

 

The Commodores – Three Times a Lady (1979)

 

Jackson 5 – Dancing Machine (1973)

 

Cornelius dances in the Soul Train Line with Mary Wilson of the Supremes