Frankie Knuckles, 1955–2014
Sad news in the world of electronic music: Frankie Knuckles, the “godfather” of house music, died yesterday at the age of fifty-nine.
Though house is not my favorite style of electronic music, I listen to a little. I prefer my house music progressive, deep, funky, rhythmic, hypnotic, and without any annoyingly cheerful and cheesy vocals about love and utopian, hippie-dippie whatnot (which I guess can be called diva house). (Despite having listened to electronic music for years, I am still not well versed in the minute differences between certain styles. What makes this trance and that house? Sometimes it is obvious, but other times I shrug my shoulders and just enjoy the music. I’ll let the experts squabble over categorizations.) Regardless, house is a pillar of electronic music — and it was founded by Knuckles. His influence, no doubt, transcends the style he pioneered. Without him, I am sure electronic music would be very different.
The next time I am in Chicago, I will need to pay my respects by visiting the very place house music was born: a section of Jefferson Street aptly designated Frankie Knuckles Way. (I wanted to do it a couple years ago but did not get the chance.)