Before the Moonwalk, before breakdancing, there was a dance move that helped serve as the basis and roots of steet dancing as well as freestyle, hip-hop dancing and the breakdance revolution in general. The dance move was called the Campbell Lock or as it became commonly known, locking. Locking started out as a dance step before Soul Train came into existence, but in the 40 plus years since its birth, it has become a national movement and a phenomenon all around the world. To this day, there are kids, teens and adults in many countries who have learned and are still learning how to do this amazing dance step.
Over the years, many people have falsely laid claim to being the one who created this movement, but there is only one creator, originator, inventor, master and innovator of locking. He is the one and only Don Campbell.
Soultrain.com: Don, I am privileged and honored to have you do this interview with Soultrain.com. Was dancing something you always wanted to do? Was that your passion growing up?
Don Campbell: When I was growing up, I wanted to do something positive with my life and to be a positive influence on someone. I never got involved with gangs and stuff like that. I just wasn’t that type of kid. I avoided the streets. I lived around the element but I would avoid problems. I was at home all the time and I loved to draw as a child.
Soultrain.com: So drawing was your first love?
Don Campbell: Yes. I was the kind of kid that could have fun on his own by picking up a pencil and drawing. I would do lots of sketches. I loved to sketch toy army soldiers. I would also ask my mom and brothers to model for me and I would even look in the mirror and start sketching my face and hand, doing my own self-portraits. I was so good that I went to the famous art schools, Otis Art Institute and Chouinard’s. Those are top ranked art schools in Los Angeles.
Soultrain.com: So you basically were sort of an introvert and became immersed in drawing?
Don Campbell: That’s right. I wanted to be an artist. My mom always thought I was going to be a famous artist. Everything was going that way until I went to college.
Soultrain.com: What college did you attend?
Don Campbell: I went to Trade Tech College in downtown Los Angeles for commercial arts. During lunch period, I would carry my sketch pad around and I’d sketch people for five or ten bucks. As far as dancing, I didn’t dance until I attended college.
Soultrain.com: So how did the locking phenomenon begin?
Don Campbell: I give credit to a guy named Sam Williams. He got me out of my shell. I first met him at Trade Tech in the cafeteria. He and his friends would be sitting by the jukebox jamming and partying. Whenever I would go to the cafeteria, I would be just sketching. One day when I was drawing, Sam was looking over at me and walked over to see what I was drawing and said I was pretty good. He then invited me to come over and sit with him and his friends. So I started sitting with them and watched what they were doing. I had never been around people that could dance.
Sam and his friends were real hip people and lively and so smooth. I had so much fun hanging with them. At that time, the big dance craze was the funky chicken and Sam was the baddest funky chicken in the world [laughs]! He would have everyone jumping. I had seen him on a local show in Los Angeles called Boss City, doing the funky chicken. He was real bad. He would try to show me some of the moves he would do and I wasn’t very good but he would say, “You’re alright, you’re alright.” As he was teaching me, I would just lock my hands and tighten up my shoulders.
Soultrain.com: So what you just described is a part of the basics of locking.
Don Campbell: Locking is not really freezing. It’s like you lock, stop and then continue. So this was what I would do around Sam and his friends. Sam would say, “Do that again, do that lock, lock your hands! That’s cool! That’s a bad move!”
Soultrain.com: When did you start locking in clubs?
Don Campbell: Once I got known around college for my dancing, I asked Sam where he went to dance in dance contests and he told me about a place in downtown Los Angeles which was like a ballroom. This was the first time I ever went to a club and I was real shy. I just brought my sketchpad with me and went upstairs to watch Sam, his buddy Sweet T, and their girlfriends dance. Another girl was with them who was mad that her partner hadn’t arrived yet. Sam saw me and waved to me to come downstairs. He kept encouraging me to go out on the dance floor. He said, “Campbell, just get on up and dance.” The music came on and about 25 couples were on the dance floor, then the music would stop and couples would be pulled off the floor. Eventually 20 couples were pulled off the floor and I was still on the floor. I was the happiest man in the world! Sam and his partner won first place and Sweet T and his partner won second, and another couple won third. Even though I didn’t win this time, I was just glad to remain on the floor after 20 couples were pulled off before me. If it weren’t for Sam, I would have never gotten up on the dance floor. So right after that, I would ask Sam and Sweet T when and where was the next dance contest going to be.
Soultrain.com: Maverick’s Flat was another club in Los Angeles where you won dance contests.
Don Campbell: Yes. It was located close by Fox Hills where a lot of rich black people lived. This was where The Commodores, Chaka Khan, Richard Pryor and a lot of others performed when they were starting out. But I was just there to participate in the dance contests.
Soultrain.com: So dancing at these clubs and in these dance contests was a way for you to break out of your shyness?
Don Campbell: Absolutely. Remember, I was a quiet kid. But when Sam Williams invited me out I got more confident. When I started going to clubs and dancing, people would laugh at me. But after a while I didn’t care. I was just proud of getting out on the floor and I wasn’t shy no more. I was around people that were fun to be around. Sam and Sweet T were the nicest people in the world. After a while, people were wondering what kind of dance I was doing. Before that I was never popular. But once I became popular, everyone knew me and all the girls that could dance always wanted to dance with me.
Soultrain.com: Hence, you became very well known around Los Angeles and all the clubs.
Don Campbell: Let me tell you how popular I became. I started getting so popular, other people couldn’t win dance contests. I won so many dance contests at the Climax that the owner of the club paid me fifty bucks to stay out of one contest so that other people could win. I loved competition. As soon as I went to the club, Campbell Lock would go straight to the dance floor. I wanted everyone to know I was in the house. If the dance contest started at 12 and I got there at 10, I was on the floor until a quarter to three. I had confidence. During those dance contests, I would say, “Bring it!”
Soultrain.com: At this time, were you still doing sketches and continuing your art?
Don Campbell: No. The only downside during that time was that I stopped drawing.
Soultrain.com: Did you ever practice doing your locking routines?
Don Campbell: People would always ask me if I ever practiced but I never had time to practice because I was dancing all the time. I just took this little dance move and kept extending it. I never had to practice because I was always on the spot at the clubs. I was the kind of dancer that danced wherever the crowd was. I would jump on the floor, in the air, on tables, on stages and smack the floor and do splits. I was spontaneous combustion!
Soultrain.com: I interviewed your good friend Jimmy “Scoo B Doo” Foster, another legendary ex-Soul Train dancer, in 2011, and he told me that he also had two left feet when it came to dancing but when he saw what you were doing at the club with all of these upper body movements, he was really intrigued by it.
Don Campbell: I first met Scoo B in 1970. He was a loner like me. He was the first person to lock after I started doing it. He was never a part of the Lockers, but he was with me before the Lockers. He began to combine his own dance steps such as the Scoo B Doo, the Scoo-Bot and the Scoo B Kick with locking. When he came out of seclusion years later, I told him I’ve been traveling abroad teaching locking. So I would go on the Internet and tell people about him and I began hooking him up and he started getting work and now, like me, he is teaching dance classes all around the world.
Soultrain.com: When did you first realize you were starting to become famous?
Don Campbell: I was at Mavericks Flat and two or three people came dressed like me with knickers, striped socks, apple caps and criss crossed suspenders. The first time I saw them doing this, I didn’t like it. They would be in the dance contest and they would go on before me and they would dance like me and were dressed like me but after a while I didn’t care because when it was my turn, I came up with something new and topped what they did. I did some things most people wouldn’t try like sliding under tables, jumping in the air, locking and splitting. I would do whatever was necessary to win.
Soultrain.com: So you started the trend of wearing the type of outfits and styles that all of the Lockers would eventually wear?
Don Campbell: Actually Sam Williams was an influence on me with his dress style. Sam wore necklaces and suspenders, but he he didn’t criss-cross his suspenders like I did. Sam would also wear apple caps. So I dressed similar, but I would criss-cross my suspenders. He would also wear marshmallow, cork type shoes which came in different colors. I would buy long striped socks as well as knee pads to protect my knees when I was dancing. When you’re young you can take a lot of pain, but I had to change things when I got older!
Soultrain.com: Tell us about your first meeting with Damita Jo Freeman that night.
Don Campbell: I was on the floor locking and Damita was there with some of her girlfriends and she was giving me this shifty-eyed look. I slid over towards where she was and pointed at her and she jumped and got scared and I started pointing at everyone. We later met and we won the $100 dance contest that night. That was the first time I met her. I didn’t know her before.
Soultrain.com: How did you become a Soul Train dancer?
Don Campbell: An audition was held for this new show called Soul Train. The show’s coordinator was Pam Brown and she had heard about my popularity at the clubs. I was known as Campbell Lock before I went to Soul Train and before I met Damita. I was Campbell Lock in the clubs and on the street long before Soul Train. So I asked Damita to come down to Soul Train with me. The show had a dance contest every week and if you won, you got to stay on and compete in the finals. Damita and I won the contest our first weekend on the show.
Soultrain.com: You became so popular with your dancing you even had a record named after your dance, the “Campbell Lock.” How did that come about?
Don Campbell: Before the Lockers dance group, a guy named Sonny Craver saw my dance and thought it was a phenomenon like The Twist. Also back during that time, I sang. I would go to clubs and sing Wilson Pickett songs. So I worked with Sonny and he was the first person I hooked up with to promote me as a singer/dancer. He wanted to put my voice on record to promote my dance step. So he got the music together and I sang on the record. He took the record and tried to get the record on Motown or Stax but he got it on a small independent record label. Sonny told me he was going to try and push the record so he went out on the road to radio stations to get them to play it. In the meantime, I didn’t hear from him for two or three months, but my record started getting a lot of airplay on KGFJ radio station in Los Angeles and it became very popular locally.
Soultrain.com: So the record didn’t get pushed any wider nationally?
Don Campbell: No. While Sonny was gone, Toni Basil came in my life and became my manager. When Sonny came back, he was mad that Toni was my manager but she was helping to promote my dancing. Unfortunately, I never made a dime off the record. Some years later, when I formed my dance group The Campbell Lockers, I received a legal letter which claimed he owned the name Campbell Lockers, so from that time on the dance group was called The Lockers.
Soultrain.com: When did you two first meet Toni Basil?
Don Campbell: I met her at the Citadel club. Most people think she was a part of The Lockers, but she didn’t dance in the group when it first started. She was my manager then. To this day, Toni and I are the best of friends. I owe Toni everything. From day one, she would stand up for me all the time. She knew the connections and promoted me. She was in the business since she was a kid traveling with her dad, who used to be the orchestra leader at the Harrah’s in Las Vegas for years. She would take me to a lot of movie stars’ houses and I would have my boom box and she would sit the boom box down, turn the music on and I started locking it up.This is how I started getting work.
Soultrain.com: Getting back to your days of dancing on Soul Train, what was that experience like for you since you were already well renown in clubs in L.A. and now here you were on this new popular dance show?
Don Campbell: When I first came on Soul Train, all the big star artists like James Brown didn’t come in the beginning, so the dancers were heavily featured. The cameras would be on the people that would really get down. So when the camera was focused on me, I would be doing all I could do, doing all the things I was doing in the clubs. It was good to watch yourself on TV every week. That’s why Soul Train was so popular in the early days, because the kids would really get down. Going down the Soul Train Line was the biggest thing.
Soultrain.com: You were a part of the Soul Train road tours which included The Whispers, The Sylvers, The Moments and others. What was that experience like for you?
Don Campbell: When we went to North Carolina, our first show we did on the road, half of the kids in the audience were dressed like me. That was another sign that I knew I was getting popular.
It was also the world for me to travel with entertainers. They would talk to you and tell you about life. Walter and Scotty from The Whispers were real cool. They would just talk to me straight up and also tell me things about the entertainment business. One time I remember they told me certain recording artists and groups had salaries. I thought artists like that were rich, but they were on salaries. It sounded like they were ripped off. People in the business would try to pay them as little as they could.
Soultrain.com: There was a story that you actually got kicked off Soul Train. Is that true?
Don Campbell: This is what happened. At this time, I started getting more popular from my locking on the show. At the time Soul Train didn’t have white dancers on the show so Toni Basil wanted to come on the show. She really wanted to be the first white girl to dance on Soul Train. I was kind of leery but I told her to come go with me. She never got on the dance floor but just stayed back. Later, when there was a break during the show, Don Cornelius saw Toni and started talking to her. Toni told Don that Soul Train was just as good as American Bandstand and that the only difference was that locking wasn’t done on Bandstand. Toni was just trying to promote me, but Don took offense to that. The next thing I knew at the next taping, I came to the front entrance of the gate like always and the guard stopped me and said I was not allowed to come in anymore. I didn’t do anything. What hurt the most was that all the other dancers were going in and most of them were smiling at me like they were glad to see me off the show because of my popularity. Don took offense that Toni was trying to get me a paid job on the show due to my locking becoming popular. After I was kicked off, Don made it a rule that there was to be no more locking done on the show. Some of the only ones who he would let do it included Scoo B Doo, Damita and a few others.
Soultrain.com: Was this when you formed The Lockers dance group?
Don Campbell: Yes. After I got kicked off the show, Toni told me to get some dancers to form a dance group. I asked her if she would manage me and she said she would do it. I went back down to the Climax and the other clubs to find all the baddest guys that did my style of dance and I saw Fluky Luke, Campbell Lock Jr., Shabba Doo, Fred “Penguin” Berry and Slim The Robot, and asked them all to join me in my dance group The Campbell Lock dancers. In hindsight, if I didn’t get kicked off of Soul Train, I never would have had a dance group.
Soultrain.com: All of the Lockers were dynamic, but Fred Berry was a real standout.
Don Campbell: Fred and I were real good friends. We hit it off right off the bat. We met at Maverick’s Flat. He was a real quiet kid who didn’t really dance. He started getting into dancing after seeing me dance.
Soultrain.com: How do you feel that a dance group you named after your dance became such a phenomenon around the world?
Don Campbell: We were the first ones to cut that color line with street dancers. Street dancers were not being hired. Ballet dancers and jazz dancers were being hired. I asked Toni to join the group since she knew the steps and then Shabba Doo, who was Hispanic, came in and they couldn’t call us just a soul group anymore. In the seventies it was hard to get on the big TV shows, but then we began doing Dinah Shore, Carol Burnett, Midnight Special, TV specials like the Roberta Flack special and Doris Day special and we broke that color line. We even did Johnny Carson twice.
Soultrain.com: It must have been an honor when The Lockers went back to perform on Soul Train as paid professionals.
Don Campbell: Don Cornelius brought us back to his show twice. When Don saw me and the group on all these TV shows and going to Vegas and around the world, he called Toni up and booked us on Soul Train. When I went back on the show, remembering the day all of those dancers were laughing at me when I got kicked off, I was feeling so good. The greatest day I went on Soul Train was the day they brought me back. We had our own dressing room. On the door was the Campbell Lock Dancers. I had tears in my eyes. We were finally getting paid. Each one of us got paid about $600. That was the first time I ever got paid on Soul Train, aside from the dance contest. I was so excited. The first time we went back we were The Campbell Lockers and the second time we were just called The Fabulous Lockers. When we were doing a lot of TV shows and traveling the world, there were other dancers on Soul Train who quit and formed their own dance groups, like Something Special and The Dancing Machine.
Soultrain.com: When Don Cornelius interviewed you, he said that the program’s dance coordinator, Pam Brown, was the one who put you off the show. Is that true?
Don Campbell: He put it all on Pam, but that wasn’t true at all. Pam did not kick me off the show.
Soultrain.com: The Lockers also had the privilege of performing at the MGM Grand Hotel.
Don Campbell: Ours was the first dance act to perform at the MGM Grand Hotel when it first opened. We were the opening act for Roger Miller and Pat Cooper.
SoulTrain.com: The Lockers even performed with Frank Sinatra.
Don Campbell: Yes, at Carnegie Hall and the Chicago Stadium. He was really nice to us. Toni just told Frank’s manager about us. Frank invited us to his room at the end of his concert. He knew Toni Basil and her dad–that’s how the Lockers got the job at MGM. Toni just told Frank’s manager about us. Toni was also Bette Midler’s choreographer for years.
Soultrain.com: When The Lockers performed on the Grammy Awards with the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, you guys were literally all over the stage and audience!
Don Campbell: We were just all so free. We didn’t really rehearse. I was never a professional dancer per se and counting 1, 2, 3, etc…I was like “give me five, step to the side.” When I heard the drums and the horns in the songs, I knew what to do. Black people are just talented. That’s why when Toni asked me to teach her my style of dance, I couldn’t. I just told her to start coming to the clubs with me. Back in the seventies, there were no dance classes. The dance classes were wherever you went out to dance and you just picked up on what the others were doing.
Soultrain.com: You appeared in the first episode of the TV show What’s Happening in a house party scene and all of you appeared in the hilarious fourth episode as a dance group called The Rockets. How did that come about?
Don Campbell: Fred Berry got us on his show. At first, we were told we were going to be cast as a street gang that danced. But then the producers hired Fred Berry only. We thought we were going to be a part of the show as regulars. But the format of the show had changed. This was when Fred Berry left the group. I wished him luck and we added another guy that locked, Toni Go-Go. Fred was still able to get us to make an appearance on the program.
Soultrain.com: Why did the Lockers break up?
Don Campbell: It was around the time we appeared on the Dick Van Dyke variety show. We had just been voted dancing stars of the year. One day, two of the Lockers came up to me and said they wanted Shabba Doo to be the leader of the group. This was when the group began to break up. Toni Basil also left around this time to focus on her own career.
Soultrain.com: What did you do professionally after The Lockers broke up?
Don Campbell: I became a Chippendale dancer. I was one of the club’s original Chippendale dancers. I used to win dance contests at the club when it was known as Destiny II. The owner of the club, Somen Banerjee, told me he was thinking of changing the club to a male exotic dance club and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it but I was wary. He told me the dancers wouldn’t be nude, but would be wearing briefs. Eventually, I did it but the first time I danced at the club, I wore boxing trunks and rolled them up! I was shy about it at first. But after a while I got used to it and started wearing bikini briefs. Eventually, it was so much fun. I even developed characters for my stage act.
Soultrain.com; What were the characters?
Don Campbell: One was King Ding-A-Ling, an Egyptian King. I would wear an Egyptian outfit. I would come out and then take the outfit off and I would have a bell on my briefs while dancing to the song “Ring My Bell.” I would be locking but then I slowed it down to do more exotic dancing. My second act was Sergeant Flipper, where I would dance to the TV theme song of the show “Flipper.” My third act was Cock Robin, in which I would dress like a pimp in a big hat and three piece suit. I was sharp! The girls would drop money in my briefs during my performances. I was the only black Chippendale dancer until I left and Scoo B Doo took my place.
I decided to leave Chippendales after six months because the tips were great, but the pay wasn’t. So I told Somen I love Chippendales but I had a family to support. He understood and he wished me luck so I left and went to do other male exotic dancing at other clubs.
Soultrain.com: How did you get back into locking?
Don Campbell: My son Dennis would be going to the clubs and he would see a lot of dancers doing my dance. This was when a lot of people got it mixed up of where the dance came from and certain people started saying different things like they were the creators of locking. So my son told me that I needed to go back to the clubs. So I started going back to the circuit in Los Angeles and that’s when I got my popularity going back with locking.
Soultrain.com: Being that you are one of the all time greatest dancers, did you ever meet Michael Jackson, who is considered to be the greatest dancer and entertainer of all time?
Don Campbell: I met him when he was doing the “2Bad” video. This was a video like “Thriller,” and he wanted some of The Lockers to be in it. He hired me, Shabba Doo and Fluky Luke. The set was on an airplane hanger in San Fernando Valley, which was built like a haunted house. Michael wanted us to come out of a chimney like ghosts or spooks. We had top hats on and our locker-style outfits. Everyday I would go to the set and it would take an hour to get in make up. One day, Michael shook my hand and bowed down in front of me and told me that he had tapes of all of my performances, everything I’ve done. He was praising me like I was the star! He also greeted and shook the other Lockers’ hands and then he walked onto the set.
Soultrain.com: That must have been very gratifying to you that the King of Pop told you that your dancing was an influence on him.
Don Campbell: I didn’t know he was really interested in me personally. I had never met him before. I was overwhelmed that he knew of me. I was shocked. That was the luckiest thing in the world to meet him and shake his hand.
I also brought my daughter to see the set. Michael’s mom came to where we were sitting and she sat with my daughter during the production. That was a humbling experience. Mrs. Jackson was one of the nicest people I ever met. My daughter still remembers that.
Soultrain.com: I remember at the first Soul Train Gang reunion in 1997, you received an award for being the inventor of the Lock. How did you feel receiving an award from your peers from Soul Train? That must have been an honor.
Don Campbell: It was humbling to be in front of the people you danced on Soul Train with when all of us had the same dreams. We were some of the first black people to be on TV on a dance show. So to get an award from my peers it was like they remembered me. It was a humbling experience for me. It was wonderful.
Soultrain.com: Tell us when you met your wife, who, it goes without saying, is your rock.
Don Campbell: I met my wife Mary Ann at a club called Pier 7 in San Fernando Valley in 1972. I asked her if she would dance with me. She’s Italian and she could dance like a sister! We won the dance contest and exchanged numbers and the rest is history.
Soultrain.com: The death of your friend and former Locker Greg Pope, aka Campbell Lock Jr., in 2010 was very tragic. Would you like to talk about that?
Don Campbell: When Greg died, all of the Lockers were at a club getting an award. This was the first time all of the Lockers got back together. I was probably the last one that spoke to Greg before he took his last breath. We were all waiting for a certain time to get our award. Around midnight, Greg had to use the bathroom. In a short while, someone came to me and told me that Greg hurt himself and hit his head so I got up to check on Greg. His eye was swollen and he had a big bump on his head. I kept telling him to go to the doctor but he didn’t want to go because he wanted to stay and receive the award. Five minutes after that, he got up, made a gargle and fell down to the ground. The ambulance took him to the hospital. The next morning, Toni called me and told me Greg never recovered. He died. I couldn’t believe it.
Soultrain.com: You are also a recent survivor of prostate cancer. Tell us about that situation.
Don Campbell: I had localized prostate cancer. I was at home and I just felt tired and had no energy and didn’t know why I wasn’t motivated, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. So I went to the doctor and he told me I had localized prostate cancer in its early stages. He gave me two choices. He told me if my weight was down, he would advise me to get an operation. The other choice was getting nine week radiation therapy and getting rid of this cancer since it’s just in its early stages. So I took the second option. I called my wife and we set it up and I got the nine week treatment. So when I went for follow up tests and checkups, they saw the cancer was all gone. The only side effect is that you won’t feel stronger. After I would workout at the gym, I had no energy and I didn’t feel stronger. It’s tough, but I am going to continue to get there.
Soultrain.com: You’ve been teaching dance classes for a number of years. What is the basic setup of your classes?
Don Campbell: During my classes, I show the basics of the move. Locking is based on the creativity of the individual. Once you learn the lock dance that I do, you put yourself into it. If you got moves where you have some turns and spins and other moves you like to do, it works real good with a person that is very creative. Once you get the dance down, everything else will flow out of you. That’s why certain dancers that do my dance are popular like Scoo B Doo who would incorporate locking by kicking his legs high. Fluky Luke was double jointed and limber so when he would do the lock he would always combine his own style with it. Slim the Robot would add roboting to his locking. That’s what makes the dance work, adding your own flavor to it. That’s what it takes, dancers that are very free that don’t like to follow. Locking is not a dance you follow. To me, the foundation is you just have to learn the lock and how I did it. Without the lock, all of the other kinds of moves done with it won’t work
Dancing has made me able to go all around the world to places like China, Japan, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. I am booked to go to Taiwan in April. I’m going to tell you a story you will not believe that brought tears to my eyes. I was in St. Petersburg, Russia and I got to take my oldest son Dennis, who locks also, with me. My son was going to teach the dance classes and I was mostly telling the history and teaching the basics of locking. We were in a big dome like the Los Angeles Forum and I was upstairs sitting next to the guy that brought me to St. Petersburg. He started to cry and I asked him what was wrong. He said fifteen years earlier, people couldn’t dance the way they wanted to dance in Russia and here I was, teaching Russian kids to be free, to dance the way they wanted to dance. This was a Communist country and people did what they were told, and now Russia is opening up. I felt so humble to be told that I was teaching kids to be free with their dancing. Back at that time, you had to be invited to go over there. But I was treated like a king the whole time I was there. This same gentleman was carrying my bags when I got off the plane. When I got to the hotel, I found out he actually owned the hotel. It wasn’t a color thing over there, you were just respected as an artist.
Soultrain.com: This is a testament to what you and your style of dancing means to multitudes of people.
Don Campbell: It was a humbling experience going to places like that. When I went to Brazil, I enjoyed the kids and the people. Those kids could dance their booties off! I have also seen kids locking in China and Japan. There are great dancers all over the world.
Soultrain.com: Since Sam Williams was instrumental in helping you ultimately become the legend you are now, do you keep in touch with him?
Don Campbell: Everywhere I go around the world, I tell people about Sam Williams, but I lost contact with him. Some years ago, I was over at my dad’s house and there was a guy on a ladder painting a house around the corner. I said, “Sam, is that you?” It was him. We started talking and he said, “Don, I tell everybody when and how we met and nobody believes me.” I told him everywhere I go around the world I tell people about him.
Soultrain.com: We lost Don Cornelius tragically last year. What would you like to say in his memory?
Don Campbell: He was the first one to put me on the big stage that got the world to see what Campbell Locking was and it started me on my success. I will forever be in his gratitude and I thank him for having me on his show. I loved dancing on Soul Train. It was a wonderful ride.
To the rest of the Soul Train Gang, love, peace and soul.
- Stephen McMillan
Stephen McMillian is a journalist, writer, actor, filmmaker, former Soul Train dancer, Soul Train historian and soul music historian.