It may be the 1st April but sadly, this is one story that isn’t a practical joke. One of House music’s legends and founding fathers, “Frankie Knuckles”, passed away at his home on 31st March.
Born in The Bronx in 1955, Francis Nicholls started his journey and career as a DJ playing soul and disco at the infamous “Continental Baths” in New York alongside fellow friend and pioneer, Larry Levan. In 1977 he moved to Chicago, where he became a regular at The Warehouse (the club that gave birth to the term “house”), before setting up his own spot – The Power Plant. Here, he began to experiment with his own edits, mixing up classic sounds with the nascent new wave of electronic beats emanating from Europe; using drum machines to emphasise the beat and add a new dimension to his live performances.
He then began his production career that would help change the face of dance music, cutting seminal records such as “Your Love”, “Baby Wants To Ride” and “Tears”:
Under the tutelage of Judy Weinstein, owner of the production company Def Mix, he enjoyed great success as both a producer and travelling DJ. Since then, he has remained an integral part of the tapestry of the music, past and present – renown for his generous spirit and dedication to his craft.
Long may his story and legacy continue to shine…