House Music Legend Frankie Knuckles Dies at 59

Frankie Knuckles, one of the major founding forces of house music, passed away yesterday at the age of 59. He died unexpectedly at his Chicago home on Monday.

Though he got his start in New York, Knuckles became one of the faces of dance music in another city: Chicago. He moved there in his 20s and quickly began working at a new club.

In the late Seventies, the  DJ moved to Chicago at the behest of Robert Williams, who had opened the late night club the Warehouse and needed a resident. Frankie didn’t just rise to the occasion, he created a way of playing music from disparate genres and making it seem cohesive — it became known as house music; and Knuckles became legendary through his edits, his grace and his style.

House spread from Chicago and Detroit to Ibiza and Berlin, and helped sweep in the drug-fueled rave culture in the U.K. in the ’90s. But Knuckles was never interested in hedonism. He saw the dance floor as a sacred space. The beat united everybody there. For Frankie Knuckles, the beat was a creed.

MORE  AT  NPR

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