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Young Soul Rebels A Personal History of Northern Soul by Stuart Cosgrove

Young Soul Rebels A Personal History of Northern Soul

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Northern Soul isn't just a music genre, it's a way of life and one that intensely encompasses and overpowers those that fall for it's high energy 'stomping' - dancing. Young Soul Rebels is part personal autobiography of the acclaimed music journalist and presenter Stuart Cosgrove, part biography of the music, fans, DJs, venues and musicians, and part social history. Every song, person, place and event is richly and significantly described.

It's passionately and emotionally written with a depth of information that is expertly woven into the story, which informs but never gets in the way of the drive of it's narrative. You can't but help to want to play Northern Soul music whilst reading Stuart's excellent book. The true test for any great book on music.

The book journeys through the defining years of Northern Soul - the 1960s through to the 1980s (and it's later rebirth) and it's backdrop is the decline and decay of the industrial north of England. But against this is the driving power of Northern Soul music.It kept the disposed alive, awake and stomping.

At the heart of Northern Soul is the the hunt for that mega rare seven inch single, with an addictive beat and heartfelt lyric and then the pilgrimage to the 'all nighters' in jam-packed, drug-fuelled, sweaty clubs. To say that you had to be obsessive to be a true Northern Soul fan is an understatement and it's a music genre that those that love it want kept secret and underground, even to this day. The beauty is, for a lot of people, this book really shines a light on a time, people and music that most people know little of.

It's time to go searching for the young soul rebels.' ~ Anthony Keates

June 2016 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

‘One of the most exciting books I've worked on in years. Okay, the most exciting book. Stuart was a joy to work with. He buzzes with ideas and infectious energy, and this jumps off the page. Memoir, true crime, music biog, social history, political history: you've got the lot. This will become the bible for northern soul fans.’ Alison Rae, Managing Editor, Polygon


Young Soul Rebels A Personal History of Northern Soul by Stuart Cosgrove

Nothing will ever compare to the amphetamine rush of my young life and the night I was nearly buggered by my girlfriend's uncle in the Potteries...The opening line of Stuart Cosgrove's Young Soul Rebel sets up a compelling and intimate story of northern soul, Britain's most fascinating musical underground scene, and takes the reader on a journey into the iconic clubs that made it famous - The Twisted Wheel, The Torch, Wigan Casino, Blackpool Mecca and Cleethorpes Pier - the bootleggers that made it infamous, the splits that threatened to divide the scene, the great unknown records that built its global reputation and the crate-digging collectors that travelled to America to unearth unknown sounds.The book sweeps across fifty years of British life and places the northern soul scene in a social context - the rise of amphetamine culture, the policing of youth culture, the north-south divide, the decline of coastal Britain, the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry, the rise of Thatcherism, the miners' strike, the rave scene and music in the era of the world wide web.Books have been written about northern soul before but never with the same erudition and passion. Young Soul Rebel nails a scene that is as popular today as it was in its heyday in the 1970s.


'Sheer poetry ... it truly is a personal history, but it weaves its way through our own history as well. Buy the book, you won't regret it' - Dave Rimmer,'

About the Author

Stuart Cosgrove, originally from Perth, was a fanzine writer on the northern soul scene before joining the black music paper Echoes, as a staff writer. He became media editor with the NME and a feature writer for a range of newspapers and magazines. A graduate of Hull University, he completed a PhD in modern American theatre history. In 2005 he was named Broadcaster of the Year in the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards and in 2012 he won numerous awards including a BAFTA and Royal Television Society award for Channel 4's coverage of the London Paralympics 2012.

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Book Info

Publication date

19th May 2016


Stuart Cosgrove

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


320 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Soul & R 'n' B



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