The beginning years of Frankie Knuckles is like many others dj’ing small rooms until he found himself behind the decks of NYC’s Continental Baths. The FIT (Fashion Institute) student and DJ journeyed to Chicago in 1977 to helm the decks of a nightclub called “The Warehouse”. From that day his popularity rose to heights never before witnessed by a DJ. It was the kids that hung out at The Warehouse not the press that actually gave me this term of endearment “The Godfather of House” Knuckles clarifies. Following the closure of The Warehouse in 1983 Knuckles went on to open his own place, The Power Plant. At this time he began production with Jamie Principle on the legendary hits “YOUR LOVE” & “BABY WANTS TO RIDE”. Closing the Power Plant in 1986 to pursue a career in production Knuckles returned to the turntables of New York City spinning first at “The World” and then the still-revered Sound Factory. His career was building, his production blossoming it was time to go back to where he started to see how far he had come.
In 1987 Def Mix productions was formed at the same time he moved. “I went in to join the Record Pool and found myself in a meeting with Judy & David who were launching Def Mix. The rest as they say, is history,” states Frankie. Knuckles’ high profile brought him to the attention of Virgin Records in the 1990, where he delivered a pair of albums (“Beyond the Mix” and “Welcome to the Real World”). Like many of his mixes, his own single “The Whistle Song”, crossed into pop culture and in 1992 was introduced into the mainstream via Nestea’s Ice Tea commercial made for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. This catapulted his career and by 1998 he received the highest honor, The First Grammy Award for Dance Remixer of the year. His works with mainstream superstars such as Luther Vandross, The Pet Shop Boys, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, and Soul II Soul, amongst others are timeless. With this exposure Knuckles’ career as a remixer and DJ soar internationally.
Knuckles spent the following years DJ’ing staying connected to the streets. In 2002, Frankie re emerged with “Motivation”, which Knuckles describes as “timely and needed” as it was delayed being finished by 9/11. “A New Reality” his first original production in years soon followed and contained original, warm and complex songs, which resonated with dancers around the world. 2006 Frankie launched his digital label “NOICE!music” with “DubJ’s D’Light (a remixed reality)”. The first single, “The Whistle Song Revisited” a new production, once again reached the top of the Billboard Dance chart in December ’06, 14 years later. “Gimme Gimme (Disco Shimmy)” and “Because of Your Love” is now available along with the entire Dub’J album.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley along with the support of Senator Barack Obama officially declared August 26, 2004 “Frankie Knuckles Day”in the DJ’s adoptive hometown of Chicago. The street where the legendary Warehouse once stood became “Frankie Knuckles Way”.
As Def Mix turns 20, Knuckles is preparing to celebrate this milestone with David Morales, Satoshi Tomiie, Hector Romero and Judy Weinstein. The celebration includes a world tour and several special events in addition to his normal tour and recording obligations. The celebration launches in May with a weekender at London’s famous nightspot, Turnmills. The special events will continue through the rest of the year hitting six Continents.