Northern Soul does not refer to a music genre per se. Rather, it is the phrase used to describe the late-1960s-though-1970s dance club and music scene in northern England. The kids at clubs like The Twisted Wheel and Wigan Casino would dance all night long (literally) to fast-paced 45s of Detroit and American soul.
Unlike most types of collectible vinyl records, the Northern Soul 45s that are generally worth the most today are not necessarily the ones by the best-known artists. Gloria Jones, Jackie Wilson, and the Imperials were all popular in the clubs, but when it comes to Northern Soul 45s, the more obscure the artist, song, and label, the better.
The reason for the focus on the lesser-known 45s is the scarcity of the discs that were played, and subsequently popularized, at these clubs. In some cases, each club had its own playlist, if you will, based on the prized 45s in its DJs collection. Today, serious collectors attempt to replicate not just the sound of the Northern Soul experience, but also the sound of particular clubs by searching for the 45s that were their signatures.
For example, according to former Wigan Casino DJ Kev Roberts, back in the day the most popular Northern Soul 45 at his club was an unreleased single by Frank Wilson called "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)." Wilson, who worked for Berry Gordy at Motown, had recorded the song in 1965. Of the 250 or so demos that were pressed, only two are known to have survived. Yet this arcane track was a monster on the Wigan dance floor. In May of 2009, one of the copies sold at auction in England for £25,742.
Other collectible Northern Soul vinyl 45s include "Because of My Heart" by the Butlers with Frankie Beverly (Rouser); "No One Else Can Take Your Place" by the Inspirations (Breakthrough); "Lady in Green" by the Magnetics (Bonnie); "Show Stopper" by the Cashmeres (Hem); "Let Me Make You Happy" by Billy Woods (Sussex); and "Can’t Get Over These Memories" by Jon & the Weirdest (Tie).
One of the many interesting aspects of Northern Soul was the belated popularization of songs that had languished for years in the States only to find new life in Great Britain. The most illustrative example of this phenomenon was "Hey Girl Don't Bother Me," which was recorded by The Tams in 1964 and reached number 41 on the U.S. charts. Seven years later, in 1971, that same song charted at number one in the U.K. for three weeks, thanks exclusively to its popularity with Northern Soul enthusiasts and club DJs.
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Irish rockers Ash to perform free concert at Hoboken's Northern SoulThe Jersey Journal - NJ.com, September 17th
What's more, Ash bassist Mark Hamilton will be able to walk to the gig from his front door; he and his family have been living just a few blocks from Northern Soul for the last few years, while singer/guitarist Tim Wheeler resides in Brooklyn. Drummer...Read more
Steve Coogan in first trailer for 'Northern Soul' – watchNME.com, September 17th
Soul club nights in the North of the country were hugely popular in the '70s and Constantine hopes her film will appeal to that generation's club goers and reach out to a modern audience keen to learn more about the roots of UK club culture. The film's...Read more
Trailer For 'Northern Soul' – Starring Steve Coogan, Ricky Tomlinson, Antonia ...Flicks and bits, September 16th
From Universal Studios comes this first trailer for 'Northern Soul,' which opens in UK cinemas on October 17th and on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download from October 20th. The first feature film from fashion photographer Elaine Constantine, 'Northern...Read more
Reveller dies after collapseBlackpool Gazette, September 16th
A man died after collapsing on the dancefloor at an all-night event at Blackpool Tower. Stunned revellers have been paying their respects on social media after the man, thought to be in his 50s, died following a Northern Soul reunion party at the Tower ...Read more
'Northern Soul' To Rewrite "Embarrassing" Representation of the Scene [Trailer]Contactmusic.com, September 15th
"Most things that have represented Northern Soul in the media, whether documentary or fiction, have been an embarrassment for us," said she of wanting to make the movie, "I want to try and get people to understand how brilliant the music is and how ...Read more
Newquay venue celebrates Northern Soul film releasecornishguardian.co.uk, September 11th
Northern Soul, the film (released on October 17 on Universal Pictures UK), tells the tale of the DJ-led movement that developed in the North of England in the mid-seventies, sparked by the discovery of black American soul music. Featuring performances...Read more
Hartlepool club to be part of Northern Soul All-WeekerHartlepool Mail, September 9th
Hartlepool Northern Soul Club are joining 26 venues across the UK and Ireland taking part in the Northern Soul All-Weeker to celebrate the launch of the soundtrack and forthcoming Northern Soul The Film directed by award-winning photographer, Elaine ...Read more
Northern Soul fans raise £1100 for charityexpressandstar.com, August 20th
Northern Soul attracts fanatics who travel far and wide to dance the night away - and an event in Wolverhampton was no different. Fifteen DJs dug into their vinyl collections to unearth enough classic records to keep the crowd pleased for almost 12...Read more