Motor bikes, motor scooters, and soul music: Ring any bells?
I guess outside of the UK probably not. During the mid-sixties the latest sub-culture of British teens was starting to come to prominence. After the Teddy boy era which sprang up in the fifties to the beginning of the sixties with the advent of Rock and Roll, things had quietened down somewhat.
Until, that is the mid sixties, Rock and Roll music was still at the forefront of the youth culture and The Beatles and Rolling Stones were storming the music scene.
During this period Modernists, or Mods, as they preferred to be called were coming to prominence. With their love of R&B music, amphetamine taking during all night music concerts, trendy Italian style clothing, fur-lined parkas and shiny Lambretta and Vespa scooters adorned with multiple mirrors and spot lights, it was a lifestyle the girls of the time found very attractive and developed their own compatible dress style.
At the other end of the spectrum were the Rockers; high powered motor cycles, Triumph, Norton, AJS and BSA Goldstar the most popular before the Japanese bikes began making inroads. Greasy jeans and motorcycle boots, studded leather jackets and crash helmets were the style for him and her in the Rockers social scene.
Both groups proliferated quickly and violent clashes and riots occurred at beaches along the British South Coast, Brighton, Margate, and Clacton saw their fair share of trouble. It took the police nearly two years to contain these clashes with jail sentences and heavy fines metered out to the main ringleaders.
While this was going on in the UK, in the States Soul music was becoming increasingly prominent with Tamla and Motown record labels producing a new type of soul music, before they incorporated to become Motown in 1960.
As the Mods of the late sixties started to drift away from their original R&B sound a new soul sound was taking off in the North of England. Based on American Black Soul Music the “Motown sound” is the backbone of Northern Soul.
Many household stars like, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, Mary Wells, Michael Jackson and more modern day artists like Pixie Lott, Blue October and Shontelle to name a few.
Clubs all over the North of England were opening up to “All Nighters” Clubs like The Twisted Wheel, Manchester, Highland Rooms, at Blackpool and Wigan Casino, all running Northern Soul all-nighters starting early evening and closing six or seven in the morning.
When the Wigan Casino finally closed its doors in 1981 it was thought Northern Soul was in decline but it defied the sceptics. With many less significant singers, old re-releases, and new compilations coming on the market, Northern Soul is very much alive. The many fan clubs and associations committed to this music keep scores of clubs around the UK busy on dedicated Northern Soul Nights.
Here on Tenerife there are many small and large bars and venues catering for Northern Soul fans. The majority of the acts are soul singers, and Motown pounds out from the speakers between shows, allowing the audience plenty of dance time.
Two of the larger venues, in association with clubs in the UK, organise ten days of total Northern Soul twice yearly. Northern Soul day and night, attracting hundreds of UK fans, DJs and Acts, who come to take part in daytime sleeping, and all night singing, dancing, and partying.
A British expat who has lived on this Island of Tenerife for over twelve years.A full time freelance writer, most of my time is spent article writing. I also write on D2C, Writedge, and wherever takes my fancy. For fun I try to increase my portfolio of short stories, with a view to eventually getting them published.