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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NORTHERN SOUL & MOTOWNWinsford Guardian, April 23rd
NORTHERN SOUL & MOTOWN. Where: De Bees Music Venue, 19, Market Place, Winsford, CW7 3DA. When: 24 April: 4:00pm to 10:00pm. How much: FREE ADMISSION. Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal | Yahoo!...Read more
Northern Soul Night at HolbeachSpalding Guardian, April 20th
A Northern Soul/Motown and 60s Vinyl Soul Night is being held at Holbeach Community Centre on Saturday (7.30pm). The event is raising funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Entry is £5 on the night or in advance from Lets Get You Moving estate agents ...Read more
Ben Sherman Brings Northern Soul Experience to Mama Shelter in HollywoodFirst to Know, April 19th
Bringing the Northern Soul Experience to the West Coast, the event featured a legit Ben Sherman British Cabbie equipped with a unique photo booth. Lucky guests were able to #RideWithBenSherman and capture awesome selfies in the back seat. The night ...Read more
From the Motor City to a miners' club in Shotts: Stuart Cosgrove on how ...Scottish Daily Record, April 18th
But his new book, Young Soul Rebels: A Personal History of Northern Soul, examines a deeper devotion to the underground music scene which thrived in the unlikeliest of places – from Wigan Casino and Blackpool Mecca to Cleethorpes Pier and Allanton ...Read more
Watch: How to make the ULTIMATE grilled cheese (and pulled pork) sandwich with ...Manchester Evening News, April 12th
The Northern Soul crew have reworked their entire menu for national grilled cheese day. Hungry visitors can now choose from the likes of the Tunaruna - their classic soul toastie with tuna, red onion, caper, lemon, oregano and siracha mayo, or the...Read more
The clubs of Northern SoulMixmag, April 8th
Northern Soul was the birth of the crate-digger, the start of modern clubbing as well know it and a fully-formed drug subculture some 20 years before ecstasy arrived in the UK. Some time in the mid-60s there was sharp divergence between soul lovers in...Read more
Cookies on the BBC websiteBBC News, April 5th
Northern Soul: Iceland's rugged beauty encourages you to re-evaluate the ...Scottish Daily Record, April 2nd
On to the main course of the trip, the skies remained crystal clear throughout our Northern Lights excursion. When the aurora borealis suddenly started to appear, one local suggested it was “as if angels were sweeping the heavens”. We even caught a...Read more