The nightlife world lost a legend this week when DJ Frankie Knuckles died at the age of 59. Dubbed the “Godfather of House,” Knuckles played a major role role in spreading the percussive genre of dance music into the mainstream, changing the house music foundation forever.
A remixer, producer and Grammy winner, Knuckles first got his start in the ’70s, spinning at various New York nightclubs before moving to Chicago in 1977. There he turned out music at Warehouse , where he would begin his experimentations with dance music, mixing standard R&B and disco beats with a range of post-punk, reggae and ’80s Euro-synth. And just like that, a new kind of dance genre was born. Knuckles even gave it a name: house music.
In 1988, Knuckles returned to New York, where he began spinning at the famed Roxy and Sound Factory Bar. It was in that same year that he teamed up with David Morales and Ms. Weinstein to create Def Mix productions, an exclusive production company that created elaborate remixes for some of our favorite divas — from Chaka to Michael to Miss Ross.
On a personal note, I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Knuckles perform in my earlier club kid days — at the now-defunct club Space. I have to say that he truly was an inspiration to me during that crazy time in my life. His music is one of the reasons I got into the DJ business and fell in love with the house genre. He truly will be missed.
I posted some of my personal favorites from the late, great Frankie Knuckles. Enjoy them below.