David Edward Godin, born on 21 June 1936 in Peckham, London, was an English man with a profound love for American soul music. He is remembered for his significant contribution in spreading awareness and understanding of the genre and, by extension, African-American culture worldwide.

Growing up, David Godin spent his early childhood in Peckham before moving to Bexleyheath, Kent, due to bombing. He won a scholarship to Dartford Grammar School, where he began collecting American R&B records. He was instrumental in encouraging a young Mick Jagger’s interest in black American music. Despite his role in the early jam sessions that led to the formation of the Rolling Stones, he resented Jagger for what he perceived as the exploitation of black music by the band.

After working at an advertising agency and as a hospital porter in place of National Service (as he was a conscientious objector), Godin founded the Tamla Motown Appreciation Society. Berry Gordy later recruited him to become Motown’s consultant in the UK, where he set up its distribution through EMI. At a recording of Ready Steady Go! in 1964, Jagger asked Godin to introduce him to Marvin Gaye, to which Godin curtly replied, “I told him to f*ck off and introduce himself.”

In 1967, Godin founded Soul City, a record shop that later turned into a record label, where he released soul classics like “Go Now” by Bessie Banks, along with colleague David Nathan and friend Robert Blackmore. It was in this shop that Godin coined the term ‘northern soul,’ a phrase that he popularised through his work as a music journalist. According to Godin, he had first come up with the term in 1968 as a sales reference to help staff in his shop differentiate the more modern funkier sounds from the smoother, Motown-influenced soul of a few years earlier.

In his career, Godin also coined the term “Deep Soul” and promoted the interests of many American musicians whose work had fallen out of favour in their home country.