Frankie Knuckles, The Undisputed Pioneer of House Music, Dies Aged 59

0
0
Subscribe to Frankie Knuckles alerts

Frankie Knuckles, the prolific DJ and producer known as the Godfather of house music, has died aged 59. Easily one of the most important DJs of all time, Knuckles was known for his epic marathon sets featuring everything from disco and post-punk to R&B and Eurodisco and did much of his best work at his Chicago venues The Warehouse (1977-82) and The Power Plant (1983-85).

Frankie Knuckles Live @ The Warehouse - 28-08-1981 by R_Co on Mixcloud

Knuckles created a number of dance classics in his own right, notably Your Love (1986), Baby Wants to Ride (1987) and the famous remixes of Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody (1989) and Sounds of Blackness's The Pressure (1992).

Knuckles began hitting legendary New York clubs The Loft, Sanctuary and Better Days as a teenager and by the mid-Seventies was DJ'ing himself. With his friend Larry Philpot, he worked at two of the most important early discos, the Gallery and the Continental Baths - a multi-room gay bathhouse on Manhattan's West Seventy-fourth street. 

By 1977, Knuckles had moved to Chicago and opened his own club, The Warehouse. A unique building on South Jefferson St, the venue would be where Knuckles began honing his own signature style and sound. 

At a time when tracks from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack were saturating the clubs, Knuckles was spinning tunes from independent labels like Salsoul and using reel-to-reel tape machines to re-edit his favorite tracks to extend grooves for the dance-floor. 

Frankie Knuckles - WBMX Friday Night Jams 1986 by Sarah Davies on Mixcloud

Knuckles became so hugely popular at the Warehouse that - initially a members-only club for largely black gay man - it began attracting new crowds and the membership scheme was scrapped. Knuckles left in 1982 and opened the Power Plant a few months later. 

In 1985, Knuckles made his first recording with singer-songwriter Byron Walford, aka Jamie Principle. The pair's early tracks were recorded in the Power Plant's DJ booth though they soon graduated to local studios. Several of their creations wound up at local label Trax Records, one of the most influential labels on the house music scene.

In the summer of 1987, British DJ's - including Paul Oakenfold - travelled to the open-air clubs of Ibiza and were turned onto a new style of DJ performance. It birthed the idea of the 'rave' in the UK, with the likes of Oakenfold and Danny Rampling typically playing in huge warehouses or open fields. Knuckles wasn't interested and instead took residency in New York clubs the World, the Roxy, the Sound Factory and Sound Factory Bar - teaming up with Judy Weinstein and fellow DJ David Morales to form Def Mix Productions.

Frankie Knuckles - Beyond The Mix & Motivation TOO

"[When] you've got someone as big as Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson sitting there saying, 'Whatever you want, however you want it, I'll stay here as long as you need me,' that's the reward right there," Knuckles said in 2011. "All the programmers I worked with were all classically trained musicians . . . I was teaching them a different side of what it is they do. Infusing certain ideas like Debussy-esque piano over a very thick house track or bass line is something that blew their minds. It blew mine, too, but it's something they never imagined and/or heard of before . . . We didn't know if it would work or not, but it did."

Though Knuckles maintained his heavy DJ schedule, health problems and waning popularity  meant he went relatively quiet in the early 2000s. In 2008, he had his right foot amputated following a bone disease exacerbated by late-breaking diabetes.  

Most recently - after a wave of interest in the Chicago house music scene - Knuckles was regularly hitting the global club and festival circuit. 

More: Ultra Music Festival - 2014's most memorable moments

More: Avicii drops out of Ultra Music Festival 2014 after hospitalization


Contactmusic

Tags: Frankie Knuckles

0
0
Subscribe to Frankie Knuckles alerts
Advertisement

More Frankie Knuckles

Frankie Knuckles Honoured By President Barack Obama And First Lady In Sweet Letter

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have paid tribute to the late DJ and record producer, Frankie Knuckles, who passed away at the...

President Barack Obama And Wife Michelle Honor Late DJ Frankie Knuckles In Open letter

President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have paid tribute to the late Chicago DJ, Frankie Knuckles, by sending his family an open letter.The Obama's...

Tributes Continue For Late Frankie Knuckles "The Godfather Of House Music"

Frankie Knuckles, known as "The Godfather of House Music", died on Monday (31st March) at the age of 59. Tributes have continued to pour in...

Advertisement

Remembering The Godfather Of House, Frankie Knuckles

The Godfather of House, Frankie Knuckles, has died aged just 59 years old from complications relating to his Type II diabetes. The original pioneer of...

"Make Heaven Dance" Tributes Roll In For Inimitable Frankie Knuckles

Tributes continue to roll in for Frankie Knuckles, the DJ and producer known as the Godfather of House Music who died expectantly earlier this week...

The Best Tributes To House Music 'Father' Frankie Knuckles

Tributes have been pouring in for Frankie Knuckles, the pioneer of house music who died on Monday night (March 31) aged 59. Knuckles relocated to...

Frankie Knuckles, The Undisputed Pioneer of House Music, Dies Aged 59

Frankie Knuckles, the prolific DJ and producer known as the Godfather of house music, has died aged 59. Easily one of the most important DJs...

Advertisement

Comments

Frankie Knuckles Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Frankie Knuckles

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All