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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The Latin city with northern soulIndependent Online, February 10th
Porto - When the rain lashes in off the Atlantic to a soundtrack of gulls cawing, Porto's betrayal of its Latin latitude feels at its strongest. There's a sense of misplaced northern Europe about Portugal's second-largest city, particularly in the...Read more
Porto: Fine wine and understated charm in Portugal's Latin city with northern soulThe Independent, February 8th
When the rain lashes in off the Atlantic to a soundtrack of gulls cawing, Porto's betrayal of its Latin latitude feels at its strongest. There's a sense of misplaced northern Europe about Portugal's second-largest city, particularly in the winter...Read more
Little Vic Northern Soul NiteGazette Series, February 4th
If you're in the Gloucestershire area come visit the Little Vic Soul Nite on Feb 5th in Stroud! It ain't nothing big but its got some quality people and northern soul oldies being spun by people that are passionate about the music! Its now a member...Read more
Ex Corrie star Graeme Hawley reveals he's a killer Northern Soul DJWhat's On TV, February 4th
It's nearly five years since John Stape was killed off. Do you still get recognised for playing him? “Yeah. Weeks might go by without anyone mentioning him to me but then, for no reason, it will all kick off again. Maybe it never really leaves you when...Read more
Milton Rooms pounds to the beat of Northern SoulGazette & Herald, February 3rd
THE Milton Rooms sprung dance floor will be rocking when followers of northern soul from across the country make for Malton for an all-day party of music and dance this month. “This will be a fantastic celebration of the vinyl music that has been a big...Read more
Global soups for the northern soulToronto Life, February 2nd
Chef Matt Dean Pettit specializes in northern soul food—food that speaks to Canadians. He grew up on the northern Ontario shores of Georgian Bay and made his name serving up lobster rolls at his ode-to-the-east-coast Ossington restaurant, Rock Lobster...Read more
Northern Soul appoints sales and marketing managerProlific North, January 22nd
Rachel Brydon has spent her career working on behalf of Manchester, with 12 years as membership manager at Marketing Manchester and then CityCo, Manchester's city centre management organisation. She has worked on projects including Manchester's ...Read more
Milton Rooms to pound to the Northern Soul beatGazette & Herald, January 12th
THE Milton Rooms, in Malton, will be pounding to the beat of Northern Soul and the grunt and groan of wresting next month, but for those who prefer a more relaxing entertainment you can sit back and enjoy a night of cabaret or blue grass music in the...Read more