David Mancuso  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"What was underground music like in 1970?"

"Basically R and B, what they called R and B. Anything that was danceable, it's hard to categorize individually. The crossover music was there. Also there was the influence of stuff like the Stones, Zeppelin, Brian Auger, groups like that, there was a good amount of crossover music, it certainly wasn't looked at as disco. [Then] disco happened. I think part of what happened was the twelve inch came in. Deejays would take a record like Scorpio which has a nice little drum thing in the middle, and take two forty fives and they would keep going back and forth and they would expand the time on the thing. And that became the twelve inch." -- David Mancuso on underground music in 1970 via Richard Nixon, Underground News - issue #19[1]

Related e



David Mancuso (October 20, 1944 – November 14, 2016) was an American disk jockey who created the popular "by invitation only" parties in New York City, which later became known as "The Loft". The first party, called 'Love Saves the Day', was in 1970.

Mancuso pioneered the "private party" as distinct from the more commercial nightclub business model. In the early 1970s, Mancuso won a long administrative trial when the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that he was not selling food or beverages to the public and therefore did not need a NYC "Cabaret License".

Mancuso's success at keeping his parties "underground" and legal inspired others, and many famous private discotheques of the 1970s and 1980s were modeled after The Loft, including the Paradise Garage, The Gallery, and The Saint. Mancuso also helped start the record pool system for facilitating the distribution of promotional records to the qualified disc jockey. Elements of Mancuso's influence can also be seen in the famous nightly scene outside of New York City's Studio 54, where legendary owner Steve Rubell understood the appeal of selectivity and took Mancuso's "invitation only" idea and expanded it to ridiculous, and ridiculously effective, extremes. Some nights Rubell would famously keep almost everyone standing outside and only admit 100 patrons or so. The effect was to make admittance to 54 even more sought after, increasing the club's popularity exponentially over the course of the mid and late 1970's.


Before hosting his first Loft party in 1970, Mancuso was playing records for his friends on a semi-regular basis as early as 1966. These parties became so popular that by 1971 he and Steve Abramowitz, who worked the door, decided to do this on a weekly basis. These parties were similar to rent party or house party.

By the late 1970s Mancuso abandoned audio mixing, beatmatching, and pitch-shifting in favour of an "audiophile" approach to sound reproduction.

In 1999 and 2000, Mancuso and Colleen Murphy produced the compilation series David Mancuso Presents The Loft, Volumes One and Two on Nuphonic. But even before that, there was the bootleg series Loft Classics.

In 2003, British journalist and lecturer Tim Lawrence published an influential and comprehensive study of the New York roots of modern dance music culture that placed Mancuso at its narrative center. Entitled Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979, the book highlights the influence of Mancuso's late 1960s and early 1970s Loft parties on every major figure in the New York dance music scene, including Robert Williams, founder of Chicago's Warehouse and Muzic Box, Nicky Siano founder of the Gallery, Larry Levan DJ at the Garage, Tony Humphries founder of Zanzibar, among numerous others. His first major loft party, called "Love Saves The Day", was held Saturday, February 14, 1970, at 647 Broadway. The importance of Mancuso and The Loft are also chronicled in Josell Ramos' documentary, Maestro (2003), a Garage and Levan-centered narrative of New York dance music culture in the 1970s and 1980s.

On September 19, 2005, Mancuso was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement as a DJ.

On December 23, 2006, a nightclub named after Mancuso opened in Tübingen, in southern Germany.

In May 2008, David Mancuso, with the help of Goshi Manabe, Colleen Murphy, and Satoru Ogawa, launched his own audiophile record label, The Loft Audiophile Library of Music. The music is mastered by Stan Ricker.

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

Personal tools