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Must-See: The First Episode of 'Soul Train' Featuring Gladys Knight & The Pips

Gladys Knight and The Pips were featured on the first episode of "Soul Train" in 1971.

The first syndicated episode of “Soul Train” aired October 2, 1971, and featured a performance by Gladys Knight and The Pips singing “The Friendship Train.” Other performers on that memorable episode included Eddie Kendricks, The Honeycone and Bobby Hutton.

From there, “Soul Train” spent an amazing 35 years on television, with artists like The Jackson 5, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and more gracing its stage.

As we celebrate Don Cornelius’ life, here’s a look at the first time the show hit the national stage.