Twisted Wheel  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Twisted Wheel was a nightclub in Manchester, England, open from 1963 to 1971. It was one of the first clubs to play what became known as northern soul.

The club was a converted warehouse, with a coffee snack bar on the ground floor and a series of rooms in the cellar area. These lower rooms hosted the stage and caged disc jockey area, along with the main dance room. Back-lighted iron wheels decorated the simple painted brick walls. The owner, Ivor Abadi, ran the club without an alcohol license; serving only soft drinks and snacks. All night sessions were held each Saturday, from 11pm through to Sunday 7:30am.

DJs played rare and uptempo soul music, bluebeat and Motown Records songs. There were also stage performances by touring soul artists at 2 am. This may have been the first northern soul venue. Other northern soul clubs included the Golden Torch, Blackpool Mecca, and the Wigan Casino.

The Twisted Wheel had two locations in Manchester during its existence; one on Brazenose Street (which was a rhythm and blues mod venue, with Roger Eagle as DJ. The Whitworth Street venue was more soul-oriented. In more recent times, nostalgia soul nights have been held in the original Whitworth Street location.

Northern soul

Prior to the opening of the Twisted Wheel, most UK nightclubs played mod-related music such as soul and R&B. Twisted Wheel DJs and local entrepreneurs started to import large quantities of soul records directly from the United States. Until the closure of the Twisted Wheel, it was one of the only places to hear rare soul music, which helped give the club its distinctive atmosphere.

Many of the records played at the Twisted Wheel were rare even in in the United States, and some may only have been released in one city. At the time, in addition to records released by larger record companies, there was a huge number of soul releases by a wide variety of artists on a multiplicity of obscure, independent labels. The sheer volume of material meant most were unable to get airtime or proper distribution, resulting in high-quality records being commercially unsuccessful. This vast reservoir of creativity may well have been lost had it not been for those early Twisted Wheel DJs. Many records that had an enthusiastic audience in the UK soul scene were unknown or forgotten in the United States.

Following a visit to the Twisted Wheel in 1970, music journalist Dave Godin noted that the music and scene at the club, and in Northern England in general, was quite different to the music played in London. From this, the expression northern soul became accepted as a description of this particular genre and subculture.[1]

2002 reopening

In 2002, the Twisted Wheel Club reopened at the Whitworth Street venue, on the final Friday of every month. It featuring the original DJ playlists, and many of the visitors were original members, such as Alan Trotter and John Watson.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Twisted Wheel" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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