Valerie Simpson

Valerie Simpson - Silly, wasn't I

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Valerie Simpson is a song writer and performer. She was the Simpson in the Motown song writing duo – Ashford and Simpson who also performed as a duo.

Let’s Go Get Stoned – 1964 for Ray Charles

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – 1966 for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel

Ashford and Simpson – Wikipedia

Valerie Simpson
Valerie Simpson

Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham

Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham - I'm Your Puppet (HQ)

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Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham were the great song writing duo who wrote: I’m Your Puppet.

Their first song for FAME studios was James Barnett’s Keep On Talking.

They wrote or contributed to the writing of lots of Soulful songs:

Sweet Inspiration – The Sweet Inspirations.

Do Right Woman, Do Right Man – Aretha Franklin

It Tears Me Up – Percy Sledge

Dark End Of The Street – James Carr

You Left The Water Running – Maurice and Mac

I’m Your Puppet – James and Bobby Purify

All Soulful slow songs and much more popular at the time in the late sixties at The Blue Note club in Manchester, but did get played mid-week at The Twisted Wheel.

Wikipedia: Dan Penn

Wikipedia: Spooner Oldham

Leroy Hutson

Love Oh Love

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Ella Weez
Love Oh Love

Great stuff this one from Leroy Hutson made in 1974 and re-released in 1996 due to Northern Soul demand.

Wikipedia: Leroy Hutson

Shuggie Otis

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information (Audio Only)

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Inspiration Information (1973)

FABULOUS – from the son of Johnny Otis – Shuggie Otis – the man who got Blues and Soul going single handedly!

Wikipedia: Shuggie Otis

Ken Williams

Ken Williams - Come Back

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Come Back

With that Bashing, Smashing beat that the Northern Soulers loved so much. This time by Ken Williams.

Steve Karmen

The Steve Karmen Big Band Featuring Jimmy Radcliffe - Breakaway (Part I)

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BREAKAWAY (Part 1) 1968

The song by Steve Karmen features Jimmy Radcliffe.

Band leader, composer and advert jingle writer: Steve Karmen Wiki

Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie

Richard (Popcorn) Wylie - Rosemary, What Happened

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Song writer and record producer.

Did you notice the writer’s name? And the producer’s name? a mark of excellence Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie, nothing he did was ever bad, if we could find records with his name on them we would try to buy, borrow, import or steal them. Due to knowing this name we bought an obscure new release in 1968 just based on him being the songwriter at a record shop in Manchester – we knew the owner, we bought lots of records from him and he let us look at all the latest release sheets. Mr Bowker at his shop on Rochdale Road Collyhurst. That record was Going To A Happening by a bloke we had never heard of: Tommy Neal. It was on the UK Vocalion label. Had we not known the name of the writer; we might have thought it was a Hippy song as at that time all things Hippy and their Happenings were in the news. That’s how this record came to be played FIRST at the Blue Note club in Manchester, followed by the Twisted Wheel long after it had caught on big at this rival club. The rest is history, now a standard, claimed by the Northern Soul’ers but this is the real story of its history.

Tommy Neal - Going To A Happening

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Going To A Happening

When you hear the term ‘Popcorn’ I guess it’s referring to his music and the style of it in the Soul genre.

He was a prolific SOUL Songwriter. The records he made or contributed to or produced are as numerous as the stars so we won’t list them here as other sources have already done a good job (see links at foot of the page). But here is one:

Rosemary What Happened: this gets into Kev Roberts Top 500 at position 470. Apparently associated or attempted to be so with the film Rosemary’s Baby.

Incidental if you look at the Golden World history there is little doubt that as well as the Funk Brothers some of the Motown staff musicians and writers , certainly Richard Wylie did work for Ed Wingate: it made Berry Gordy furious. He bought out the company. Some hints of Berry’s attitude around the early Motown times is told in a book by his second wife: BERRY, Me, And MOTOWN  by Ramona Gordy singleton.

Richard Wylie’s I SPY

The Ideals with MIGHTY LOVER another great Richard Wylie song.

It goes on, on and on:

Jimmy Soul Clark – Sweet Darlin

The Independent Newspaper


A whole string of great Soul musical achievements from Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie – he co-wrote Agent Double-0 Soul, Back Street, Girls Are Gettin’ Prettier, My Weakness Is You, Time.

He produced Custer’s Last Stand, REAL GOOD LOVIN’, Rosemary What Happened, Lost Time. He co-wrote With This Ring for the Platters and Washed Ashore. He also recorded himself – Move Over Babe – the list just goes on, on and on. You can see him interviewed on the CD Set The Strange World Of Northern Soul.

In 1959 he joined Motown as a writer. He already knew Robert Bateman and was the bandleader for Motown’s early tours. In 1961 as Popcorn and The Mohawks he had a few early releases on Motown.

He played piano on  MoneyPlease Mr Postman and Shop Around.

IN 1962 he moved to Correc-tone and Continental. Then on to Golden World. Golden World and Wingate Records, owned by Ed Wingate, were Motown’s biggest competitors and in the same city. ‘ith Richard Wylie moving there and with his own backing musicians (The Funk Brothers) moonlighting over there, Berry Gordy got mad. To this day lots of tracks from this period are still in the archives. Gordy bought out the entire company from Ed Wingate, and a lot of the artists there were left without distribution of their work. (See The Dark Side Of Motown). His story is covered in the Strange World of Northern Soul and he even did a song for Betty Boo.

He released a CD in his own right: Extrasensory Perception

Ashford And Simpson

Ashford & Simpson - Solid

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Top Of The Stairs (1977)

Ashford And Simpson (Nicholas Ashford & Valerie Simpson) (married) songwriters. They were Motown staff songwriters mainly for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

They also recorded in their own right: Top of the Stairs is really good and another pop hit for them was: Solid As A Rock.

Keep It Coming was a record from Valerie after the death of her husband.

They wrote many Soul songs including Mr Creator by The Appollas. Collins & Collins who had a hit also with “Top Of The Stairs.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson with ex- Ikette Jo Armstead wrote Let’s Go Get Stoned for Ray Charles, Nothing I wouldn’t Do – For Betty Everett and Never Had It So Good – for Ronnie Milsap. In 1967 they began song writing for Motown and wrote classics soul tracks including:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough You’re All I Need To Get By Onion Song

(all sung by Marvin Gaye and  Tammi Terrell)

Remember Me sung by Diana Ross

Nick wrote I Dont Need No Doctor – for Ray Charles

Nickolas ‘Nick’ Ashford (b. 4th May 1942, Fairfield, South Carolina, U.S.A.) and Valerie Simpson (b. 26th August 1946, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.).

Nick Simpson

Died: Monday, 30th June 2014 from throat cancer

Wikipedia: Ashford and Simpson

Clarence Paul


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Born  19th March 1928 – Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Died  6th May 1993 – Los Angeles

Clarence Paul was a Motown Producer and Song Writers and one time member of the Five Royales (Baby Don’t Do It, – Help Me Somebody). Produced hits for Stevie Wonder, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye amongst others.

Clarence Paul
Clarence Paul

Wikipedia: Clarence Paul

Chips Moman

Chips Moman Tribute

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Chips Moman was the producer of many soul artists e.g. Bobby Womack. He became one of the main producers at Stax writing several hits including Gee Whiz for Carla Thomas. He left in 1964 after a dispute which ended with Chips  successfully suing Stax. He used the money to set up his own studios, American Sound Studios. With Dan Penn, he wrote several soul classics including Do Right Woman for Aretha Franklin.

As can been seen from the photo below, he was well connected.

Chips Moman with Elvis
Chips Moman with Elvis