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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Recent News: Northern Soul Records

Source: Google News

Pretty Green's new line is so good, it'll make you bust a move, October 8th

With the help of his right hand man, head of design Pat Salter, Liam Gallagher has injected his new autumn/winter '15 line with a dose of Northern Soul - the big-beat dance movement spawned in the clubs of North England, Scotland and Wales in the late ...Read more

'Northern Soul'
PopMatters, October 7th

Britain in 1974 was just as gloomy as Elaine Constantine paints it in her debut feature, Northern Soul. Miners' strikes and power cuts in 1972 gave way to the OPEC oil crisis of 1973, and Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath's three-day work week...Read more

'Northern Soul' explores little-known music scene
HeraldNet, October 4th

Well before there was hip-hop or house, trap or trance, there was northern soul, an underground dance movement born a half-century ago in the industrial wilds of the northern England that fetishized obscure '60s American R&B and elevated the club DJ to ...Read more

Movie review: 'Northern Soul' explores little-known music scene, October 2nd

Well before there was hip-hop or house, trap or trance, there was northern soul, an underground dance movement born a half-century ago in the industrial wilds of the northern England that fetishized obscure '60s American R&B and elevated the club DJ to ...Read more

Review: 'Northern Soul' Shows '70s England Through a Music Lens
New York Times, October 1st

Performed with loose energy and studded with beautifully observant moments — like the worn spot on the hideous bedroom carpet where John practices his spins — “Northern Soul” suffers most from a lack of dramatic focus and a tendency to elbow women ...Read more

Film Reviews: Northern Soul
Film Journal, September 30th

Northern Soul marks the directing debut of photographer-turned-filmmaker Elaine Constantine. Originally intending to make a documentary about the underground soul-music scene which enjoyed a feverish cult following across parts of Britain in the ...Read more

Design Manchester 15: Hudson Powell, Territory Studio, Stephen Morris ...
Creative Review (blog), September 30th

Creative festival Design Manchester returns for a third year on October 14, with talks from IDEO, Hudson Powell, Territory Studio and New Order's Stephen Morris alongside workshops, screenings and exhibitions celebrating graphics, music, film and ...Read more

TIFF Review: 'Northern Soul' Starring Elliot James Langridge, With Steve ...
Indie Wire (blog), September 13th

“What's your favorite record?” That is the key question asked in director Elaine Constantine's “Northern Soul,” a rousing, wildly entertaining Toronto International Film Festival entry set in mid-70s England. Here is a sonically explosive film that...Read more