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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Open The Door To Your Heart by Darrell Banks: 'Holy grail' Northern Soul ...The Independent, December 21st
The record, all copies of which were believed to have been destroyed decades ago, created feverish excitement when it surfaced on the internet in June. John Manship, who runs the Rare Soul Man website which hosted the auction, said the interest had...Read more
Review: Northern SoulThe Visitor, December 20th
In the film Northern Soul, the plot follows a formula that's been tried and tested in other films of the same genre such as Saturday Night Fever and The Commitments: young working class teenagers using music and/or dance to escape their dreary existence...Read more
Northern soul event at the ChateauBromsgrove Advertiser, December 19th
THE Chateau Impney is playing host to a day of northern soul on Saturday, December 28 to raise money for a local hospice. The day, which is running from 2pm to 1am with food and drink available throughout the day, and several big name DJs in the field...Read more
The Crow Mandala - old dog country to northern soulLancaster Today, December 18th
The “new stuff” has an old dog country Nashville style to it, but doesn't stop there as it drops easily, like Turner's voice, into foot stomping northern soul. “I was asked to curate the outdoor stage at the Vintage Festival in Morecambe,” Phil said...Read more
Northern Soul fans bid more than £11000 for 'holy grail' Darrell Banks recordThe Independent, December 16th
He branded it “the rarest British soul record of all time” and noted that “hardened collectors are sobbing at the sight of it”. Banks toured with “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher” singer Jackie Wilson and release two albums before he was shot in 1970...Read more
Northern Soul fans in a spin over sale of rare recordBBC News, December 15th
Northern Soul fans are bidding more than £11,000 for a rare 7-inch record, a week before its online auction ends. The London Records' pressing of Darrell Banks' club classic Open the Door to Your Heart is thought to be the only copy in circulation...Read more
Director of Northern Soul goes to Hollywood for 9 Kisses with the A-listersManchester Evening News, December 15th
This year, the paper decided to ask the actors to do a short performance in front of the video camera of award-winning photographer and director of the film Northern Soul, Elaine Constantine. Constantine wrote and directed the stunning cinematic films, ...Read more
Northern Soul DJ Tony Parrish diesLincolnshire Echo, November 29th
Speaking before the appearance he said: "I brought Northern Soul music to Lincoln in the mid-1970s, when I began a regular slot at the Duke of Wellington on Broadgate in the city. "My involvement and love for Northern Soul then drove me to open up a...Read more