RIP Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music
These days, it seems like every DJ who’s been around for more than a decade is rewarded with the title of “legend.” Few can really stand up to that label. But Frankie Knuckles—the 59-year-old undisputed inventor of house music, who died last night following complications related to type 2 diabetes—owned it.
Born in Harlem, Knuckles started out spinning disco in the early ’70s. In 1977, he became a resident DJ at the Warehouse in Chicago—the club that gave “house” music its name. Knuckles went on to make recordings for Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode. He was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
The musical blueprint that Knuckles laid down has influenced everyone from Daft Punk to Disclosure. But Knuckles wasn’t one to sit back and let the newcomers steal his thunder. He stayed behind the decks right till the end—DJing at London’s Ministry of Sound two days before his death.
Here are some other highlights from the Godfather of House Music’s career:
“Your Love,” a 1986 track that became a key part of the UK house explosion.
A live recording from one of his sets at the Warehouse.
A sizzling set for the Boiler Room in NYC in 2013.
- — Michelle Ong