Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983
Tim Lawrence is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London and the author of Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979 and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992, both also published by Duke University Press.
Eyeing the backlash against disco and never wholly convinced by disco in the first place, major-label record companies unceremoniously reversed out of disco and closed down their disco departments. Only Warner Bros. held its ground. The head of the company’s disco department, Ray Caviano, remained convinced of disco’s viability and argued that he could make money selling 75,000 to 100,000 records if he had “a tight deal.” Meanwhile, the dregs of the disco industry convened at the Century Plaza, Los Angeles, to attend the seventh Billboard Disco Forum in February 1980. The conference also provided independent labels with an opportunity...