Frankie Knuckles dead at 59

The man who almost single-handely launched the House Sound of Chicago, the basis for all the modern dance music has died at the age of 59. He was one of the most important figures in modern music.

Frankie was born in the Bronx in January 1955, and became a disco DJ in the early 1970s, spinning with childhood friend and garage pioneer Larry Levan at the Continental Baths. In 1977, the Warehouse nightclub opened in Chicago, and Knuckles moved to the city to become its premier DJ. As legend has it, the music Knuckles would spin at The Warehouse became extremely popular among his regular clubgoers, who would then go to record stores to request “house” music—music spun at The Warehouse.

What Knuckles would spin evolved into its own genre, as producers used drum machines to produce less expensive version of popular dance styles. Knuckles would also begin to do his own edits, remaking disco tracks to make them work better for his dance floor.

In addition to remixing artists such as Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, and Diana Ross, Knuckles released a series of original productions, including a 1987’s Your Love and 1991’s The Whistle Song.

In 2005, he was inducted into the House Music Hall of Fame.

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