You have the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. And there is no question that the soulful dance music called house music’s godfather was Frankie Knuckles.
Born Francis Nicholls in the Bronx on January 18, 1955, Knuckles began hitting New York’s after-hours spots such as the Loft, the Sanctuary, Better Days, and Tamburlaine—the clubs where disco was born. Knuckles died March 31, 2014 at the age of 59, as confirmed by his longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson. “More details would be forthcoming,” Dunson said, who announced that Knuckles “died unexpectedly this afternoon at home.”
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Knuckles made a number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations “Your Love” and “Baby Wants To Ride”; “Tears” with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” and Sounds of Blackness’s “The Pressure.”
In addition to developing the sound and culture of house music, Knuckles would go on to mix records by major artists such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode.