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Rhythm & Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular
Reunites Legendary Performers on National Broadcast

Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular is an
all-new music program from WQED Pittsburgh, producers of the American Soundtrack series of all-star concerts.

This show brings together legendary artists of the 1960s and 1970s for a once-in-a-lifetime event: Ben E. King returning to The Drifters, Jerry Butler reuniting with The Impressions for the first time since 1958, The Miracles rejoined by Billy Griffin, as well as The Isley Brothers, Percy Sledge, Eddie Holman, Little Anthony & The Imperials, The Chi-Lites and many more performers singing their most memorable hits, rhythm & blues and soul classics from the '60s and '70s.


Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick

Dionne Warwick/
Jerry Butler

The Temptations

Click to view or
download photos
(300 dpi JPGs; print size appr. 5 x 7).
Photo credit: WQED/Blaine Stiger.

The Temptations

In salute to several more of the greatest artists of the time, Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular also broadcasts rarely seen footage of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, James Brown, and others, performing some of their most unforgettable hits.

The program is co-hosted by Dionne Warwick, Jerry "The Iceman" Butler, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave, each of whom also performs, and Richard "Shaft" Roundtree and was taped before live audiences at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's downtown cultural district on November 26 and 27, 2001.

"This is the only record we have and we're trying get them recorded before it's too late, most performers are in their sixties and seventies," declares T.J. Lubinsky, the show's creator, executive producer and WQED Pittsburgh's director of on-air fundraising.

"This program also marks the first-ever televised gathering of Motown, Stax, Atlantic, Volt, Muscle Shoals and Philadelphia International talents," Lubinsky observes.

George L. Miles, Jr., CEO of WQED Pittsburgh, which produced the program, adds "We've been able to produce quality television with historic and cultural significance and pay tribute to the artists."

Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular is the newest product of PBS' plan to broaden its programming and address the interests of new audiences. This effort is the result of the immense success of the PBS presentations of WQED Pittsburgh productions of past all-star concerts, (more) Doo Wop 50, Doo Wop 51, and Rock, Rhythm, and Doo Wop. The WQED Pittsburgh-produced "Doo Wop Trilogy," also overseen by TJ Lubinsky, aimed at fans of '50s music, has far exceeded the past's most popular pledge shows, including Les Miserables and The Three Tenors, to become the highest- grossing fundraisers in PBS history, garnering over $45 million.

"Our mission is to entertain, enlighten, engage and extend the PBS and WQED Pittsburgh audiences." asserts George L. Miles, Jr., CEO of WQED Pittsburgh. "We've tapped into a whole new market that loves music and no one else in television is offering it to them."

PBS embraces another generation, lovers of music from the 1960s and early 1970s, with Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular, following this unprecedented success and new-found public demand for popular music. WQED's Miles says "We will continue to provide new PBS and WQED Pittsburgh audiences with a venue for enjoying their favorite popular music."

Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular airs on PBS stations nationwide in March. TJ Lubinsky acknowledges that because of "the great support from Pittsburghers, WQED members, and local companies with Pittsburgh ties such as USAirways, The Renaissance Hotel, Heinz Hall, 94.5 3WS and Rhino Entertainment we've been able to record this concert event for the video history books."

USAirways is the official airline of Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular.

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