The “Godfather of House” — Frankie Knuckles — Passes Away at 59

Frankie Knuckles, George Jackson, Jamie Principle
Frankie Knuckles, George Jackson, Jamie Principle

This crushing news kept us up all night, and left us totally numb for the better part of the day.  5 Magazine broke the story and the horrible news spread like an insidious virus.  We were hoping it would turn out to be a cruel prank, but that would not be the case, as social media quickly confirmed.  As the headline correctly states, the “Godfather of House” music, Frankie Knuckles, passed away yesterday at the age of 59.  Multiple reports indicate that complications from type 2 diabetes was the cause of death.  This is crushing news and we don’t know where to begin.

The best thing we can say is that we are fans and feel blessed to have been able to witness his brilliance up-close.  Frankie was the consummate audiophile with a gift for connecting with people through music and his affable personality.  We found him to be a very approachable and humble man.  The camera loved him and massive crowds showered him with love at his shows around the globe.  He had a keen ear for music and a seemingly endless “vocabulary” for “mixing permutations.”  In simpler terms, he didn’t have to rely on a set playlist.

We were overjoyed when he received his Grammy award in 1997.  We also marveled at how he managed to change with the times, always leading the way when it came to technological shifts within the DJ and production arenas.  He loved his knobs (rotary mixers), but he was never a difficult snob making inordinate demands.  He made the crowd snap, scream, smile, cry and dance.  Moving the crowd was his primary objective and he always succeeded.

Frankie’s untimely passing underscores the fact that life cannot be taken for granted.  Make that phone call; give that hug; take that selfie.  Life is too short to squander.

Rest in paradise, Mr. Knuckles.  We’re blessed to have crossed your path…

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