All of the house heads are in mourning today as we lost one of our forefathers, Frankie Knuckles, who died unexpectedly at age 59 yesterday afternoon, reportedly to causes related to Type II diabetes. Frankie was beloved worldwide for both his music and his spirit.
From the Guardian, UK:
One night in 1981, Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles was driving through the city’s suburbs with a friend when he saw a sign in a bar window: “We play house music.” “Now, what’s that all about?” he asked. “It means music like you’re playing at the Warehouse,” his friend replied. And that’s how Knuckles realised he’d inadvertently invented a new genre.
Knuckles had begun his residency at the westside club in 1977 at the height of disco fever, but by 1980 a backlash had swept the craze away. Knuckles began playing obscure imports and re-editing oddball disco records for maximum dancefloor impact. The crowd, overwhelmingly black and gay, went nuts for this new style, which became known as “house” as the new underground style spread to clubs across the city. Knuckles’s and fellow pioneer Ron Hardy’s merging of Salsoul classics with mutant disco, electro and European synth-pop paved the way for the first tailor-made house tracks in 1984. Six years later, Knuckles proudly described his creation as “disco’s revenge”.
Frankie is probably most known for the Whistle Song:
Personally, I loved “Baby Wants to Ride”:
A recent mix (thanks to Timothy Latz):
And thanks to Xan Lucero for the graphic.