CHICAGO (CBS) — He was known as the “Godfather” of Chicago House music. 59-year-old Frankie Knuckles was found dead in his Chicago home Monday.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley talked with those who knew and admired the man who created a unique Chicago sound that became known around the world.
Frankie Knuckles didn’t create House music, but he was given credit around the world for advancing an infectious Chicago dance sound.
“It’s a dark day, a very dark day because he’s one of the iconic figures in in the city of Chicago and actually across the world. Frankie is gonna be sadly missed,” said House DJ Farley Jackmaster.
The sound became known as House music, due to Knuckles’ legendary all night parties at the old Warehouse Nightclub on Jefferson. Knuckles was granted an honorary street sign in 1992.
“He would create a kind of ebb and flow across the entire night that was really like a ritualistic experience for people,” said Monica Hairston O’Connell with the Center on Black Music Research.
His original creations like The Whistle Song became House music legends and his influence and that of Chicago House is still heard today in the dance music revival typified by Daft Punk.
“This is Chicago man, the Chicago sound is worldwide. It’s awesome,” said Jackmaster.
Farley Jackmaster Funk, who bills himself as the king of House music, is now re-mixing an old tune to honor Knuckles, his friend of more than 30 years.
Frankie Knuckles wanted to fill a gap in dance music after the 1982 Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park and the decline of that musical style.
The cause of Knuckles’ death isn’t publicly known. He’d just returned from performing in London and hadn’t been feeling well. Knuckles also had a history of heart issues and diabetes.