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Encyclopedia > Northern Soul

Northern Soul refers to music and associated dance styles and fashions originating from the Twisted Wheel club in Manchester in the mid 1960's and spreading to other dancehalls and nightclubs in northern England, notably the Golden Torch in Stoke upon Trent, the Blackpool Mecca and in 1973, the famous Wigan Casino. The Verve (originally Verve) were an English alternative rock band of the 1990s, originally formed in 1989 at Winstanley Sixth Form College, Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, Greater Manchester, England, by vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. ... A Northern Soul was The Verves second (and penultimate) album (or their third if you count the Verve EP) and was released on July 3, 1995 (see 1995 in music). ... The Twisted Wheel Club, Manchester, UK. 1967 - 1971. ... Northern England, The North or North of England is a rather ill-defined term, with no universally accepted definition. ... The Golden Torch, more commonly known as The Torch, started life as a church in Hose Street Tunstal, Stoke upon Trent in the United Kingdom. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... The Wigan Casino is generally acknowledged as the best known and most famous Northern Soul venue in history. ...

In the beginning, the dancing was athletic, featuring spins, flips, and backdrops, inspired by the stage performances of visiting American soul acts such as Little Anthony & The Imperials and Jackie Wilson. The music originally consisted of obscure American soul recordings with an uptempo beat, very similar to and including Motown Records and more obscure labels (e.g. Okeh Records). The phrase northern soul was coined by journalist Dave Godin and popularised in 1970 through his column in Blues and Soul magazine. In an interview in 2002 he explained that he had first come up with the term in 1968 as a sales term for use in his record shop in Covent Garden, to help staff differentiate the more modern funkier sounds from the smoother Motown-influenced soul of a few years earlier: “I had started to notice that northern football fans who were in London to follow their team were coming into the store to buy records, but they weren’t interested in the latest developments in the black American chart. I devised the name as a shorthand sales term. It was just to say ‘if you’ve got customers from the north, don’t waste time playing them records currently in the US black chart, just play them what they like - ‘Northern Soul’.”[1] For other uses, see Soul music (disambiguation). ... Motown Records, Inc. ... Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918; from the late 1920s on was a subsidiary of Columbia Records. ... Dave Godin (1936-October 15, 2004) was an English fan of American soul music. ...



A large proportion of northern soul's original audience came from the mod movement. Some mods started to embrace the freakbeat and psychedelic rock of the late 1960s, but other mods - especially those in northern England - stuck to the original mod soundtrack of soul and blue beat. Some transformed into what would eventually be known as skinheads, and others formed the basis of the northern soul scene. Early northern soul fashion included bowling shirts, button-down Ben Sherman shirts, blazers with centre vents and unusual numbers of buttons, Trickers brogue shoes, baggy trousers or shrink-to-fit Levi's jeans. Many dancers wore badges representing membership to clubs organised by dance halls. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Blue beat was a name given to Jamaican Rhythm & Blues and Ska music in the United Kingdom in the early and mid 1960s. ... Skinheads, named after their cropped or shaven heads, are members of a working class subculture that originated in Britain in the 1960s, where they were heavily influenced by the rude boys of the West Indies and the mods of the UK. In subsequent decades, the skinhead subculture spread to other... Brogues are shoes that are made of heavy and untanned leather, heretofore worn in Scotland and Ireland. ... Germanic trousers of the 4th century found in the Thorsberg moor, Germany Early use of trousers in France: a sans-culotte by Louis-Léopold Boilly. ... Levis is a brand of riveted denim jeans manufactured by Levi Strauss & Co. ...

The first club which effectively defined the northern soul sound was Manchester's Twisted Wheel Club. Other early clubs were the The Mojo in Sheffield, The Catacombs in Wolverhampton, Golden Torch in Stoke, Room at the Top in Wigan, the Wigan Casino, the Blackpool Mecca and Va Va's in Bolton. Manchester City Centre, seen here in 2007. ... The Twisted Wheel was a club in Manchester, UK which during its 1963 - 1971 two venue life, was the birthplace of what became known as Northern Soul. ... For other uses, see Sheffield (disambiguation). ... Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England, traditionally part of the county of Staffordshire. ... The Golden Torch, more commonly known as The Torch, started life as a church in Hose Street Tunstal, Stoke upon Trent in the United Kingdom. ... The city of Stoke-on-Trent (also known as The Six Towns and The Potteries) is a city in The Midlands, United Kingdom. ... The Wigan Casino is generally acknowledged as the best known and most famous Northern Soul venue in history. ... The introduction to this article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject matter. ... Statistics Population: 139,403 Ordnance Survey OS grid reference: SD715095 Administration Metropolitan borough: Bolton Metropolitan county: Greater Manchester Region: North West England Constituent country: England Sovereign state: United Kingdom Other Ceremonial county: Greater Manchester Historic county: Lancashire Services Police force: Greater Manchester Ambulance: North West Post office and telephone Post...

The music reached its peak of popularity in the mid to late 1970s, when Wigan Casino was voted the world's number one discotheque. Thousands of people visited every week, but the exclusive and underground appeal of the music was lost and many of the hardcore soul fans drifted away. When Wigan Casino shut down In 1981, many believed the northern soul scene was about to end. However, the 1970s mod revival and the later scooterboy subculture produced a new wave of fans. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Originating in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, scooterboy culture emerged from mods and skinheads, although it became a distinct and separate subculture. ...

The 1980s — often dismissed as a low period for the northern soul scene by those who had left in the 1970s — featured almost 100 new venues in places as diverse as Bradford, London, Peterborough, Leighton Buzzard, Whitchurch, Coventry and Leicester. Pre-eminent among the 1980s venues were Stafford's Top of the World and London's 100 Club. Previously, most of the records played at northern soul clubs had been fast stompers, but 1980s northern soul DJs started to also play mid-tempo tunes, slower ballads. This article is about the town of Stafford, England. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The 100 Club is a music venue situated at 100, Oxford Street, London W1, UK. The 100 Club has a legendary status within the history of modern British music, having played live music since 24 October 1942. ...

Artists and records

Northern soul is among the most expensive of musical genres to collect. Hundreds of 7" vinyl discs have broken the £1,000 (c.$2,000) barrier. Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You" sold several years ago for £15,000 (c.$30,000) (as cited on Ian Levine's The Strange World of Northern Soul DVD set). The value of many discs has appreciated due to rarity, quality of the beat, melody and lyrics (often expressing heartache, pain or joy related to romantic love). Frank Wilson is an African-American former songwriter and record producer for Motown Records. ...

Many northern soul artists attempted stardom without all of the necessary ingredients in place. Low-budget independent labels couldn't deliver the necessary promotion and radio play. Many artists had to go back to their day jobs, thinking themselves failures, with their records sinking into obscurity, until they were revived in the Northern Soul circuit. Songs by Tami Lynn, The Fascinations and The Velvelettes, that were originally released in the 1960s, all became top 40 UK hits in 1971. Tami Lynn got to #6 with "I'm Gonna Run Away From You", The Fascinations made #30 with "Girls Are Out to Get you" and the Velvelettes managed #35 with "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You." The Velvelettes were an American singing girl group on the Motown label. ...

Several acts have travelled to England to perform their golden oldies at all-nighters, often many years after the original releases. Now, in the 21st century, rare 1960s soul sounds are still being discovered by fans, and Northern Soul is still going strong around the world.


  1. ^ For Dancers Only by Chris Hunt, Mojo. 2002]

World Cup Stories by Chris Hunt Chris Hunt is a magazine editor, journalist and author. ...


  • Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton [1999] (2000). "Northern Soul: After Tonight Is All Over", Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey. New York: Grove Press, 75-105. ISBN 0-8021-3688-5. 
  • Kev Roberts (2000). The Northern Soul Top 500. ISBN 0-9539291-0-8. 

External links

  • Soulfulkindamusic.net
  • NorthernSoul.co.uk
  • Soul Source
  • Twisted Wheel
  • Soul Or Nothing:A paper given at Manchester University 2006 Identity, Scene, and Material Culture: The Place of African American Rare Soul Music on the British Northern Soul Scene by Kimasi L. Browne, Ph.D. (Azusa Pacific University), USA
  • For Dancers Only The story of Wigan Casino by Chris Hunt, published in Mojo, Spring 2002
Soul music
Soul music - African American music - Gospel music - Jazz - Blues - Rhythm and blues - Deep Soul - Southern soul - Blue-eyed soul - Motown Sound - White soul - Northern soul - Psychedelic soul - Chicago soul - Philly soul - Memphis soul - Neo soul - Funk - Modern soul - Hip hop soul - Disco
Other topics
Soul musicians - Motown Records - Stax Records - Girl group - Berry Gordy - Mod subculture

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