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 Rebels 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 Rebels nails a scene that is as popular today as it was in its heyday in the 1970s.
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.