The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style

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HarperCollins, Mar 25, 2014 - History - 256 pages
3 Reviews

An authoritative history of the groundbreaking syndicated television show that has become an icon of American pop culture, from acclaimed author and filmmaker Nelson George, “the most accomplished black music critic of his generation” (Washington Post Book World).

When it debuted in October 1971, seven years after the Civil Rights Act, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African-Americans and the sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music. The brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius, the show’s producer and host, Soul Train featured a diverse range of stars, from James Brown and David Bowie to Christine Aguilera and R. Kelly; Marvin Gaye and Elton John to the New Kids on the Block and Stevie Wonder.

The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this pop culture phenomenon that appealed not only to blacks, but to a wide crossover audience as well. Famous dancers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, performers such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Barry White, and Cornelius himself share their memories, offering insights into the show and its time—a period of extraordinary social and political change. Colorful and pulsating, The Hippest Trip In America is a fascinating portrait of a revered cultural institution that has left an indelible mark on our national consciousness.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mlake - LibraryThing

This was a wonderful glimpse into the world if Soul Train. I am amazed by how many people were influenced by this iconic show. I supplemented reading this book with watching the Best of Soul Train DVDs we have at the library and it brought the whole Soul Train world to life for me. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - noblechicken - LibraryThing

Soul Train and Don Cornelius are an epoch in 20th century African American culture. Don's mission to bring the fantastic funk and soul music of the era to the public his way is a landmark importance ... Read full review

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About the author (2014)

Nelson George has written several classic black music histories, including Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound, The Death of Rhythm & Blues, and Hip Hop America. He also coedited The James Brown Reader: 50 Years of Writing About the Godfather of Soul. His most recent novel is The Plot Against Hip Hop. He has also contributed articles to the New York Times. George directed the HBO film Life Support as well as the VH1 documentary Finding the Funk.

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