Northern soul singer Nolan Porter has died

The LA-born singer was known for such songs as 'If I Could Only Be Sure' and 'Keep On Keepin' On'

Nolan Porter, the acclaimed singer whose music rose to prominence as part of the UK’s northern soul movement in the 1970s, has died.

Porter’s death earlier this week has been confirmed by multiple sources today (February 5), as Clash notes. He was 71.

The LA-born singer, who also released music under the monikers Nolan, N.F. Porter and Frederick II, was best known for his songs ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ and ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’, both of which became popular northern soul hits in the 1970s.

He released two albums – 1970’s ‘No Apologies’ and 1972’s ‘Nolan’ – during his career, and continued working as a musician and comedian up until his death.

Porter’s ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ provided the inspiration for the riff heard on Joy Division‘s ‘Interzone’, which featured on the band’s debut album ‘Unknown Pleasures’ in 1979, after the band (then known as Warsaw) recorded their own version of Nolan’s track the previous year.

Paul Weller covered Porter’s ‘If I Could Only Be Sure’ for his 2004 covers album ‘Studio 150’, and the two artists later performed on stage together in 2015.

A number of tributes to Porter have been posted on social media since the news of his passing has emerged – you can see a selection of the tributes below.

Posted by 6Ts Rhythm and Soul Society on Friday, February 5, 2021