Love Saves the Day

A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979

Love Saves the Day

Book Pages: 528 Illustrations: 73 photos and Illustrations Published: February 2004

Author: Tim Lawrence

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Music > Popular Music

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.


“[A]n extraordinarily rich work that ought to transform the ways we write the history of popular music. . . . [A] marvelous book. . . .” — Mitchell Morris, Journal of Popular Music Studies

“An extraordinary exercise in cultural history, this detailed and inspiring study lovingly excavates a crucial period in the evolution of Western music culture.” — Jeremy Gilbert, Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

“I can’t stress enough how good this book is, and how anyone with an interest in disco, underground culture or the 70s should try and track down a copy. It features some invaluable dj playlists from specific spots and times, which act as a checklist for a whole world of great, under-valued music, but besides that, it’s just a great read. I dip in and out of it all the time, and still find amazement and amusement after many readings, so I guess it would be pretty fair to say that Love Saves The Day is my bible.” — Niall O'Conghaile, Dangerous Minds

" . . . will surely stand as the definitive history of dance music's early years." — Joe Madden, Jockey Slut

"Love Saves the Day is exhaustively researched and generally written in a lively manner. Although it serves more effectively as a documentary record than a critical analysis, Lawrence's moments of interpretation are mostly lucid and thought-provoking." — Paul Williams, Cultural Studies Review

"[Love Saves the Day] does an excellent job of covering both the gay and straight discos of New York and Fire Island. . . . [It] takes us back to a decade when the music was queen." — Jesse Monteagudo, The Weekly News (Plantation FL)

"[A] densely detailed and heartfelt account of the era." — Bruce Tantum, Time Out New York

"[A] detailed history of the disco phenomenon. . . . Lawrence brings a fan's enthusiasm and a scholar's rigor to Love Saves the Day, which deftly documents and celebrates a much-derided yet enduringly influential genre of popular music."
— Kevin Riordan, Courier-Post (Cherry Hill NJ)

"[A] fine, groundbreaking history filled with fresh information and thoughtful perspectives on the disco decade, the result of his hundreds of interviews and exhaustive research. Scores of photographs and signature discographies nicely complement the text." — Library Journal

"[A] fully comprehensive, well-composed analysis of dance culture during its most crucial and subliminal time during the seventies. Tim Lawrence has done his homework and his dynamic delivery also possesses a delightful, intimate style. This book can be enjoyed on numerous levels. Confident about its authenticity yet open minded it is littered with amusing anecdotes and stories. . . . [A] revealing, captivating and enlightening read." — Roberta Cutolo, Straight No Chaser

"[A] vivid and lively look at the clubs, promoters, dancers, record producers, musicians, and DJs who created seventies dance culture. . . . Love Saves the Day delivers what a serious reader wants from a history of disco: it combines a fan’s interest in the music, anecdotes, and gossip with a scholar’s analysis of the movement’s social and political impact."
Seminary Co-op

"[A]s Tim Lawrence illustrates in Love Saves The Day, the story of disco is richer than its battered reputation lets on. . . . [A]n exceedingly well-reported history. . . . Love Saves The Day works as an eye-opening history of a movement that found a nation taking time out to dance."
— Andy Battaglia, The Onion

"[An] exhaustive journey through the pulsating dance floors of '70s New York." — Mike Gwertzman, New York Post

"[E]verything a good history should be--accurate, informative, well-organized and thoughtful. It is also everything a quality read should be--fresh, thoughtful and provocative. . . . Love Saves the Day is, as so many critics have noted, the definitive book on dance music in the 1970s." — Lisa Neff, Chicago Free Press

"[F]abulous reading, and this book looks destined to become a classic, opening up a whole lost world of night-time dance culture to generations for whom previously it was merely a rather imprecise legend."
— Bradley Winterton, Taipei Times

"[P]acked with detail . . . without turning dull; [Love Saves the Day] offers a non-hagiographic treatment of dance-music icons. . . and, perhaps best of all, Lawrence's riveting storytelling puts you deep in the proto-disco moment. . . . Love Saves the Day not only gets dance-music history right--it refocuses that history to include those unjustly excluded from it." — Ethan Brown, New York

"This book tells it all. The birth of mixing, the first cat to run clean doubles (not a hip hop dj), the sound systems, the first 12 inch singles, record pools and the beginning of club and street promotion. So many myths exposed and so many questions answered. The facts are here, and so are the characters. . . . So many legends finally get their stories told. The contributors were very candid and it shows cause there's a definite lack of the grandstanding and posturing that is often found in hip hop history books. You really feel like you get the straight story here. . . . If this shit puts food or your table, if you want a pair of turntables, if you wanna open a club, shit if you even want to smell a 12inch single, you have to read this book. I get a little emotional about this shit, but shit man these guys are the reason we are all here today. This is a must own." — Roctakon,

"[T]his is as close to a definitive account of Disco as we're likely to get, and as entertaining as a great night out." — Richard Smith, Gay Times

"[T]o some, a respectful history of disco may seem as perverse as a paean to strip malls. Tim Lawrence's Love Saves the Day boldly overturns that story. . . . I, for one, won't be able to dismiss dance culture so quickly, and his book should become a fixture in the libraries of serious students of American pop." — Philip Christman, Paste

"Captured within the books 456 pages is a spirit of adventure and pioneering that night-crawling dance addicts now take for granted. . . . Lawrence goes beyond layman's terminology in his explanation of technical issues, and it's refreshing to read a narrative from someone so well educated and well informed - at no point does his authority come into question. . . . Obviously the result of exhaustive research, Love Saves The Day is rich with information that drives home the point that the evolution of disco, and dance music culture on the whole, isn't going to get lost in the bowels of music history. Quite the contrary, what Lawrence presents us with is the inarguable value of this often shamed area of musicology. . . ." — Christopher John Treacy, Bay Windows

"Essential reading for anyone interested in discovering the origins of DJing, clubbing, and the music we dance to." — Easy Jet Inflight Magazine

"Even if you have no interest in disco music, this is a book that offers a detailed and entertaining analysis of American culture in the 70s that thankfully manages to avoid the predictable tacky stereotypes. . . . Love Saves The Day manages to provide a superb political and social context for one of the most misunderstood and derided musical sub-cultures of recent history."

— Phil Thornton, Swine Magazine

"Lawrence composes his narrative in an eminently readable and focused manner. . . . Love Saves the Day successfully and sympathetically demonstrates how spaces like New York City's The Loft and Chicago's Paradise Garage have served for countless dancers as temporary environments where the rhythm of the music conjures up a socially egalitarian and physically satisfying universe." — David Sanjek, American Studies

"Lawrence has accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of cuing up every famed and arcane component of disco’s ethos and executing a narrative possessed by a seamless grace that’s comparable to the work of the legendary DJs who are duly chronicled. . . . [A] most significant examination of this watershed period within our pop-cult heritage."
— Frank Halperin, Philadelphia CityPaper

"Lawrence has compiled a detailed, complex, fascinating, and unique history of disco dance music. . . . Highly recommended." — R.D. Cohen, Choice

"Lawrence has documented the scene with a fan's affection and a scholar's thoroughness. . . . His interview subjects, veteran DJs and clubgoers all, best convey in their own words what it was like to be on the dance floor at the Loft, the Gallery or the Paradise Garage when the crowd--drenched in sweat, screaming and whistling, arms in the air--gave itself up to rapture."
— Tom Beer, Newsday

"Lawrence provides the first really in-depth look at the key years when dance music emerged from the so-called underground into the mainstream. . . . [His] original and deep research alone makes Love Saves the Day essential reading for anyone who wants to know the who, what and where of disco's earliest years and why a musical style came to symbolize and entire decade." — John-Manuel Andriote, Lambda Book Report

"Lawrence's astounding research and wide focus make this [disco's] definitive chronicle so far." — Michaelangelo Matos, City Pages (Minneapolis)

"Packed with interviews with the key players, it's as good an introduction as you'll find to an all-too-often overlooked period in musical history." — Phil Mongredien, Q

"Thanks to an impressive amount of research Tim Lawrence . . . creates an evocative portrait of the Big Apple DJ demimonde of the 1970s." — Peter Shapiro, The Wire

"The book is nothing less than revelatory, time-traveling to pivotal moments like the birth of beatmatching (and snark-baiting the bitchy, bitter jocks that fell off after failing to master the new technique) and describing the atemporal space of the dance floor itself. The book immerses to the point of excess - at times you want to set aside the quotes, throw on a boa, and set off in search of some sex, drugs, and 'Soul Makossa.' But the book's broader implications - especially the missteps of the record industry and the pressures put upon art, leisure, and self-expression in a time of socioeconomic unrest (a nice bit of "unpacking," as we used to say in grad school) - make Love Saves the Day as timely as it is tantalizing." — Philip Sherburne, Boldtype

"THE book on club music in America—a massive volume that contains more information about the New York scene than we'd ever hoped to learn! The book fills in gaps that we've always been unsure of, and tells the full story of the evolution of New York dance in the 70s—going way past the hype!" —

"This book is more than a historical document; indeed, it houses more anecdotes . . . and reminisces than a million different lifestyle magazines, with the added bonus that these aren’t about over hyped ‘celebrities’, they’re about people who were ‘faces’ in a time and place that is directly responsible for the hedonism and the heartbreak that comprises modern clubbing."
— Manu Ekanayake,

"This brilliant study of the birth of disco and the spawning of a million different subgenres of same is crucial reading for anyone who thinks they know their club culture. Because until you've read this, you might as well know nothing, nada, zilch." — Susan Corrigan, I-D

"Tim Lawrence's disco culture tome is one of the sharpest books on dance music to date, striking a balance between you-are-there club descriptions, socioeconomic analysis, and musical critique." — Tricia Romano, Village Voice

"A fantastic history of the birth of disco."  — Tracey Thorn, Everything But the Girl, The Guardian

Love Saves the Day is what we need for generations to come: it’s the real history of dance music and dj/club culture.” — Louie Vega, dj/producer, Masters At Work & Nuyorican Soul

“As authoritative as it is gossipy, Love Saves the Day is the ultimate backstage view of disco, the underground phenomenon that ended up defining a decade. Tim Lawrence talked to virtually everyone who shaped ‘70s urban nightlife, but he keeps his prime focus on the djs who created its seductive soundtrack. With them as your witty, opinionated guides, you’ll find yourself well past the velvet ropes, deep inside a scene that has never been so thoroughly or lovingly illuminated.” — Vince Aletti Village Voice

“At last disco gets the history it deserves. Tim Lawrence tells the story of ten years that shook the musical world with the scholar’s concern for detail and the fan’s concern for honor. Great tales of the humble and the ahubristic, of money, sex, and the utopia of the sound system. Illuminating and moving.” — Simon Frith, author of Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music

“At long last, a candid, detailed, and authoritative look back on one of dance music’s most seminal moments in time. This book on the genesis of the movement in 1970s New York will delight anyone from the researcher wanting some serious unbiased fact-checking all the way to the casual music lover curious for juicy anecdotes. It’s about time!” — François K., dj and founder and president of Wave Music

“I wish I'd written it myself.” — Barry Walters, Senior Music Critic, Rolling Stone


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tim Lawrence leads the Music Culture: Theory and Production degree program at the University of East London. He has written liner notes for David Mancuso Presents the Loft and Masters at Work: The Tenth Anniversary Collection. The author’s website for the book is available at

Table of Contents Back to Top
Figures vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1

1. beginnings House Parties and Discotheques 5

2. consolidation Party Pariahs and the Path to Permanent Revolution 33

3. pollination The Rise of the Downtown Party Network 55

4. recognition The Crystallization of a Sound 83

5. visibility The Message of Love and the Disco Mix 117

6. expansion Record Pools, Music Labels, New Clubs 155

7. prominence Forums, Formats, Franchises 205

8. ascendancy Eurodisco, Midtown, Downtown, Out-of-Town 251

9. dominance Disco Takes Over 303

10. turbulence Backlash and Survival 363

Epilogue 433

Notes 443

Selected Discography 457

Selected Bibliography 473

Index 477
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Honorable mention, 2005 Woody Guthrie Award

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3198-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3185-8
Publicity material