The Best of Soul Train: A Music List

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A look at the top 10 songs of Soul Train history.


The Soul Train Music Awards is an annual music awards show that honors the best in African American music. The show was created by Don Cornelius, and first aired on October 2, 1987, on the Fox network.

The awards are given out in a variety of categories, including Best R&B/Soul Male Artist, Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Best R&B/Soul Group, Best Song of the Year, and more.

The Best of Soul Train: A Music List

The best of Soul Train provides a wide range of great music that can get people up and dancing. This list includes a variety of different genres, artists, and tracks that are sure to get people moving. From the classics to the modern hits, this list has it all.

The Temptations

The Temptations are an iconic Motown group that rose to fame in the 1960s. Their sound is a mix of R&B, pop, and soul that has made them one of the most successful groups of all time. The Temptations have had dozens of hit songs, many of which have become classics. Here are some of their best-known tracks:

– “My Girl”
– “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”
– “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”
– “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”
– “I Can’t Get Next to You”
– “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)”

Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye (/ɡeɪ/; born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He helped to shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist with a string of hits, including “Ain’t That Peculiar”, “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, and duet recordings with Mary Wells, Kim Weston, Diana Ross and Tammi Terrell. Gaye’s personal life was marked by drug addiction and marital problems; he was a victim of domestic violence committed by several of his wives.

After attempting suicide in 1979, Gaye’s father finally acknowledged his homosexuality. Marvin moved out of his parents’ house, but continued to struggle with his mental health and addiction issues. In 1981, he signed a contract with CBS Records; however, he was elements_footnote unhappy with the label’s refusal to allow him to produce his own material, feeling that they were not sufficiently supportive of his career. His last album for the label, In Our Lifetime (1981), was a commercial failure and CBS refused to release any further material from him.

On April 1, 1984—Gaye’s 45th birthday—he was fatally shot by his father at their home in Los Angeles after an argument regarding money that had been spent on parties during a visit by one of Gaye’s sisters. The shooting happened just one day before Radio That Changed Lives: The Story of Soul Train aired on PBS; it would go on to become one of the most successful music programs in American history. legacy has been kept alive through several tributes: In 2005, Gaye was posthumously inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame; in 2010, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2018 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Gladys Knight & the Pips

Gladys Knight & the Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia that remained active on the music charts and performing circuit for three decades. Starting out as a local nightclub act in the early 1960s, the group scored their first big hit with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” in 1967. The song went on to become a massive hit worldwide, and cemented their reputation as one of Motown’s premier acts. Over the next few years, Knight and the Pips would have a string of other hits including “If I Were Your Woman” (1970), “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” (1972), and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” (1974).

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, actress, and civil rights activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan where her father C. L. Franklin was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she embarked on a secular career, recording for Columbia Records but only achieving modest success. Following her signing to Atlantic Records in 1967, Franklin achieved commercial acclaim and succeeded in some of music’s most popular genres, including pop, R&B, rock n’ roll, soul and gospel. Throughout her career Aretha won a total of 18 Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Her hits include “Respect”, “Chain of Fools”, “Spanish Harlem”, “Day Dreaming”, and “Rock Steady”.

Al Green

Al Green is an American singer, songwriter and record producer best known for his work in the soul and R&B genres. Though he has been successful in a wide range of musical styles, Green is best known for his work in the gospel and soul genres. In the early 1970s, Green had a string of hits with songs like “Tired of Being Alone,” “Love and Happiness” and “Let’s Stay Together.” He has been nominated for nineteen Grammy Awards, winning eleven, and is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is a legendary musician whose work spans several genres, including R&B, pop, rock, and soul. He is best known for his hit singles “Superstition,” “Isn’t She Lovely,” and “I Wish,” among many others. Wonder has won 25 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most celebrated musical artists of all time.

The Spinners

The Spinners are an American rhythm and blues and soul group from Detroit, Michigan. The group’s greatest commercial success occurred during the 1970s. The core members included brothers Cornelius Grant (November 16, 1931 – March 11, 1999) and Pharmacist Robert “Bobby” Smith (January 27, 1928 – March 16, 2013), Henry Fambrough (June 19, 1930 – May 29, 2014), Pervis Jackson (July 26, 1929 – August 15, 2008), and lead singer James Edwards (September 2, 1936 – June 1, 2005). The group still tours today.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross, an American singer, songwriter, actress and record producer, rose to fame as the lead singer of the Supremes, becoming one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. Ross went on to have a successful solo career with hits like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “I’m Coming Out” and “Endless Love.” She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is widely considered the King of Pop, and his influence on soul music is undeniable. He released his first solo album, Off the Wall, in 1979. It included the hits “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You.” Jackson’s next album, Thriller, was released in 1982 and it quickly became the best-selling album of all time. It included the hits “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” Jackson’s final album, Bad, was released in 1987. It included the hits “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” ” BAD,” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.”


So there you have it, a list of some of the best Soul Train tracks of all time. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does represent some of the most influential and iconic Soul Train songs. If you’re a fan of Soul Train, or just good music in general, make sure to give these tracks a listen. You won’t be disappointed.

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