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Dave Godin (1936 - 2004)

Related: 1936 - 2004

Related: DJs - Tamla Motown - Northern Soul - UK music

Dave @ Soul City 1968

At a recording of 'Ready Steady Go!' in 1964, the already famous Mick Jagger asked Godin to introduce him to the Tamla-Motown singer Marvin Gaye, whom Godin, by now Tamla's representative in the UK, was with. "I told him to fuck off and introduce himself," Godin recalled. --The Independent


David Edward Godin (b Peckham, London, June 21, 1936 - d Rotherham, England, October 15, 2004) was an English fan of American soul music, who made a major contribution internationally in spreading awareness and understanding of the genre, and by extension African-American culture. Godin began collecting American R&B records when at Dartford school, where he is said to have introduced the younger Mick Jagger to black American music. After working at an advertising agency and a hospital, he founded the Tamla Motown Appreciation Society, and in time was recruited by Berry Gordy to become Motown's consultant in the UK, setting up its distribution through EMI. In 1968, he founded Soul City, a record shop and label on which he released such then-obscure soul classics as Go Now by Bessie Banks. As a music journalist with Blues & Soul magazine, he coined the terms northern soul and Deep Soul, and promoted the interests of a large number of American musicians whose work had fallen out of favour in their home country. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Godin [Sept 2006]

Coined Northern Soul

Soul record guru Dave Godin (21st June 1936 - 15th October 2004) actually first coined the phrase 'Northern Soul' sometime around 1971 when writing his column in Blues and Soul magazine.

"Northern Soul is a term was originally coined to describe 'rare soul of the type enjoyed the North of England'"

the mid 60's, Britain began embracing American Soul music, the Motown sound appealed more than earlier 60's soul records that been hits in the states. A club scene built up around the country that was dedicated to dancing to these records (which included Motown and other sounds from Detroit).

The rest of England moved on to either Funk or Progressive Rock, hardcore soul fans in the North stayed with fast, four-beat dance music; searching out ever more rare examples of the sound they loved.


North of England

A record shop owner in London named Dave Godin noticed that a lot of the youths coming down from the north of England to attend football matches, or simply visit London were more interested in the 1960's-style soul output, or the 1970's soul that still sounded 'soul' not 'funk', than the newer and more fashionable music. He coined the term Northern Soul as a convenient pigeonhole to define to his colleagues a type of music these young northerners would be looking for.


"Maybe there are some who read this in the Southern part of Britain who find it hard to understand just why I rave so much about the Northern Soul scene, and perhaps this is because they have never been there and seen it first hand for themselves, because believe me, there just is no equivalent in the South, and until youíve been there I donít think any mere written word can fully convey to you that special and unique vibration that generates amongst the brothers and sisters there. I only wish it were easier for people to get there so that they could experience it for themselves, but if you do decide to make it to the Blackpool Mecca one weekend then take my word for it that youíll find a warm welcome there, and a nicer crowd of swingers and friends it would be hard to imagine! Until August 21st 1971 I had always thought of Blackpool as The Tower, but from then on in I shall always and forever remember it as The Mecca ó Soul Heaven here on earth, and a pious pilgrimage that I would urge all the faithful to undertake as often as they possibly can. Keep the faith - right on now! Blackpool and The Mecca await you! My deepest thanks to you all."
Dave Godin 1971

Soul City

..before the term actually appeared in print I had been using it for at least three years merely as a shorthand description for the kind of records customers from the North of England would be most likely to buy when they heard them. (We had a record shop at the time called "Soul City", and had to audition records inside the store because they never got any airplay on UK radio). I never dreamt at the time that it would pass over into general circulation.

So often in life things which go on into generalised usage get their prosaic orgins forgotten. (Just as the term "Uptight" completely reversed it's meaning over a few years). I've met people who actually believe that I somehow sat down one day and said, "I'm going to invent a generic term that will pass into the English language." If only!

...unlike London and Home Counties customers, I found that folk from the North didn't seem interested in the sides that were then making the US Soul charts, which were definitely moving in the direction of what we subsequently called "Funk", and so I coined the term to designate certain sides as "Northern Soul" so that we knew which sides to audition for Northern customers. The term somehow infiltrated over the counter, although not without some misunderstanding....--Dave Godin

Coined amphetasoul

Amphetasoul was another term coined by Dave Godin, and it would refer to the use of illegal drugs at many of these venues, especially amphetamines.

It was inevitable that the all-nighter scene would attract the use of 'speed'. The dancing culture of the Northern Soul Scene would also make it 'necessary' for many people to use drugs to keep up the pace for 9 hours or so.

However, drugs would soon become The Twisted Wheel's downfall and in January 1971 it closed as a result of pressure from police and magistrates.

The scene would then move to places like the Torch in Tunstall; but the scourge would follow. Blues and Soul magazine, in particular, would plead with their readers to stay clear of drugs in a bid to keep venues open.


There is no doubt that the Northern Soul scene is the forerunner of today's rave culture. -- David Meikle, Glasgow, Scotland


  1. Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures: Taken From Our Vaults, Vol. 1 [IMPORT] - Various Artists [Amazon US]
    Leslie from Detroit, MI Worth the cover price for "It's Not That Easy" by Reuben Bell & The Casanovas alone. The haunting guitar figure and Reuben's heartfelt cries make this a must-hear when I've had a few. I'm sure you know what I mean. The rest of it is great too. It's almost unbelievable how much raw, unknown talent coursed through the veins of this great country of ours way back in the day. Thank God crazed obsessives like Sir Godin have devoted their lives and untold piles of cash to unearthing these unheard classics.

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