Celebrating 40 Years of Northern Soul!

Northern Soul 1

Hi Sheen! Good morning! Anything you wanna share with us? Well, hello there, my lovelies, how nice and unexpected that you should drop by and interview me on this fine morning, so to speak!

Well, absolutely! No time like the present! You said it, sistah! Especially now that we are grinding our way to the end of 2013.

Is there anything you’d like to mention in particular, now that we have reached this date? The demise of Nelson Mandela, for instance? All due respect to the man, like I said.

You didn’t, actually. Not maybe on this platform, honey. The world is full of platforms.

Oh right sorry. That’s OK.

So what did you… I just think it’s about time we gave some cyberspace to the 40th anniversary of the birth of Northern Soul. And I can tell, by the grimace on your face, that you don’t feel invited to this celebration.

Ah… Can you elucidate, Sheen? Well, all right, if you insist. 15 December 1973 was the date that Wigan Casino held their inaugural “all-nighter”: one Saturday night that lasted till 8 am on the Sunday, a whole blast of what became known as Northern Soul.

This was a kind of music, right? Wrong. This was a way of life.

Ah right. You have no idea, right? Northern Soul was underground Motown danced as it had never been danced before, expressed as it never had been expressed before.

And this was in Zaragoza? Not only in Zaragoza, oh foolish person. Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Excuse me?   Obviously it started in the north of England – Wigan, Blackpool and Manchester being its epicenters – but it surreptitiously spread to Spain (Zaragoza and Vitoria), Italy (Florence), Germany (Hamburg)… Young people latched onto the idea of new physical representation, moving rhythmically as never before to semi-obscure black American music of the 60’s and 70’s. And this was the first time the role of the DJ came to prominence, may I point out.

Yes, I thought that was what you said. Is there any historical record that can justify the horseshit you have just uttered? Oh for Pete’s sake… How can you be so historically challenged? Watch this, bitch:

And listen to this:

 

And dance to this:

 

Oh thank you so much, this has been a real eye-opener. You’re welcome. Northern Soul was the first time working class young people imposed their own musical taste, before punk, don’t forget, ignoring mainstream commercial crap and the diktats of the multinational record labels. We owe these people so much. Keep the faith!

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Johnny on December 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Not really fair to compare Northern Soul with punk. NS was basically a dance craze, and a fashion thing, while punk was a musical genre. Kids weren’t writing songs and playing songs, they were just dancing (oh and taking rather a large amount of classified substances, BTW) Punk was something else, wasn’t it.

    Reply

    • Posted by zaragozatwins on December 20, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Absolutely true, in part. Northern Soul followers didn’t create the music, but they dug it up, relaunched it, revamped it, and applied new physical expression to the existing audio – Total Physical ReMix – thoroughly revolutionary in its own way. Nothing against punk music, amigo, but let’s face it, musically Northern Soul is way pleasanter to listen to and as for dancing, idem. And as for the fashion thing, well, again, it was about recycling clothes that already existed; you wore these on the dance floor and you didn’t go parading round town saying “Hey I’m a Northern Soul person”. Too many “punks” just dressed up as punks and that was it. And as for the drugs thing, all I can say is that everything was a hell of a lot cleaner in those days. And you can take that to mean whatever you like.

      Reply

      • Posted by Johnny on December 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

        No, you’re not gettiing off so lightly. Punk was about social commitment, Northern Soul was hedonistic and escapist. Punk was for the disenfranchised, it was the inarticulate howl of the underclass, challenging the status quo. You Northern Souls were just dancing as Rome burned.

      • Posted by zaragozatwins on December 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        Dancing, yes. What’s wrong with that? Dancing is a punk gesture. Don’t give me that “disenfranchised” crap. Punk was essentially bourgeois, manipulated by the media. Northern Soul was always under the radar, never commercialised.

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