black and white image of Frankie Knuckles DJ'ing

Frankie Knuckles

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

 

There’s a handful of names that are universally adored, fewer that can lay claim to being there at the very beginning of house music and fewer still that most would own at least one 12” from. Frankie Knuckles was introduced to me by Pete Tong and his Essential Selection – The Whistle Song was one of those tracks that just cut through the noise and I must have listened to that 12” more than most of the others I own.

 

Back then, there wasn’t really an internet, Googling someone and finding out more wasn’t a thing - you just enjoyed the track, oblivious to the back story, unless you were in the know - and so it was for me - I just liked the track. Years later when I read Last Night.a DJ Saved My Life (the book) the pieces fell into place, and much later when I started the blog in 2010 it seemed fitting that the features on the DJ’s I admired was called that too. It’s taken nearly 10 years but how else can you celebrate a decade than with a tip of the hat to the sadly missed legend, Frankie Knuckles.

 

Frankie Knuckles is often credited with inventing house music in the 1980’s in Chicago at the famous club, The Warehouse - mixing old disco classics with Eurobeat pop.

 

The Beginnings of House Music. It all started in Chicago's Southside in 1977, when a new kind of club opened. This new Chicago club called The Warehouse gave House music its name. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop. The style of music now known as house was named after a shortened version of the Warehouse.

 

Knuckles was so popular that the Warehouse, initially a members-only club for largely black gay men, began attracting straighter, whiter crowds, leading its owner, Robert Williams, to introduce a membership for entry. Knuckles continued DJing at the Warehouse until November 1982, when he started his own club in Chicago, The Power Plant.

 

Around 1983, Knuckles bought his first drum machine to develop his mixes from Derrick May, a young DJ who regularly made the trip from Detroit to see Knuckles at the Warehouse. The combination of bare, insistent drum machine pulses and an overlay of cult disco classics defined the sound of early Chicago house music, a sound which many local producers began to mimic in the studios by 1985.

 

His discography spans two studio albums, a compilation album and twenty-two singles. His debut studio album Beyond the Mix was released on August 6, 1991, on Virgin Records. His second studio album Welcome to the Real World was released four years later  in 1995, also via Virgin. The album is a collaborative project with Adeva.  In 1991, he released the compilation album Greatest – Frankie Knuckles via Trax Records.

 

My personal highlights being The Whistle Song, Tears featuring Robert Owen,  Ain’t Nobody remix of Rufus & Chaka Khan and his remix of the Pet Shop Boys Left to my own devices.

Frankie’s death in 2014 was global news, having suffered from Type II diabetes, having a foot amputated following a snowboarding accident.

 

His Legacy has lived on though with Defect Records releases a retrospective compilation back in 2015, entitled House Masters Frankie Knuckles. The Frankie Knuckles Foundation is a not for profit educational, and cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of Frankie Knuckles’ mission as the global ambassador of house music through media, conservation and public events continuing and supporting the causes he advocated.

 

His music defined the genre, and his tracks stand the test of time more than most. I wish I’d seen him DJ, but thanks to Frankie and The Whistle Song, and Pete Tong I too share the love of house!

 

 

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black and white image of Frankie Knuckles DJ'ing
black and white image of Frankie Knuckles DJ'ing

Frankie Knuckles

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

 

There’s a handful of names that are universally adored, fewer that can lay claim to being there at the very beginning of house music and fewer still that most would own at least one 12” from. Frankie Knuckles was introduced to me by Pete Tong and his Essential Selection – The Whistle Song was one of those tracks that just cut through the noise and I must have listened to that 12” more than most of the others I own.

 

Back then, there wasn’t really an internet, Googling someone and finding out more wasn’t a thing - you just enjoyed the track, oblivious to the back story, unless you were in the know - and so it was for me - I just liked the track. Years later when I read Last Night.a DJ Saved My Life (the book) the pieces fell into place, and much later when I started the blog in 2010 it seemed fitting that the features on the DJ’s I admired was called that too. It’s taken nearly 10 years but how else can you celebrate a decade than with a tip of the hat to the sadly missed legend, Frankie Knuckles.

 

Frankie Knuckles is often credited with inventing house music in the 1980’s in Chicago at the famous club, The Warehouse - mixing old disco classics with Eurobeat pop.

 

The Beginnings of House Music. It all started in Chicago's Southside in 1977, when a new kind of club opened. This new Chicago club called The Warehouse gave House music its name. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop. The style of music now known as house was named after a shortened version of the Warehouse.

 

Knuckles was so popular that the Warehouse, initially a members-only club for largely black gay men, began attracting straighter, whiter crowds, leading its owner, Robert Williams, to introduce a membership for entry. Knuckles continued DJing at the Warehouse until November 1982, when he started his own club in Chicago, The Power Plant.

 

Around 1983, Knuckles bought his first drum machine to develop his mixes from Derrick May, a young DJ who regularly made the trip from Detroit to see Knuckles at the Warehouse. The combination of bare, insistent drum machine pulses and an overlay of cult disco classics defined the sound of early Chicago house music, a sound which many local producers began to mimic in the studios by 1985.

 

His discography spans two studio albums, a compilation album and twenty-two singles. His debut studio album Beyond the Mix was released on August 6, 1991, on Virgin Records. His second studio album Welcome to the Real World was released four years later  in 1995, also via Virgin. The album is a collaborative project with Adeva.  In 1991, he released the compilation album Greatest – Frankie Knuckles via Trax Records.

 

My personal highlights being The Whistle Song, Tears featuring Robert Owen,  Ain’t Nobody remix of Rufus & Chaka Khan and his remix of the Pet Shop Boys Left to my own devices.

Frankie’s death in 2014 was global news, having suffered from Type II diabetes, having a foot amputated following a snowboarding accident.

 

His Legacy has lived on though with Defect Records releases a retrospective compilation back in 2015, entitled House Masters Frankie Knuckles. The Frankie Knuckles Foundation is a not for profit educational, and cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of Frankie Knuckles’ mission as the global ambassador of house music through media, conservation and public events continuing and supporting the causes he advocated.

 

His music defined the genre, and his tracks stand the test of time more than most. I wish I’d seen him DJ, but thanks to Frankie and The Whistle Song, and Pete Tong I too share the love of house!

 

black and white image of Frankie Knuckles DJ'ing
black and white image of Frankie Knuckles DJ'ing

Frankie Knuckles

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

 

There’s a handful of names that are universally adored, fewer that can lay claim to being there at the very beginning of house music and fewer still that most would own at least one 12” from. Frankie Knuckles was introduced to me by Pete Tong and his Essential Selection – The Whistle Song was one of those tracks that just cut through the noise and I must have listened to that 12” more than most of the others I own.

 

Back then, there wasn’t really an internet, Googling someone and finding out more wasn’t a thing - you just enjoyed the track, oblivious to the back story, unless you were in the know - and so it was for me - I just liked the track. Years later when I read Last Night.a DJ Saved My Life (the book) the pieces fell into place, and much later when I started the blog in 2010 it seemed fitting that the features on the DJ’s I admired was called that too. It’s taken nearly 10 years but how else can you celebrate a decade than with a tip of the hat to the sadly missed legend, Frankie Knuckles.

 

Frankie Knuckles is often credited with inventing house music in the 1980’s in Chicago at the famous club, The Warehouse - mixing old disco classics with Eurobeat pop.

 

The Beginnings of House Music. It all started in Chicago's Southside in 1977, when a new kind of club opened. This new Chicago club called The Warehouse gave House music its name. Frankie Knuckles, who opened The Warehouse, mixed old disco classics and new Eurobeat pop. The style of music now known as house was named after a shortened version of the Warehouse.

 

Knuckles was so popular that the Warehouse, initially a members-only club for largely black gay men, began attracting straighter, whiter crowds, leading its owner, Robert Williams, to introduce a membership for entry. Knuckles continued DJing at the Warehouse until November 1982, when he started his own club in Chicago, The Power Plant.

 

Around 1983, Knuckles bought his first drum machine to develop his mixes from Derrick May, a young DJ who regularly made the trip from Detroit to see Knuckles at the Warehouse. The combination of bare, insistent drum machine pulses and an overlay of cult disco classics defined the sound of early Chicago house music, a sound which many local producers began to mimic in the studios by 1985.

 

His discography spans two studio albums, a compilation album and twenty-two singles. His debut studio album Beyond the Mix was released on August 6, 1991, on Virgin Records. His second studio album Welcome to the Real World was released four years later  in 1995, also via Virgin. The album is a collaborative project with Adeva.  In 1991, he released the compilation album Greatest – Frankie Knuckles via Trax Records.

 

My personal highlights being The Whistle Song, Tears featuring Robert Owen,  Ain’t Nobody remix of Rufus & Chaka Khan and his remix of the Pet Shop Boys Left to my own devices.

Frankie’s death in 2014 was global news, having suffered from Type II diabetes, having a foot amputated following a snowboarding accident.

 

His Legacy has lived on though with Defect Records releases a retrospective compilation back in 2015, entitled House Masters Frankie Knuckles. The Frankie Knuckles Foundation is a not for profit educational, and cultural organization dedicated to the advancement of Frankie Knuckles’ mission as the global ambassador of house music through media, conservation and public events continuing and supporting the causes he advocated.

 

His music defined the genre, and his tracks stand the test of time more than most. I wish I’d seen him DJ, but thanks to Frankie and The Whistle Song, and Pete Tong I too share the love of house!