WHAT'S NORTHERN SOUL
THE HISTORY OF NORTHERN SOUL
Northern Soul was an underground dance and music movement that emerged from the North of the UK in the 1970s based on rare black American soul music.
The term ‘Northern Soul’ was coined by London record shop owner Dave Godin. The shop floor staff at Soul City Records needed a phrase to differentiate between the more modern and funkier records coming out of America from Motown influenced sounds that were most popular with visiting football fans from the North.
The ’70s were a bleak time for the UK, especially in the North. Life was hard, and young people felt disenfranchised from popular culture. The charts were full of saccharine pop that teens and young adults felt that didn’t represent their feelings about the world. Suddenly, from the dance-floors came a sound of Northern Soul: bouncing rhythms, upbeat and heartfelt lyrics from predominantly Black-American vocalists. It was something different, something new, and something that they could call their own – a rejection of racial prejudice and an embracing of the new world.
Northern Soul fans spent hours digging through record collections, searching for rare records – which still continues today! Discovering unheard-of and original tracks were the ultimate goal of collectors in the scene.
The music comes from the rarer labels & artists, the lesser-known Motown records, B sides and more commercially unsuccessful numbers, as well as from the musicians and artists that independently released. An underground scene that was about the music & dance first and foremost.
The Wigan Casino, The Blackpool Mecca, The Manchester Twisted Wheel plus many more venues hosted regular ‘all-nighters’, where DJ’s played the rarest soul.
The upbeat feel of the music delivers a passion that will grab anyone’s attention, and the vocals communicate stories that can pull at anyone’s heartstrings.
The Northern Soul scene refused to stay underground. Over 40 years later the music is still loved by millions world-wide – although the scene has become more commercial over time, there is still a dedicated group of purists that continue to trade, collect and play the original vinyl only.
The fans adore the music, the history of the scene and of course the definitive rhythmic shuffle known as “Northern Soul Dancing”.
The scene is all about personal expression – whether you are collecting, dancing or playing records. It’s about losing yourself in the music.