Raised in Wythenshawe, the former Sharston High School student carved out a career in the music industry before his three sons, the Thomas brothers, themselves became famous.
Ryan Thomas starred in Coronation Street and Celebrity Big Brother while Adam Thomas was in Emmerdale and his twin Scott Thomas was a contestant on Love Island.
Dad and his three sons traveled to India to find out about their legacy for an ITV documentary last year.
Soul Train consisted of Dougie, his brother Barry, Red Hoffman, Bo Lee, Lyn Oakie, Neil Shaw-Hulme and Ian Laing.
It started in the 1970s and was still performing in the 2000s.
It opened for Michael Jackson (then part of the Jackson 5) at the Manchester Apollo in 1979.
Speaking to MEN in 2007 about this tour, Dougie recalled, “Michael Jackson used to throw stink bombs at my dressing room. He also put poppy cushions there, but then he put security in front of his own dressing room. I couldn’t get in. He was a nice guy, very calm. They were all nice children. ”
Dougie has also worked with other big names in music: James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Edwin Starr, Bill Haley And The Comets, Stevie Wonder and Billy Fury.
Dozens of friends and fans posted moving tributes to Dougie on his Facebook page following news of his death yesterday (Friday).
Jacqueline Hall posted a photo of Dougie and his sons in Mumbai and said: “The world has lost some sparkle today. RIP Dougie is a legend of Soul. Thoughts are with your family. “
LInda Lam wrote, “RIP Dougie James… It was a pleasure meeting you through Raymond Chan and Carole Chan and seeing you perform at many of their Chinatown events. Also great to have you and your family at your Rainbow 88 granddaughter’s birthday party.
“Manchester in Mumbai with your 3 sons was fabulous and I am so glad you had this special time with them! Manchester have lost an extremely talented legend. “
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Nick Tanner said, “Dougie James, legend of RIP Soul Train. I’ve only met him a few times, but still the life and soul of the party and so great to know more about him and his family on #mancsinmumbai. Thoughts are with all his family. and friends. “