David Mancuso: “It was like the civil rights movement: the more people you had marching the better it was.”

Today (14 November) marks three years since the passing of one of the most influential DJs in the history of popular music, New York native David Mancuso.

Long before the Paradise Garage or Studio 54 ushered in a new era for clubbing, Mancuso’s private parties at 647 Broadway – a location (along with subsequent venue 99 Prince Street) which would become known as The Loft – quickly became the stuff of legend, attracting those looking for a more exhilarating alternative to the commercial nightspot.


The early motto of the now-famous private parties was ‘Love Saves The Day’ – both a nod to the anything-goes music policy, and the plentiful supply of lysergic acid (Mancuso is also reportedly famed with introducing ‘blotter acid’ to New York, and by proxy, the world). 🙂

As Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton put it in their 1999 history of dance music, Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, “If disco – and the music which came after – has an angel, it is the raggedy figure of David Mancuso. If it has a birthplace, it is his club, the Loft.

More influential than any nightclub before or since, it was the place where the music you dance to today, and the places you go to do it, were first envisaged.”

Or as legendary spinner Greg Wilson put it in a fantastic article on Mancuso’s legacy, published on his blog, “The Loft would set the standard for sound reproduction within a party space, Mancuso’s ear for detail and never ending quest for sonic purity ensuring that the fruits of his ongoing endeavours in the pursuit of aural excellence would be subsequently applied at the more serious-minded venues in New York and beyond.”

High praise indeed. Mancuso, alongside Colleeen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, released two compilations, David Mancuso Presents The Loft, Volumes One and Two on the Nuphonic label, which sought to capture the unique energy of those fabled nights – Ashford & Simpson rub shoulders with Fingers Inc, Patti Labelle and Manu Dibango’s epic Soul Makossa.

And building on that legacy, Spotify user Adrian Hoenicke has compiled a truly outstanding compilation of tracks rinsed by Mancuso between 1975 and 1984… weighing in at 25 hours and 25 minutes, there’s enough here to keep you dancing till the weekend. And then some.

RIP David Mancuso – October 20, 1944 – November 14, 2016.

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