Frankie Knuckles, the venerable Bronx-born Grammy-winning DJ and producer, passed last night unexpectedly. Although it is not known what happened just yet, sources are saying it was possible that complications likely arose from his late onset Type II diabetes.
Questlove Jenkins of The Roots wrote this morning, “jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. he was the dj that dj’s aspired to be. true dance pioneer.” Disclosure likewise tweeted, “Rest in peace Frankie Knuckles, an inspirational pioneer of the music we love .” David Guetta added, “Frankie knuckles passed away, he was the real Pionner (sic) of house music, I discovered real Djing listening to him. It’s a sad day.”
Our own St. John stated, “I can safely say without Frankie Knuckles and music that I love, I would not even exist today and his passing is just a huge, huge loss. Not just for the dance music community but music in general. And he was a legend, in every sense of the word.”
Knuckles originally grew up playing disco in New York and then moved to Chicago in the 1970s to start spinning at The Warehouse—the club credited with birthing electronic music. He later opened his own venue in 1983, called The Power Plant. The “Godfather of House” as he became to be known even had a section of Jefferson Street in Chicago names for him, called “Frankie Knuckles Way.”
While Knuckles’ original music’s popularity dipped after 2000, revivals of the R&B soaked sound in the form of Disclosure and MK have been steadily re-entering the charts.