As clubland awakes to the tragic news that the legendary Mr Frankie Knuckles has sadly passed away – it is a time for beautiful flashbacks and early inspirations of a true musical pioneer.
Dubbed the Godfather of House Music, born in the Bronx as Francis Nicholls, he died of what is rumoured to be complications arising from type 2 diabetes aged just 59 on the 31st March.
In a heart-felt tweet - Frankie’s co-founder of Def Mix Productions - David Morales wrote: “I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today. Can't write anymore than this at the moment. I'm sorry.”
Having contributed to some of the scene's most ground-breaking records, Frankie as an immensely successful DJ and producer made many era-defining tracks such as; ‘Tears’ with Robert Owens (and co-produced by Satoshi Tomiie), ‘Your Love’ and ‘You Got the Love’ – not to mention his truly mesmerising remixes of Michael Jackson, Dianna Ross, Chaka Khan, Mary J Blige, Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, the Pet Shop Boys, Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston.
Initially making his name at Chicago’s world-renown Warehouse club (the venue’s whose name ‘house’ would be used to cover a genre to last for generations to come), he played at some of the world’s most prolific events. He held a five-year residency there from 1977 before starting his own nights.
Years later he won a Grammy for best remixer of the year in 1997 and was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Alongside these and many other accolades he had a street named after him at the former site of the Warehouse club. He’s the only dance music DJ in the world to have such an honour.
It’s safe to say there isn’t a single ‘superstar DJ’ to date who hasn’t been touched by his sounds.
His jet-setting schedule had been as hectic as ever, having only just returned from headlining at London’s Ministry of Sound of Saturday night. Little did those party-goers realise just how privileged they were to see him one last time.
The UK’s Pete Tong MBE – and BBC Radio 1 head honcho - tweeted: “RIP gentleman genius, groundbreaker, inspiration..."
So many incredible nights and memories were created by this man, it’s impossible to express dance music’s feelings at such a loss. We all thank you dearly. So many ‘tears’… I also posted a soundcloud-special blog after all the amazing Frankie Knuckles Tribute Mixes on the site.