10 Apr Paying Homage to Frankie Knuckles
Today, when so many acts are little more than a flash in the pan, and everyone is desperately seeking out the next-big-thing, an artist who actually makes a lasting difference is a rare gem. These figures have the potential- through talent, imagination, and pure determination- to alter the music scene for years to come. And the passing of such a figure needs to be marked.
Last Monday, Frankie Knuckles, ‘The Godfather of House Music,’ passed away from complications relating to diabetes. Originally from the Bronx, New York, he later moved to Chicago, where he played an important role in the nascent house scene in the 80s. A key figure in house music, Knuckles’ career stretched through to the present day, playing his final gig in London’s Ministry of Sound just two days before his death. His accomplishments earned him a Grammy Award in 1997, an induction into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and even a Chicago street and day bearing his name.
But no list of accolades or awards really shows the influence that such a figure can have. Knuckles’s career spanned the globe, and there is hardly a club of note where he hasn’t played. From his birthplace in New York to his hometown of Chicago, from London and Manchester to Tokyo and beyond, Knuckles’s music has filled dance floors across the world.
Last week, internet was flooded with messages as fans- both the famous and the not-so-famous- turned social media sites into a global memorial to Knuckles. But Knuckles was at the heart of the house scene back in the days when a DJ needed to do more than just stick together an itunes playlist. In Frankie’s world the focus of the party was the centre of the dance floor, never on the DJ. Like the Wizard of Oz, it was vital that no attention be paid to the ‘man behind the curtain.’
‘The Whistle Song,’ from Knuckles’s debut album, Beyond the Mix
‘Your Love,’ which was featured on the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Written by Freddie Rochez.