Long before the days of MP3s and music streaming services, local British DJs would travel around the world to find rare and obscure vinyl records of unheard or unsigned bands playing soul and Motown music. The mecca of which many of these discoveries were found were in Detroit Michigan, which was the epicenter of the Motown movement.
Upon returning to the UK these DJs would introduce their recent discoveries into their sets at such famous Northern Soul clubs as the Twisted Wheel and Wigans Casino, where these rare tunes would explode in popularity overnight due to their catchy hooks and undeniable danceability.
With no radio play and going by only world of mouth these songs would explode in popularity overnight. People would travel far and wide to all-nighter dance parties and wait anxiously to hear the songs all their friends have been talking about.
If you were a DJ that owned these precious vinyl records you had it made. And eventually these songs took on a life of their own and the American musicians who sang them became superstars overnight in the UK without even knowing it.
Due to the uplifting beats and fast tempos, as well as the obscurity of the songs themselves which seemingly were thumbing their nose at the disco and pop music that were topping the charts in the south. The music provided a sanctuary for young working class Brits to meet up and dance the weekends away before having to heading back to the working life or the remainder of the week.
Over time the Northern Soul genre became the counter culture, complete with its own form of fashion and dance. Fred Perry polo Ts, Baggy pants and Lambretta scooters were the fashion statement of choice and eventually would give birth to the Mod scene and brit pop scene, which is still popular today.