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

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

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

Northern Soul comes to Warrington
Macclesfield - Wilmslow - Local News Cheshire Today, September 30th

Fans can relive the dance floor glory nights of Northern Soul when it returns to Parr Hall with a night of Monster Northern Soul Oldies on Saturday Oct 10. The country's finest National Northern Soul DJs will once again be spinning original vinyl in...Read more

Northern Soul
OC Weekly, September 29th

Dancers' feet in dapper shoes moving frantically about a well-worn floor -- it's a recurring image in Northern Soul. And it characterizes the film itself: This debut feature by Elaine Constantine has no shortage of style, but ultimately relies a lot on...Read more

Toronto Film Review: 'Northern Soul'
Variety, September 22nd

The working-class “Northern Soul” milieu of England's 1970s, which seeded much of U.K. music and culture, is recreated in Elaine Constantine's long-aborning first feature. Her slender story about a few young lives dancing and drugging in step with the...Read more

TIFF Interview: Northern Soul, Can You Dig It?
The Mary Sue, September 18th

To call Elaine Constantine's look at Northern England's '70s soul-scene a passion project is to almost redefine the term as we know it. Based loosely on her own experiences growing up in Greater Manchester, the director has been developing, writing...Read more

Northern Soul comes to Stafford's Top of the World once more
Staff Newsletter, September 18th

FANS of Northern Soul will be flocking to Stafford from across the UK for a nostalgic charity event. Say Northern Soul and many people will automatically think of the Wigan Casino. But when the popular venue closed in 1981, it was clubs in...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