Northern Soul Music Inspired By The Past
Author: Russell Thorp
We generally think of music movements as something revolutionary; a collective following that develops because a band or artists is especially modern, and offering a sound that no one else has at that particular time in history. There have been very few times when a major musical movement is inspired by a genre of music that is dated or out of style, but northern soul music is one of the rare exceptions. Inspired by British music lovers that refused to give up on the bright, up-tempo music of the early Motown scene, this movement was maintained by the constant search for artists that had been only mildly successful or completely forgotten.
There are thousands of different stories about how people discovered northern soul music, or how they became wrapped up in the culture that it inspired. Most of them start out with the search for more of the classic Motown sounds that were related with black American pop music at the time. Although the successful artists in America at the time were moving the genre in a different direction, there were lots of kids in Northern England that were searching for more of that original sound.
As a result, record shop clerks, disc jockeys, and club owners started to set aside older music that they knew these people would love. Dave Godin, a journalist and London record store owner in the 1960's remembers the day he coined the term for this movement. He told his clerks not bother playing these kids the funkier, darker soul albums that were currently coming out of Motown. Instead, he told them to focus on the lighter stuff - the northern soul music. Gradually the movement grew, sprouting its own fashion and dance moves that were reminiscent of the mod culture but would eventually spawn frenetic moves like break dancing.
You might find it hard to believe that a type of music that was dying out could have summoned up such a devoted following, but northern soul music is unique. To keep the fans supplied with lots of "new" hits to dance to in the clubs, disc jockeys and record store owners had to be constantly searching the archives for rare recordings no one had ever heard before, or artists that didn't make a splash in the U.S. and were therefore left to wither away into oblivion. These tactics kept new northern soul hits rolling out until the early 1980's.
About the Author
Rare Northern Soul is the Internet's premium online Northern Soul Records store. With a wide selection of Rare Northern Soul, Crossover, Modern, 45s, 12"; and LPs, you're sure to find that soul music you've been searching for.