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Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979

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Opening with David Mancuso's seminal “Love Saves the Day” Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s—from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell’s Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America’s suburbs and urban hotspots such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Opening with David Mancuso's seminal “Love Saves the Day” Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s—from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell’s Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America’s suburbs and urban hotspots such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark, and Miami. Tales of nocturnal journeys, radical music making, and polymorphous sexuality flow through the arteries of Love Saves the Day like hot liquid vinyl. They are interspersed with a detailed examination of the era’s most powerful djs, the venues in which they played, and the records they loved to spin—as well as the labels, musicians, vocalists, producers, remixers, party promoters, journalists, and dance crowds that fueled dance music’s tireless engine. Love Saves the Day includes material from over three hundred original interviews with the scene's most influential players, including David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Tom Moulton, Loleatta Holloway, Giorgio Moroder, Francis Grasso, Frankie Knuckles, and Earl Young. It incorporates more than twenty special dj discographies—listing the favorite records of the most important spinners of the disco decade—and a more general discography cataloging some six hundred releases. Love Saves the Day also contains a unique collection of more than seventy rare photos.


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Opening with David Mancuso's seminal “Love Saves the Day” Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s—from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell’s Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America’s suburbs and urban hotspots such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Opening with David Mancuso's seminal “Love Saves the Day” Valentine's party, Tim Lawrence tells the definitive story of American dance music culture in the 1970s—from its subterranean roots in NoHo and Hell’s Kitchen to its gaudy blossoming in midtown Manhattan to its wildfire transmission through America’s suburbs and urban hotspots such as Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark, and Miami. Tales of nocturnal journeys, radical music making, and polymorphous sexuality flow through the arteries of Love Saves the Day like hot liquid vinyl. They are interspersed with a detailed examination of the era’s most powerful djs, the venues in which they played, and the records they loved to spin—as well as the labels, musicians, vocalists, producers, remixers, party promoters, journalists, and dance crowds that fueled dance music’s tireless engine. Love Saves the Day includes material from over three hundred original interviews with the scene's most influential players, including David Mancuso, Nicky Siano, Tom Moulton, Loleatta Holloway, Giorgio Moroder, Francis Grasso, Frankie Knuckles, and Earl Young. It incorporates more than twenty special dj discographies—listing the favorite records of the most important spinners of the disco decade—and a more general discography cataloging some six hundred releases. Love Saves the Day also contains a unique collection of more than seventy rare photos.

30 review for Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    As a young club kid going out at the Paradise Garage during the summer of 1986 I didn't care two hoots about the deep background of Disco or house or Garage music movement. All I cared about was the music. Anybody who was there will tell you that larry Levan was one of the best DJs in the business. One of my most vivid memories was my first night there listening to a song entitled '7 Ways (to make you Jack)' by a guy named Hercules. The song wasn't sung, it was spoken in a deep, husky, almost sib As a young club kid going out at the Paradise Garage during the summer of 1986 I didn't care two hoots about the deep background of Disco or house or Garage music movement. All I cared about was the music. Anybody who was there will tell you that larry Levan was one of the best DJs in the business. One of my most vivid memories was my first night there listening to a song entitled '7 Ways (to make you Jack)' by a guy named Hercules. The song wasn't sung, it was spoken in a deep, husky, almost sibilant hiss. There were 7 directions the dancers were to follow. I'm dancing with my then boyfriend, really freaking out over the music, the sheer numbers of people on the dance floor and the just the whole outrageous vibe of the place. When I notice that next two us was this lesbian couple. They were both tall, gorgeous, wearing black catsuits and following the directions of the song. When Hercules got to number 7 Lose complete mental control and begin to Jack, the two women did exactly that. It remains probably the stand-out moment in my young, club going life. And from there I was completely hooked into the Paradise Garage experience. Now years later, I am older, married and with two children, I see that this book has been written that talks about the back history of not only the whole disco movement but includes its outgrowth into House Music and Garage music. Sadly, the garage closed its doors a year later and Larry Levan has passed away. But it is gratifying to read and learn about the history of the music I adore, the people who were responsible for it and to revisit, through the pages of the book a place and an experience of an entire summer more than 20 years ago when I had probably the best time of my young life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mccrary

    As a child of four to the floor and an unabashed dance music lover, this book covered a lot of territory about the roots dance culture my younger knees loved so much. If you're not a real dance music fan, it can be a little inside baseball. It's also a great snapshot of how what we know as "disco" emerged and what that looked like to the underground dance scene. It also has some great gems for the Chicago house contingent and for those who remember hearing about the Loft in its heyday in NYC. Th As a child of four to the floor and an unabashed dance music lover, this book covered a lot of territory about the roots dance culture my younger knees loved so much. If you're not a real dance music fan, it can be a little inside baseball. It's also a great snapshot of how what we know as "disco" emerged and what that looked like to the underground dance scene. It also has some great gems for the Chicago house contingent and for those who remember hearing about the Loft in its heyday in NYC. There are some small fails with regard continually referring to the "tribal" experience of dance and some other weird moments of exotic othering, but aside from that it's a solid work of dance music history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This is a 500-page history of dance music by an Englishman, mainly about New York in the 70s, with particular emphasis on the DJs and where they played, interestingly structured in 10 chapters, one per year of the decade. The cut-off is not abrupt or arbitrary; there is some great stuff about the rise of the Chicago House scene and even Detroit techno is a glimmer in its parents' collective eye. Covering the earliest underground loft parties to the ascendance of the giant disco club (exemplified This is a 500-page history of dance music by an Englishman, mainly about New York in the 70s, with particular emphasis on the DJs and where they played, interestingly structured in 10 chapters, one per year of the decade. The cut-off is not abrupt or arbitrary; there is some great stuff about the rise of the Chicago House scene and even Detroit techno is a glimmer in its parents' collective eye. Covering the earliest underground loft parties to the ascendance of the giant disco club (exemplified by Studio 54) as a worldwide economic juggernaut, the book has all the scholarly apparatus (end-notes, bibliography) of the PhD thesis that it may have been, but is stylistically very accessible. A certain number of books about this era are somewhat self-serving autobiographies by record company executives (Mel Cheren's Keep On Dancin' comes right to mind). This one by contrast is focused on the DJs and clubs. There is plenty of analysis of the evolution of recorded dance music itself, but the innovations of DJs as remixers and live performers is central and the design and aesthetics of the actual clubs has probably never been so well examined. There are certainly points where the welter of detail is a bit overwhelming - the exact type of speakers and amplifiers used at various places, the constantly changing home base of a dozen peripatetic freelancers, and the internal politics of the first couple of DJ record pools. There's also a useful amount of sociological and economic analyis - DJs as frequently exploited entrepreneurial free agents who displaced the unionized musicians who might have been found in a New York nightspot a decade earlier, plus the uneasy alliances of Italian- and African-Americans, gay and straight crowds and so on. The book comes with an extensive discography, though a couple of CDs full of the actual music, especially rare remixes, would be fantastic but presumably the copyright licensing hurdles would have been insuperable.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alvaro

    Si intentara imaginar el libro perfecto sobre la música disco, sería diez veces peor que Love Saves the Day. El recorrido que hace el autor desde las primeras fiestas en Nueva York hasta que el género se empieza a disolver en distintos subgéneros electrónicos es apasionante y vibrante. Los protagonistas aparecen continuamente para dar su versión de los hechos, y dan diversas playlists para poder escuchar lo que podría escucharse en el Loft o el Sanctuary. Es un documento que no solo es capaz de Si intentara imaginar el libro perfecto sobre la música disco, sería diez veces peor que Love Saves the Day. El recorrido que hace el autor desde las primeras fiestas en Nueva York hasta que el género se empieza a disolver en distintos subgéneros electrónicos es apasionante y vibrante. Los protagonistas aparecen continuamente para dar su versión de los hechos, y dan diversas playlists para poder escuchar lo que podría escucharse en el Loft o el Sanctuary. Es un documento que no solo es capaz de narrar la historia, si no prácticamente sitúa al lector en la pista de baile. No hay aspecto que no se trate: la tecnología, las listas de éxitos, los DJs, los clubs, las discográficas, y por supuesto la música. Más que genial.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zeke

    Detailed, but readable count of the origination of NY Disco. Proves that Disco was indeed an organic phenomenon with roots in Motown & Philly soul and underground dance clubs--not a deviant musical aberration or the disposable pop trend that it is often remembered as. The end of the book begins to show how the disco culture traveled to Chicago and morphed into what is known as House. I can't wait for Tim Lawrence's follow-up volume which will delve into the more electronic evolutions of Acid Hou Detailed, but readable count of the origination of NY Disco. Proves that Disco was indeed an organic phenomenon with roots in Motown & Philly soul and underground dance clubs--not a deviant musical aberration or the disposable pop trend that it is often remembered as. The end of the book begins to show how the disco culture traveled to Chicago and morphed into what is known as House. I can't wait for Tim Lawrence's follow-up volume which will delve into the more electronic evolutions of Acid House and Detroit Techno.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Luis

    Really fantastic chronicle of the rise of nightclub culture and the "disco" sound. Disco in quotes because, as this book explains, the sound is much more than a 4/4, strings and cheesy hooks. Commendable in it's breadth, particularly the compilation of playlists for each club/dj/year. And, it's on Duke University Press, but Lawrence keeps the Levi-Strauss references to a bearable minimum.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Domenica

    I think I have read every book on disco and the history of dance music now, and this is definitely the best and most thorough of the lot. I also appreciate that it talks about some areas out of New York City, but than again you can't talk about the development of dance music culture without talking about Frankie Knuckles and Chicago. I also appreciate the books' examination of race and gender and class in the different clubs and how that was hugely important for the development of different club I think I have read every book on disco and the history of dance music now, and this is definitely the best and most thorough of the lot. I also appreciate that it talks about some areas out of New York City, but than again you can't talk about the development of dance music culture without talking about Frankie Knuckles and Chicago. I also appreciate the books' examination of race and gender and class in the different clubs and how that was hugely important for the development of different clubs. Some broader historical context would have helped this book further, as larger societal forces are mentioned only in passing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This is a great book. It takes you through the whole club scene in NYC starting in the early 70s through and including the death of disco in great detail. The epilogue was amazing....It basically tied everything together and how the music and club scene was formed and continued from the 70s basically through the 80s. Highly recommend reading this if you are into 70s, clubbing, disco music.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Owen Daniel

    An essential disco anthropology for anyone who wants to learn more about the original 'back in the day' at Paradise Garage, The Loft, Studio 54 et al. Features the origins of DJ and club culture and the emergence of house, thoughts from pioneers such as David Mancuso, Francois K, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles and peppered with frequent discographies throughout...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alexey

    A bit long-winded for my interest in music of the period. Too much ends up being an encyclopedic digest of period publications. Thanks, Tim , for the musical digest though - to get an idea of the less commercial hits of the period.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Shulman

    Long AF but a great history of disco music. Worth reading for the playlists alone.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Franz Schuier

    Must read for every historically interested dance music lover.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Phil Wildcroft

    A fantastic and engrossing dive into (mostly) New York 1970s club culture.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karl Miller

    Fantastic look at the dual rise of disco and punk in NYC in my personal favorite era of music

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sal

    Perhaps my 3 star review is tied to my level of interest in the subject, which truth be told was no match for 400+ exhaustively researched pages. I understand while others might find it essential. Also, the cattiness of many of the interviewees got tiring after awhile. Made it tough to differentiate genuine criticism from petty bickering and/or jealousy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book was amazing. Amazingly LONG and jam-packed with information, it was hard to continue sorting through it all and still retain a sense of entertainment while reading. And though at time, it did seem just that opposite, pedantic, like you had to be a true disciple of dance culture's roots, it was ultimately an edifying experience. Given my recent project of mastering the art of mixing dance music myself, I am infinitesimally grateful to myself that I sat down to learn all this. Thanks to This book was amazing. Amazingly LONG and jam-packed with information, it was hard to continue sorting through it all and still retain a sense of entertainment while reading. And though at time, it did seem just that opposite, pedantic, like you had to be a true disciple of dance culture's roots, it was ultimately an edifying experience. Given my recent project of mastering the art of mixing dance music myself, I am infinitesimally grateful to myself that I sat down to learn all this. Thanks to this book, I feel have not only an historical grasp on what the point and the role is of DJs within dance culture, but musically, my world has blossomed. With references to every song ever with a solid four-on-the-floor beat, the mixes and mashes, I am ready to get my hands on it all. All this because, like any other facet in life for me, I'd rather know the history behind what I'm experiencing and creating, rather than blindly going at it, playing songs for their sheer sensual pleasure. To play a song and know its history, that would be the ultimate goal in this DJing venture...we'll see how it pans out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Niall O'Conghaile

    Probably my favourite book ever? Non-fiction, definitely. This book appeals to me as a disco nerd, someone who is obsessed with the birth of dance culture and its history as a place for both queer and minority-ethnic expression. Tim Lawrence does an incredible job of shining a light onto one of the most overlooked corners of popular music history, with plenty of trivia and facts to keep disco nerds like me happy. But dry or boring it is most definitely not. Lawrence writes in a brilliant way tha Probably my favourite book ever? Non-fiction, definitely. This book appeals to me as a disco nerd, someone who is obsessed with the birth of dance culture and its history as a place for both queer and minority-ethnic expression. Tim Lawrence does an incredible job of shining a light onto one of the most overlooked corners of popular music history, with plenty of trivia and facts to keep disco nerds like me happy. But dry or boring it is most definitely not. Lawrence writes in a brilliant way that is never less than fully engaging and compelling (almost gossipy!) while giving great insights into these incredible, boundary-breaking people, their sacred places and the tumultuous decade in general. Absolutley essential reading for anyone with even a passing interest in this culture, or even just quality music writing in general. Highly recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gessy Alvarez

    I'm giving this book a high rating because it talks about how DJ-ing was born and how it's evolved in an evocative and compelling manner. It's also a nice, unencumbered history of club culture in NYC. It begins with the conception of one of New York's earliest and most mythologized clubs, The Loft. The art of turning records is told in loving details. My only complaint: I wish this book came with a complementary (not complimentary) cd. I wanted so badly to hear the sounds evolving as I read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    A much-needed academic piece on this time period, and Lawrence really delves into his subject from all angles. My only criticism is that as I read I occasionally got a sense of elitism or preference for the music of this era over what came before or particularly after. Otherwise a fantastic read for people who are interested in tracing the history of dance music and revising the wide (and undeserved) cultural contempt for disco.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brycedwyer

    pretty thoroughly researched book. i haven't read the whole thing, just skipped around to the parts about things i was interested in. it's pretty nyc-centric, although there are a few good pages about the warehouse in chicago. it also collects playlists from a bunch of the dj's interviewed for the book which is kind of cool. also has some COOL PICS.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    My one complaint is that Lawrence's writing style includes a lot of jumps through time and it was a little confusing. But it was so fascinating to read about how dance music culture got started. If you've long poo-pooed disco and/or dance music, you really need to check this out.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Pee

    A wonderful story on djs and disco music, sometimes overly thorough but nevertheless a comprehensive view of one of United States' most misrepresented countercultures

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mtrim

    Wow. if you lived in Manhattan in the 70's and 80's you will absolutely love this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Surfing Moose

    Disco still sucks but this history of 70's dance music (with a good portion on disco) was an entertaining and informative read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margit

    i just love the titles of the chapters and how it is written. so rare to find a dance book i wanna sink into....makes it challenging to imagine writing about dance.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    wonderful book that you can read in snips. great perspective on the era and the music

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marco Maspero

    Amazing book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    a must-read for dance music aficianados.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Puffin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom

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