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Pride of Manchester - Northern Soul Music
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manchester northern soul | the entertainment capital
Manchester Northern Soul
On these pages, Pride Of Manchester looks at a legacy that has caught the imagination of the world, through music and through dance. The music genre known as Northern Soul first swept the nation in the 1960's during the mod scene and here you'll find all the clubs, the music and the people that made Northern Soul a phenomenon that still exists today.
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manchester northern soul | music for a swinging generation
A History of Northern Soul
David Godin was a record shop owner in London in the early 70's and also a columnist with Blues & Soul magazine, who realised that trends in music were not the same throughout the country and that there was a certain divide to what people wanted to listen and dance to. To make it easier to classify this music to his staff, he coined the term "Northern Soul." This was the definition for the Northern masses who just couldn't get enough of rare, upbeat Detroit-style soul from the Sixties, while the rest of the world was embracing the funk music scene. The roots for Nothern Soul are through the mod era around the late 60's, Over the years, Northern Soul has evolved to include some up tempo pure R&B and more relaxed sounding music and despite the vast style of music, you can still enjoy the sounds of the soul as it was first relished in Manchester, Wigan and Blackpool.

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northern soul clubs |the venues
The Venues for Northern Soul
American blues, soul and Mowtown music had always been popular in the U.K. Vinyl was being imported from across the big pond to the north & south and clubs, however it was the north who started to play more obscure and rare soul records, and so an underground scene developed. Clubs like the original home of Northern Soul, The Twisted Wheel in Manchester and The Torch and paved the way for a new style of club. Other towns forged their own venues, such as the Blackpool Mecca and the infamous Wigan Casino. Many of the clubs gradually disappeared, however there are still some, such as the Twisted Wheel, that have emerged to play the original beats to a whole new audience.
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northern soul clubs | manchester twisted wheel
Manchester Twisted Wheel

Twisted Wheel in Manchester was originally an unlicenced coffee bar/drop-in club in Brazennose Street, Manchester, originally opening in 1963. It was primarily a club that played rhythm and blues and had many famous names grace it's stage, including Manchester's own, John Mayall also the Spencer Davis Group, Long John Baldry and Alexis Corner. Many US artists that were on tour at the time also made an appearance, including John Lee Hooker and Solomon Burke.

With the arrival of Roger Eagle as the DJ, a music policy of a blend of hard Rhythm and Blues and emergent American soul music soon caused the Twisted Wheel the place for any self-respecting Mod to be seen at. The club was also one of the first to start importing records. Unfortunately similar to its contemporary counterpart in Manchester, the Hacienda, the council revoked its license and on January 31st, 1971. But the story doesn't end there. The Northern Soul Scene of Today has seen The Twisted Wheel in Manchester re-open in 1999. Thanks to the tireless efforts of one of the Wheel's old boys, Pete Roberts, the Wheel did spin again with DJ's "Stan the Man" Evans, John Green and Ian Dunning. The format was classic Northern Soul stompers and the re-opening was almost exactly 40-years after the original Twisted Wheel opened in Manchester's Brazennose Street.

manchester twisted wheel albums
northern soul clubs | wigan casino
Wigan Casino

A September Morning in 1973, saw a massive World War One building opened its doors to a generation of youth who had one passion for music. For eight years the venue would be host to the most infamous all-night Northern Soul sessions that would go down in history, not just in the UK but also in America. In fact the American music magazine 'Billboard' officially voted it 'The Best Disco in the World' ahead of New York's 'Studio 54' in 1978. Great honour for the venue but by no means a venue for Disco music. It also served no alcohol whatsoever. Its main room had a massive wooden dance floor surrounded by a large balcony and like the Mecca it also had a secondary room known as 'Mr M's' which opened a couple of hours after the doors had opened. The Casino had a Rhythm and Blues policy making it rare to hear anything with a hint of funk, nor did it concentrate exclusively on obscurities as easily accessible records were well integrated into the Casino playlists.

The club also influenced the 'Hit Parade' as well as creating its own record label. From the middle of the 70's to the end of the decade, there wasn't a soul under 30 who hadn't been to the club or knew someone who had. But by 1981, the club had been forced to close and it had drawn more than 1000,000 members. A few months later in a freak accident the Casino caught fire and was razed to the ground. But still there are nights that celebrate the era of the Casino and the original sounds, dj's and punters.

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northern soul clubs| blackpool mecca
Blackpool Mecca

When it opened it's doors in 1965, the Blackpool Mecca was at the forefront of the music scene. With a capacity of three and a half thousand people, it had a glitzy stage with a revolving bandstand and was a perfect venue for various forms of entertainment. It played host to The Chi-Lites, Miracles, Isaac Hayes also Edwin Starr. The club bent over backwards to bring in the punters from all over the region including a free bus service to pick people up. Unfortunately, smaller venues began to replace the massive dance halls and by the early seventies its main hall was populated by a fraction of the punters it used to see. It was also the case with many other Tiffanies/Mecca buildings throughout the country.

The Mecca had a smaller dance hall known as the 'Highland Room' above its main arena. This room was set up as a location to play rare soul, which meant the club could still carry on despite a declining main hall. From 1971 to 1979 the smaller room continued as a Rare Soul Venue but in 1981 the Mecca closed completely having fallen into a state of disrepair due to lack of investment. The legacy of the club has been secured by the people who played the music as certain DJ's played the rarest tunes fresh from the US. Anyone who love the rare tracks would be only able to hear them within the hallowed walls of the Mecca.

buy blackpool mecca albums

Buy Soul Survivors - The Story of Wigan Casino
manchester northern soul | edwin starr
Edwin Starr who made an appearance in the north " I am sure that a great many US artists would pay homage to the UK Northern Soul Scene. It has allowed us to still have some place to be."
- The Late Edwin Starr
Buy the Northern Soul Connoiseurs Album
Join our mailing list
buy the book northern soul top 500
click here to check out all the gigs this month in manchester
Buy  Northern Soul All Nighter Album
buy The Ultimate Northern Soul Album
The In Crowd - The Story of Northern Soul on CD
buy hobson's choice
buy the book too dam soulful
Buy  Northern Soul merchandise
Buy Northern Soul Floorshakers
Buy this is northern soul volume one
bid for northern soul memorabilia
Find the location of some of the latest Northern Soul Venues in the North West
buy the second 'this is northern soul' compillation
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