R.I.P. Frankie Knuckles

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House music legend Frankie Knuckles passed today at the age of 59 due to complications from diabetes. Bronx-born Knuckles was best friends with Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan and they started their careers together at The Continental Baths in New York City in the ’70’s. Knuckles left NYC and moved to Chicago to be the more sophisticated face of underground dance music at the Warehouse Club during the late ’70’s and early ’80’s. At the time Ron Hardy was the hard-hitting DJ at The Music Box known for his wild sets, but Knuckles had a smoother Philly-soul influenced approach to his music. Knuckles left the Warehouse in 1983 to open The Power Plant and with the help of Chip E. started building his reputation as a producer by releasing music that featured Jamie Principle, Robert Owens, Ricky Dillard and Satoshi Tomiie. His central involvement in these early days of the new genre earned him the title of Godfather Of House. After the Power Plant closed in ’87 he toured and had residencies around the world while releasing several singles and his first solo album, Beyond The Mix in 1991. The album spawned his popular “Whistle Song” and “Rain Falls.” In 1997 he became the first dance music DJ/Producer to receive a Grammy for Remixer of the Year Non-Classical. Knuckles’s continued to work as a remixer and released three solo albums in total which included his sophomore project with Adeva. In 2004 he had a day dedicated to him in Chicago and the place where The Warehouse club used to be is now called Frankie Knuckles Way and then Senator Barack Obama helped to make it possible.