House pioneer Frankie Knuckles dies at age 59

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    Frankie Knuckles, one of the most important DJs of all time and the "Godfather of House Music," has died at age 59. Born Francis Nicholls in the Bronx, Knuckles later moved to Chicago, and became the force in 80s dance music. 
     
    While studying textile design at FIT in New York, Knuckles began working as a DJ, playing soul, disco, and R&B at The Continental Baths with childhood friend and fellow DJ Larry Levan. In the late 1970s, Knuckles moved from New York City to Chicago, and when the Warehouse club opened in Chicago in 1977, he was invited to play on a regular basis. He continued DJing at the Warehouse until 1982, when he started his own club in Chicago, The Power Plant.
     
    Knuckles bought his first drum machine from a young Derrick May, who regularly made the trip from Detroit to see Knuckles at the Warehouse and Ron Hardy at the Music Box, both in Chicago.
     
    Frankie Knuckles, one of the most important DJs of all time and the "Godfather of House Music," has died at age 59. Born Francis Nicholls in the Bronx, Knuckles later moved to Chicago, and became the force in 80s dance music. 
     
    While studying textile design at FIT in New York, Knuckles began working as a DJ, playing soul, disco, and R&B at The Continental Baths with childhood friend and fellow DJ Larry Levan. In the late 1970s, Knuckles moved from New York City to Chicago, and when the Warehouse club opened in Chicago in 1977, he was invited to play on a regular basis. He continued DJing at the Warehouse until 1982, when he started his own club in Chicago, The Power Plant.
     
    Knuckles bought his first drum machine from a young Derrick May, who regularly made the trip from Detroit to see Knuckles at the Warehouse and Ron Hardy at the Music Box, both in Chicago. Knuckles also had a musical partnership with Chicago artist Jamie Principle, and helped put "Your Love" and "Baby Wants to Ride" out on vinyl after these tunes had been regulars on his reel-to-reel player at the Warehouse for a year.
     
    As house music was being innovated in Chicago, producer Chip E. took Knuckles under his tutelage and produced Knuckles' first recording, "You Can't Hide", featuring vocalist Ricky Dillard.[citation needed] Then came more production work, including Jamie Principle's "Baby Wants to Ride", and later "Tears" with Robert Owens (of Fingers, Inc.) and (Knuckles' protégé and future Def Mix associate) Satoshi Tomiie.
     
    When the Power Plant closed in 1987, Knuckles played for four months at Delirium in the United Kingdom. Chicago house artists were in high demand and having major success in the UK with this new genre of music. Knuckles was the featured resident DJ at The World,[citation needed] and had numerous other residencies. Knuckles also had a stint in New York, where he continued to immerse himself in producing, remixing, and recording.
     
    Knuckles made numerous popular Def Classic Mixes with John Poppo as sound engineer, and Knuckles partnered with David Morales on Def Mix Productions. With several important original productions and remixes to his name, by the early 1990s, Knuckles was becoming a well-known name in the increasingly popular house music genre.
     
    Knuckles' debut album Beyond the Mix (1991), released on Virgin Records, contained his biggest hit to date, "The Whistle Song". The Def Classic mix of Lisa Stansfield's "Change," released in the same year, also featured the whistle-like motif. Other key remixes from this time include his rework of the Electribe 101 anthem "Talking With Myself" and Alison Limerick's "Where Love Lives".
     
    Knuckles continued to work as a remixer through the 1990s and into the next decade, reworking tracks from Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Diana Ross, Eternal and Toni Braxton. He released several new singles, including "Keep on Movin'" and a re-issue of an earlier hit "Bac N Da Day" with Definity Records. In 1995, he released his second album titled Welcome to the Real World.
     
    In 2004, Knuckles released a 13-track album of original material - his first in over a decade - titled A New Reality, which was critically well received. In October 2004, "Your Love" appeared in the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, playing on house music radio station, SF-UR. In 2005, Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievement as a DJ. 
     
    While not a household name who was fully celebrated by the masses, Frankie Knuckles was a giant who will be terribly missed.
     
     
     

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Frankie Knuckles

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