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Don Cornelius Honored At ‘Soul Train’ Annivesary Concert

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Don Cornelius is honored at the Soul Train 40th anniversary concert. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Don Cornelius was back in his hometown Monday, as Chicagoans gathered for a free concert to honor the 40th anniversary of “Soul Train.”

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, fans stretched all the way back to the far wall at Millennium Park for the concert at the Pritzker Pavilion.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Among the featured artists were the Chi-Lites, the Emotions, Gene Chandler of “Duke of Earl” fame, and Jerry Butler, who has been representing a South Side district on the Cook County Board for more than 20 years now but has never quit taking to the stage.

Teisha Smith was among the thousands of fans.

“You can relate to the songs back in the olden days versus some of the songs they’re making now,” she said, “because the rap music doesn’t have any relation to true meaning, you know, like the Chi-Lites, the O’Jays, Marvin Gaye.”

Soul Train Concert

Two women who attended the "Soul Train" 40th anniversary concert at Millennium Park. (Credit: Lisa Fielding/WBBM Newsradio)

Cornelius was presented with an honorary street sign emblazoned with his name and the “Soul Train” logo. It will grace the corner of Halsted and Madison streets, the current location of the studios for WCIU-Channel 26, where “Soul Train” began.

“This is the biggest thing that ever happened to me,” Cornelius said.

A screening of the documentary, “Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America” preceded the concert on Sunday.

Also in progress is a photo exhibit, mounted in the 72 E. Randolph St. building, where Hot Tix are sold.

Cornelius, a former police officer, started the local version of “Soul Train” on Aug. 17, 1970, at the tiny old WCIU studio at the Board of Trade building. The program moved to national syndication in October 1971, and production for program also moved to Los Angeles at that time.

The program aired on CBS 2 for a while in the 1970s before moving to WGN-Channel 9, where it was seen until its run ended in 2006.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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