"We wish you love, peace . . . and soul!"
When it debuted in October 1971, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African Americans and the fashions and sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music. The brainchild of radio announcer Don Cornelius, who was the show's producer and host for decades, Soul Train featured a diverse range of stars, from James Brown and David Bowie to Gladys Knight and R. Kelly; from Marvin Gaye and Elton John to the New Kids on the Block, Stevie Wonder, and the Beastie Boys.
From acclaimed author and filmmaker Nelson George ("the most accomplished black music critic of his generation"—Washington Post Book World), The Hippest Trip in America tells the full story of this legendary pop-culture phenomenon. A landmark program in black music and culture, Soul Train, which premiered just seven years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, presented a positive image of black America—for black America—and became destination television every Saturday. It also enjoyed a wide crossover audience, and for years served as a cultural nexus for the entire nation. Famous dancers like Rosie Perez and Jody Watley, performers such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Barry White, and Don Cornelius himself all share their memories, offering insights into the show and its time—a period of extraordinary social and political change.
As pulsating and colorful as the show itself, The Hippest Trip in America is a vivid and vital portrait of a revered cultural institution—the longest-running syndicated program in television history—that has left an indelible mark on our national consciousness.