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House Music Pioneer Dies Aged 59

House Music Pioneer Dies Aged 59

We remember legendary house music pioneer Frankie Knuckles

by Tuesday 01 April 2014 16:35

The Chicago based Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles, has died suddenly aged just 59.

Frankie passed away on Monday which was confirmed by his long time business partner, Frederick Dunson, who said via email that Knuckles "died unexpectedly this afternoon at home."

Although the cause of death has not yet been confirmed, it has been reported by The Daily Mail that the DJ/Producer died due to "complications relating to Type II diabetes".

Frankie Knuckles learned his craft as a New York club DJ in the early 70's, and was mentored by renowned DJ Larry Levan, who founded the now legendary Paradise Garage and coined the music style of the same name.

In the mid 70's Frankie moved to Chicago making his name at The Warehouse, a club in northern Chicago favoured by the gay, black and Latin-American communities, and it was here that House music was born.

"The people that used to hang out at The Warehouse coined the phrase House Music", Knuckles said.

"At the time I was the only DJ in the city playing a sound that they heard nowhere else. So, when dance parties and regional DJs began popping up on the South Side of the city, to attract the same kind of audience that I had at The Warehouse...they would advertise that they played 'House Music'."

In 1982 he went on to opened his own venue called The Power Planet. It was here where he premiered early house music collaborations with local artist Jamie Principle, and gained commercial releases of several of these tracks, including "Your Love" in 1986 and "Baby Wants to Ride" in '87.

Frankie then went on to release and remix a vast number of dance classics, such as Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody", Sounds of Blackness "The Pressure", as well as "Tears" featuring Satoshi Tomiie and Robert Owens, and "The Whistle Song".

During Frankie's illustrious career he won a Grammy for Best Remixer of the Year in 1997, inducted to the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and also had a Chicago street named after him in 2004, on the former site of The Warehouse club where it all began. On the same day in 2004 the then Illinois state senator, Barack Obama, helped to get the city of Chicago to declared August 25th Frankie Knuckles Day.

Tributes have been pouring in for the House music legend on social media today:-

David Morales wrote "I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today. Can't write any more than this at the moment. I'm sorry."

"RIP gentleman genius, ground breaker, inspiration. Blessed to have worked with you.", tweeted Radio 1's Pete Tong.

"I can't begin to count the ways he influenced me but I will never forget," added Roger Sanchez.

Frankie Knuckles is and always will be a legend to us all. Someone to aspire to, and someone to respect for all he did, for the music we love. The heavens will be a little brighter tonight.

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