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Stevie Wonder is the epitome of soul.
She is and always will be the first lady of soul. Theres nobody who ever did it like her.
Somebody had to come along and do the format better than we were doing; that didnt happen. Nobody came along to take our place. And remember there wasnt the exposure back then for artists like you have today. Today youre going from Jay-Z and Eminem on 'Letterman' to 'Good Morning America' to The View to 'Oprah.' There are lots of places for singers to go now. Many of the stars we had didnt have any place else to go, except our show for the kind of music they were doing.
I dont know anybody who can define it. Its like trying to define hip-hop. You cant just call it black music. Maybe it will take a few more generations of music lovers to eventually define it.
In my neighborhood, it was all jazz for a while. Then we grew up into R&B and soul.
There were individuals at the time who were on the proverbial wish list, and before we had to wait too long, they decided to come in. Among the first were the Jackson 5. But we had to go after major people who were coming out of Chicago like the Chi-Lites and Curtis Mayfield. Jerry Butler helped me a lot in the early days to procure talent. Then Motown started to take notice and send people our way.
I went crazy. I was sending angry letters to every newspaper editorial board in the country. It was designed to step on Soul Train and destroy it. But di.. and I finally met up at ABC, and they agreed not to do it anymore. Its something I never talk about because I dont want to embarrass di.. Clark. He was very gifted at what he was doing. The only problem was that he was very white, and I thought it could be done another way.
I saw the general-market world, the white world. I felt that it was my mission to see to it that black talent had an opportunity to get national television exposure. We wanted to make each show evolve into a shocking moment.
I always felt a love for music, but I never got my nerve up enough to try a musical instrument in school.
I was never exposed to a great deal of racism, but the Chicago I grew up in was very, very segregated. If I went four blocks from my house, I was in a bad neighborhood where I might get my a.. handed to me by someone who was black. If I went a mile farther, I might get my a.. handed to me by someone who was white.
Whats funny is I really thought I would be handicapped in Los Angeles because the kids had a real wild way of dancing, whereas back in Chicago it was really more on the cool bop side. I looked at the California style and I said, 'This just isnt gonna work.' I was completely mistaken.
I've been accused of not being up on hip-hop or not being a fan of hip-hop, which was never true. If you had a following and you were charting in the major industry magazines Billboard, and before that Cash Box we had a commitment that 'Soul Train' was yours. And we lived up to that. We saw ourselves as a mirror of what black radio was doing.
You can bet your last money, it's gonna be a stone gas, honey!
Being Taken For Granted
Meaning Of Life
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