Northern Soul

A music and dance movement from the mod scene of Britain was called “northern soul” and originated in northern England in the late 60s. The use of this phrase came from a journalist named Dave Godin, who used it in his weekly news column in “Blues and Soul” magazine in June of 1970. The reason he used this phrase was because he wanted employees at his Soul City record shop to be able to differentiate between funky sounds and the smooth sounds of Motown soul.

It contains American soul music from African-American artists which included heavy beats and fast tempos. The Northern soul movement typically avoided Motown or any influences of Motown music that have been successful in the mainstream.

Recordings are also usually done by lesser-known artists and musicians that were released in small markets by small U.S. labels including Ric-Tic and Golden World.

Particular fashions and dance styles are often associated with Motown soul and have spawned from the underground rhythm and soul period of the late 60s at various venues such as the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. These trends spread to other nightclubs and dance halls in the UK such as the Catacombs and the Highland Rooms.

By the 70s, Northern soul took o­n a more athletic tone. Break dancing and disco were becoming mirrored by this time. The dances included spins, flips and backdrops.

Northern soul records were never recent releases and often dated back as far as the mid-1960s. DJs liked this because they were finding many overlooked albums that were rarely ever played. Later, the Motown sound was exchanged for newer releases with a contemporary sound to go along with the changing trends.