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...
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 culture website launched by ex-Times journalistHoldTheFrontPage.co.uk, May 20th
Helen Nugent has founded Northern Soul which highlights cultural events like theatre, literature, music, restaurants and shops across the North, although it is initially focused on Greater Manchester area. Helen used to work for The Times in London and...Read more
Northern soul in BlackburnLancashire Telegraph, May 17th
A NIGHT at one of the most influential Northern Soul clubs will be recreated at King George's Hall, Blackburn, on Sunday afternoon. The Twisted Wheel in Manchester was an iconic destination for music lovers and for one night only it will come to Blackburn...Read more
Northern Soul night lands in MapperleyThis is Nottingham, May 16th
AN EVENING of classic 60s and 70s Northern Soul music is set for the Mapperley Plains Social Club. Northern Soul is a British adaptation of American Motown music, popularised in the Mod scene of the 1960s. Expect to hear classics from Al Wilson, Dobie...Read more
The Verve Album Review: A Northern Soul - BritpopnewsBritpopnews (blog), May 14th
the-verve-a-northern-soul-album-art-47058 Written and recorded while on ecstasy, 1995?s A Northern Soul is the unrelenting rock follow-up to The Verve's hazy psychedelic A Storm in Heaven. Richard Ashcroft has a face that even a mother would say...Read more
Northern Soul site launches in ManchesterJournalism.co.uk, May 14th
Northern Soul, founded by former Times journalist Helen Nugent, launched on Thursday (9 May). It will initially focus on the Greater Manchester area with previews, reviews and features on cultural events and locations before expanding to cover most of...Read more
Bopping till they drop - soul a-go-go in resortBlackpool Gazette, May 8th
The usual stags and hens were joined by plenty of farmers of the young variety – but the real stars of the dance floor were the older “soulies” making a welcome return to a resort which has become the spiritual home of Northern Soul revisited. Many had...Read more
Rugby World Cup 2015: Fixture list shows a lack of northern soulThe Guardian (blog), May 2nd
It is certainly a far cry from the last World Cup hosted by England in distant 1991, which did its utmost to incorporate a little northern soul. I still fondly remember my trip to picturesque Otley for the game between Italy and the United States, a...Read more
Northern Soul at the TowerLancashire Evening Post, April 26th
The Northern Soul and Motown Spring Saver Weekender takes place over the three days of the bank holiday. The 32-hour event includes a stellar line-up of DJs including Richard Searling, Kev Roberts, Nige Brown, Yocki, Pete Roberts, John Poole, Chris...Read more