David Mancuso (born October 20, 1944) is the creator of the famous “by invitation only” parties in New York City which have come to be known as The Loft.
The first such party was held in 1970 and was called Love Saves The Day. Prior to that, he was playing records for his friends on a semi-regular basis as early as 1966, and these parties became so popular that by 1971 he and Steve Abramowitz, who worked the door, decided to do this on a weekly basis.
His parties have the free-wheeling feel and intimacy found in the classic rent party or house party.
Mancuso is a pioneer in that he carefully thought out and refined his concept of “private party”, as distinct from the more overtly commercial business model of the nightclub. In the early 70’s, Mancuso prevailed after one of longest ever administrative trials of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that he was not selling food or beverages to the public and so was exempt from the need for a NYC “Cabaret License”. Mancuso’s success at keeping his parties “underground” and “legal” at the same time was an inspiration to other music entrepreneurs and DJ’s, and many famous private Discotheques of the 70’s and 80’s were modeled after The Loft’s operational blueprint, including the Paradise Garage, The Gallery, and The Saint, to name but a few. Mancuso also helped start the record pool system for facilitating the distribution of promotional records to the qualified disc jockey.
Despite Mancuso’s importance in the history of DJ culture, by the late 70’s he had fully abandoned the accepted DJ practice of audio mixing, beatmatching and pitch-shifting, in favor of a purist “audiophile” approach to sound reproduction. Mancuso prefers to use the original Mark Levinson “Class-A” Amplifier, Klipsch speakers, and “moving coil cartridges”.
David unearthed and made hits out of many songs, such as D-Train’s Keep On, Eddie Kendricks’s Girl You Need A Change of Mind, Chuck Mangione’s Land of Make Believe, Third World’s Now That We’ve Found Love, and many more.
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 Tuebingen, southern Germany.