Housee pioneer Frankie Knuckles dies at 59

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Frankie Knuckles, the iconic Chicago house DJ, has passed away aged 59. The producer’s longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson, confirmed that he had ‘died unexpectedly’ on Monday afternoon at his home due to complications related to his diabetes.

His death was confirmed by fellow DJ David Morales on Twitter: ”I am devastated to write that my dear friend Frankie Knuckles has passed away today. Can’t write anymore than this at the moment. I’m sorry.”

Born in the Bronx, Frankie Warren Knuckles Jr learned his craft in New York City, where he was mentored by club DJ Larry Levan.

“We would spend entire afternoons working up ideas on how to present a record so that people would hear it in a new way and fall in love with it,” Knuckles later recalled. “To us it was an art form.”

He moved to Chicago in the 1970s, just as disco was dying out, and pioneered a style of repetitious soul and R&B  by adding drum machine loops.

“I would program different break beats and use them as segues between songs and additional beats,” he said in 2011. “I had my own little piece of heaven right there.”

He made his name at The Warehouse, a club in northern Chicago.

“The people that used to hang out at The Warehouse coined the phrase ‘House Music’,” Knuckles said. ”At the time I was the only DJ in the city playing a sound that they heard nowhere else.”

Thanks to his pioneering role in house music, Knuckles was often known as ‘The Godfather of House Music’. The city of Chicago even named a stretch of street and a day after Knuckles in 2004.

 

 

 

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