It is with great sadness that this week we have learnt of the death of house and electronic music pioneer, Frankie Knuckles. On Tuesday 1st April the news was announced of his bereavement, which was wholly acknowledged by the worldwide network of DJ’s and house music enthusiasts alike.
On Facebook, Circus boss Yousef shared his sadness stating Frankie was “One of the nicest, ego free and most talented people our industry. Truly an innovator and someone whose contribution to house music can not be fathomed”, whilst Radio 1 DJ Pete Tong paid tribute by saying: “RIP gentleman, genius, ground breaker, inspiration. Blessed to have worked with you.”
Frankie Knuckles was born in the Bronx district of New York in the USA, however it was in 1980’s Chicago that he pioneered and popularised house music, which is now one of world’s most widely heard styles in night clubs as well as on the radio. Frankie has been paid tribute to in the past by being inducted into the 2005 Dance Music Hall of Fame, as well as having a Chicago street named after him. ‘Frankie Knuckles Way’ was the setting that housed the iconic nightclub ‘The Warehouse’ where the house music sound was fathomed.
As tributes continue to pour in from all music lovers and icons, a campaign has been launched to get Frankie Knuckles’ track ‘Your Love’ to number one.
This track – released on Trax Records in 1987 – was one of the earliest house music tracks as well as one of the most celebrated. Also the Red Bull Music Academy have released a playlist of 50 classics from The Warehouse, as well as events being organised around the world involving whole nights of Frankie’s music.
Rest In Peace, Frankie Knuckles.
Words by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Chicago Now and RMBA Radio