What is Northern Soul ?

Jun 18, 2023By Neil Greaves
Neil Greaves

Have you ever heard of Northern Soul? It's a music and dance movement that originated in Northern England in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Northern Soul is a genre of soul music that was popular among working-class youth in Northern England.

The Origins of Northern Soul

The term "Northern Soul" was first coined by journalist Dave Godin in 1970. The movement was born out of the Mod and Motown scenes of the 1960s. DJs in Northern England began playing lesser-known American soul records that were not popular in the UK. These records had a raw, gritty sound that appealed to the working-class youth of Northern England.

northern soul

The Music of Northern Soul

Northern Soul is characterized by its up-tempo beats, heavy basslines, and soulful vocals. The music often features horns, strings, and other orchestral elements. Some of the most popular Northern Soul tracks include "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" by Frank Wilson, "The Snake" by Al Wilson, and "Out On The Floor" by Dobie Gray.

The Dancing of Northern Soul

Northern Soul is not just about the music, it's also about the dancing. The dance style is energetic and athletic, with dancers performing spins, flips, and acrobatic moves. The most popular Northern Soul dance is the "backdrop," where the dancer drops to the floor and then quickly jumps back up.

northern soul dancing

The Fashion of Northern Soul

The fashion of Northern Soul is heavily influenced by the Mod and Motown scenes. Dancers often wear sharp, tailored suits and dresses. The clothing is often accessorized with badges, patches, and other Mod-inspired embellishments. The hair is styled in a neat, tidy manner, with men often sporting a short, back-and-sides haircut.

The Legacy of Northern Soul

The Northern soul movement is still strong , it has had a lasting impact on music and popular culture. Many of the records that were popular in the Northern Soul scene have become highly sought-after collectors' items. The dance style has influenced other genres of dance, including breakdancing and hip-hop. The fashion of Northern Soul continues to be an influence on modern fashion.

northern soul fashion

In Conclusion

Northern Soul is a unique and influential music and dance movement that originated in Northern England in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Its up-tempo beats, soulful vocals, and energetic dance style continue to inspire and influence music and popular culture today.