*Lots of bootleg “Soul Train” clips are floating around the Internet, but a new deal has been signed with Time Life for an official three-DVD release full of vintage performances from the long-running dance series.
Cornelius was never inclined to release an official DVD package, telling Reuters in 2008 that it was acceptable to leave money on the table.
But he sold the “Soul Train” franchise two months later for an undisclosed sum to multimedia firm Madvision Entertainment. Its three principals promptly declared it to be an undervalued franchise and set about to take full advantage of its worth.
The DVD package follows the release of a documentary that aired earlier this year on VH1. Plans are also underway to revive the annual Soul Train Music Awards, which ended their 22-year run in 2006 after being increasingly ignored by the African-American stars the event aimed to honor.
Cornelius, now 73, had little involvement with the DVD release, apart from sitting down for an interview that appears in the extras and fact-checking a press release.
The DVD focuses on the show’s heyday in the 1970s. Among the offerings: Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music,” Gaye’s “Distant Lover,” a Wonder medley of “My Cherie Amour,” “Sir Duke” and “I Wish,” and the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
Most of the acts lip-synched, but others like Brown and Barry White insisted on keeping it real. White brought along his orchestra for a segment that included “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” and “Love’s Theme.”
As he eases into retirement with his health intact, Cornelius is trying to revive a “Soul Train” movie after the project was dropped by Warner Bros, reports Reuters. He does not give much thought to his own legacy, and minimizes his role in the starmaking process.
“People constantly want to give me credit for making stars,” he said. “We never made anybody. We scratched each other’s backs. We didn’t make anybody’s career just because they got their first major exposure on ‘Soul Train.’ They were gonna be stars anyway.”