Pioneer. Inspirator. Godfather. Legend. Icon. Frankie Knuckles, who sadly passed away yesterday due to complications relating to diabetes, may well have been the biggest of them all. Knuckles was born in the South Bronx and started his career as a DJ alongside fellow legend Larry Levan at The Gallery in New York in the early seventies before relocating to Chicago where he became the premiere DJ at The Warehouse and later his own Power Plant, influencing whole generations of aspiring DJ’s and producers and building the foundations of what we now lovingly call house music. Here’s 10 reasons why Frankie Knuckles will live on forever.
1. First Choice – Let no Man Put Asunder (Frankie Knuckles Remix) (Salsoul 1983)
Knuckles had been reediting and remixing disco tracks for his own use in clubs since the late seventies, but his remix of Let No Man Put Asunder was the first to ever appear on vinyl.
2. Frankie Knuckles Presents Jamie Principle – Waiting On My Angel (Persona 1985)
Jamie Principle first created this stunning piece of proto-vocal house at home in late 1982. Frankie Knuckles turned it into a club hit at the Power Plant, steadily playing it from tape until it was finally released commercially in 1985. One of several versions.
3. Santos – Beat the Knuckles (Trax 1986)
Frankie Knuckles in full jack mode on this remix of Santos‘ early house classic ‘Work The Box‘. That’s right, you can’t Beat the Knuckles.
4. Frankie Knuckles Presents Jamie Principle – Your Love (Trax 1986)
Another Jamie Principle classic made way before its commercial release in 1986 that was pioneered by Frankie Knuckles at the Power Plant.
5. Nightwriters – Let the Music (Use You) (Danica 1987)
A classic slice of deep vocal house that was released in 1987. Uncredited vocals by the underrated Ricky Dillard.
6. Fingers Inc. – Distant Planet (Frankie Knuckles Club Mix)
Two giants of house (Knuckles and Larry Heard) collide on this perfect piece of deep house. Deeply emotional and haunting.
7. Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie – Tears (FFRR 1989).
Bittersweet deephouse that has aged remarkably well and still sounds great 25 years on. Stellar performance by the great Robert Owens.
8. Nightwriters – Over You (Jack Trax 1989)
Initially made in 1986 as an instrumental, this vocal version featured in Knuckles’ sets for years before it was released on vinyl in 1989.
9. Frankie Knuckles – The Whistle Song (Virgin 1991)
House just doesn’t get any deeper than this. When I die, please play this at my funeral.
10. Frankie Knuckles – Rain Falls (Virgin 1991)
Though not as succesful as ‘The Whistle Song‘ at the time, ‘Rain Falls‘ is easily one of Frankie’s most accomplished productions. Vocals by Lisa Michaelis.