David Mancuso, the man who created the invite only party and pioneered the very notion of what a true underground dance event is and can be, passed away today November 14th 2016, 5 Magazine can confirm.

Born October 20, 1944, David Mancuso created the revered “The Loft” with his debut party “Love Saves the Day,” on Valentine’s Day 1970. He was able to win over the New York City Department of Consumer affairs in a long trial due to the fact he was not selling food or liquor, thus not requiring him to have the highly sought after (and difficult to obtain) New York City cabaret license. Mancuso’s parties were the stuff of legend, spread through word of mouth. Various elements of The Loft inspired other discotheques such as the Paradise Garage, The Gallery and Studio 54. It was also a haven for the gay community, as the freedom of expressing one’s sexuality was still restrictive in the era just following Stonewall.

David Mancuso had been DJing even before opening The Loft, as early as 1966. He was known not so much as a technician, but as a spectacular music selector. His taste was impeccable. It’s been said that Mancuso eventually ceased the standard DJ practice of matching beats, and instead played songs in their entirety in order to fully appreciate them. It was Mancuso to whom we owe the notion of a DJ “breaking” a song for his audience. He also helped create the notion of a “record pool” in which records would be distributed among a circuit of professional DJs, which lives on as the promo system today.

“He was the person I patterned the Warehouse after,” Chicago’s Robert Williams who founded the club that first brought Frankie Knuckles to DJ in Chicago, told 5 Magazine.

“He was a friend of 40 years, I’m privileged to have been in his company for so many years.”

David was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005 for his outstanding achievement as a DJ. We are endlessly grateful for his enormous contributions.


  1. […] The event has been planned by several mainstays of the NYC scene (I found out about it from Luis Vargas on Facebook; apologies if anyone is being left out of that). The vigil is taking place this Saturday, December 10 2016 at 5pm in Tompkins Square Park (114 Avenue A) in the Alphabet City portion of East Village, Manhattan. People in attendance will be celebrating the life and legacy of the late trailblazing DJ, promoter and impresario who passed away in November. […]

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