Local Dance Music Community Mourn DJ Frankie Knuckles

By Alyssa Pereira
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DJ Frankie Knuckles (credit: Claire Greenway/Getty Images)

DJ Frankie Knuckles (credit: Claire Greenway/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – 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.

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.

Music Director Aaron Axelsen of local alternative rock and electronic dance music (EDM) radio station Live 105, said Tuesday, “Sad to hear about the passing of legendary Chicago house visionary Frankie Knuckles. He was a big influence on me back in the early ‘90s and his music was an integral component of the early days of Subsonic when we launched our Live 105 electronic music show back in 1996.”

On-air personality and Housenation founder/DJ, St. John of 99.7 [NOW!] said about Knuckles “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.”

Questlove Jenkins of The Roots/The Tonight Show w/ Jimmy Fallon tweeted out Tuesday morning, “jesus man. Frankie Knuckles was so under-appreciated. he was the dj that dj’s aspired to be. true dance pioneer.”

English electronic music duo, @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.”

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