Being a musical variety show with a 35-year history, it only makes sense that the show had a lot of original theme songs.
For now, let’s just list the official theme songs used from 1971-2006.
- 1971-1973: “Hot Potatoes”, by King Curtis, and later redone by the Rimshots.
- 1973-1975: “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)”, composed by Gamble and Huff and recorded by Philadelphia soul studio group MFSB with vocals by The Three Degrees. Released as a single, this song became a pop and R&B radio hit in 1974.
- 1975-1976: “Soul Train ’75”, by the The Soul Train Gang, which was later released as a single for the newly formed Soul Train Records.
- 1976-1978: “Soul Train ’76 (Get on Board)”, also by The Soul Train Gang.
- 1978-1980: ‘”Soul Train Theme ’79”, produced by the Hollywood Disco Jazz Band with vocals by the Waters.
- 1980-1983: “Up on Soul Train”, first by the Waters and later by the Whispers, whose version appears in their 1980 album Imagination.
- 1983-1987: “Soul Train’s a Comin'”, by R&B artist O’Bryan.
- 1987-1989: “TSOP ’87”, a remake of the original “TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)”, composed and produced by George Duke.
- 1989-1993: “TSOP ’89”, a remixed version of “TSOP ’87”, also by George Duke.
- 1993-1999: “Soul Train ’93” (Know You Like to Dance)”, by the hip-hop group Naughty by Nature with a saxophone solo by Everette Harp.
- 1999-2006: “TSOP 2000”, with rap vocals by hip hop artist Samson and music by Dr. Freeze, and again featuring an Everett Harp saxophone solo. However, a portion of “Know You Like to Dance” was still used in the show’s second-half opening segment during this period.
Fine, I just copied that from Wikipedia, so let’s just add a little more information.
- The opening “longest-running, first-run, nationally-syndicated program in television history,” was voiced by Sid McCoy.
- FBI Special Agent Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds (Shemar Moore) was the third permanent host of Soul Train (1999-2003).
…will add more Soul Train tidbits in the future.
Below is a complete opening sequence of the show.