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

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  374 ratings  ·  31 reviews
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, ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published February 2nd 2004 by Duke University Press Books (first published October 2003)
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Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Michelle Mccrary
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sep 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Owen Daniel
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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...
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dance-music
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.
Jonathan Shulman
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Long AF but a great history of disco music. Worth reading for the playlists alone.
Franz Schuier
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Must read for every historically interested dance music lover.
Phil Wildcroft
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic and engrossing dive into (mostly) New York 1970s club culture.
Karl Miller
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic look at the dual rise of disco and punk in NYC in my personal favorite era of music
Mar 21, 2017 rated it liked it
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
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: queens, marys
Shelves: history
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
Niall O'Conghaile
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Gessy Alvarez
Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nightlife, nonfiction
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.
Feb 11, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in music, dance music, dance music culture, gay culture
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.
Chuck Pee
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story on djs and disco music, sometimes overly thorough but nevertheless a comprehensive view of one of United States' most misrepresented countercultures
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. if you lived in Manhattan in the 70's and 80's you will absolutely love this book.
Surfing Moose
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paperbacks
Disco still sucks but this history of 70's dance music (with a good portion on disco) was an entertaining and informative read.
Feb 22, 2009 marked it as to-read
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.
May 24, 2010 added it
wonderful book that you can read in snips. great perspective on the era and the music
Marco Maspero
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book.
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
a must-read for dance music aficianados.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 02, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Jan 27, 2020
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