Tag Archives: Frankie Knuckles

Way to make a guy feel old just as the weekend’s getting started! Frankie Knuckles would have been 67 years old this week – and which BBC radio station mentioned this? Radio 2…

If you go back far enough into the history of house music, you’ll eventually come across a time when the BBC were quite hesitant to get involved with the scene. In the UK, house music saw its first exposures to British audiences on pirate radio – I believe the first show to play it in Britain was The Jackin’ Zone, hosted by Jazzy M from London in 1985.

The BBC’s youth orientated Radio 1 didn’t get behind it until 1987, when Jeff Young was hired from their local London station to do a show called The Big Beat. But they didn’t get fully behind house music until January 1991, when Pete Tong arrived at the station with The Essential Selection – a show conceptualised by music journalist Eddie Gordon.

I sometimes forget that house music isn’t in its infancy anymore. The era where David Morales, Frankie Knuckles and so forth dominated the airwaves are long gone. House music’s 40th birthday will be in just a few years time. So there was always the question of how things would be treated as time went on.

Had he still been with us, Frankie Knuckles would have turned 67 years old on Tuesday. But the occasion wasn’t commemorated at all by Radio 1 – the station made no reference to it at all on their social media platforms. And as far as I’ve been able to establish, it wasn’t mentioned on the air either. Do they suspect Radio 1’s target audience of 15 to 29 year olds wouldn’t be familiar with who he was?

Instead, it was left to Radio 2, who published this

When I was growing up in the 90s, I used to think Radio 2 was a station for over the hill types. And now, not only do I listen to Radio 2 in the car, but I see Frankie Knuckles being honoured by the station.

I must be getting old. Happy weekend…

A record of real historical significance? Frankie Knuckles’ unreleased song “I Want The Love Of My Own” tackled sexuality at a time of AIDS and social change – but there’s still no sign of its release…

Back on Friday, this blog published an article about a birthday party for Frankie Knuckles taking place in the city of Chicago today. As a footnote to the article, I commented on the release of “I Want The Love Of My Own”, a Knuckles song recently unearthed from the archives. It was originally due to emerge in October 2021, but three months later remains unavailable.

DJ International have sadly not yet replied to my email asking what’s happening with the release – but I did take a look at their website. On it, there’s an article/press release all about the song – and there are some interesting little nuggets of information in there.

For example, it mentions the track comes from “the vaults of those legendary early studio sessions of the 1980s that are understood to be the only remaining unreleased Knuckles tracks”. This appears to verify a claim made by long-time friend and collaborator Eric Kupper that Knuckles only had a  small number of records which never saw the light of day.

It also says “the song is extremely interesting as it’s rumoured to be performed by two men juxtaposing intertwining question and answer male vocals, toying with sexuality itself”. If this is true, this is not only a piece of history – it could also be said to be one of the most forward-looking recordings in house music. And I don’t make that claim lightly.

Just think back to that era. As a straight man, I cannot comment on what it’s like to be gay – but I can say what I see when I look back at the 1980s. A decade where gay men were vilified and ostracised due to the rise of HIV/AIDS. Today, this virus might be better understood – but a huge number of men suffered terribly because the world didn’t understand it better in the 80s.

And far too many paid for that ignorance with their lives. Amidst this backdrop, this might explain why this song never saw the light of the day at the time. Speaking to a few people who knew Knuckles personally, I understand he was a man who was always comfortable within his own sexuality, even in the difficult times of the 1980s.

Did Knuckles think it wasn’t worth even trying to persuade DJ International to release this? Was the label offered it, only to respond with a categorical no? Was another label offered the opportunity to sign the song? So many questions – and the one man who could definitively answer those questions is no longer with us. How sad…

This Sunday – just two days before he would have had his 67th birthday – Frankie Knuckles will be celebrated in his native Chicago… let’s see this more often!

House music is a curious old beast when it comes to its roots, isn’t it? We all know – well, except if you’re David Guetta – that house music mostly originates from the cities of Chicago, Detroit and New York in the USA. Yet all three cities have their issues when it comes to celebrating their heritage and keeping the culture alive.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely the fault of the scene. The rise of, shall we say, more right-wing leaning politicians who use nightclubs as the equivalent of a political pinãta is sometimes to blame. But I firmly believe cities like Chicago should be proud of their heritage and should be unashamedly forward when it comes to celebrating it.

Which is why I entirely welcome the news that Metro and Smartbar in the city are being taken over this weekend for the For Frankie event. Taking place on Sunday 16th January, it’s basically a birthday party for the man himself – who would be turning 67 years old next Tuesday if he were still with us on this mortal realm.

As far as I’m concerned, things like this need to become annual events. Aside from massively benefitting the profile of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation, this helps keep memories fresh and might even invigorate the next generation from Chicago to create new moments. Heck, I’d even insist Chicago build a big statue of the man himself if I had my way…

Since we’re on the subject of Frankie Knuckles, where is the release of “I Want The Love Of My Own”? DJ International claimed the unreleased song was unearthed on a two-inch reel-to-reel tape and would be released in October last year. This hasn’t happened – and I’m not entirely sure why. DJ International have been contacted for comment…

Is there a huge vault of unreleased Frankie Knuckles tracks? Er, nope – but one called “I Want The Love Of My Own” has been recently unearthed and it’s coming out soon…

Whenever a singer dies these days. one of the questions which soon raises its ugly head is what’s going to happen to all the music they made which was never released. And what happens to their music in the future? For example, Aaliyah died back in 2001 at the age of 22 from a plane crash, and there are still disputes over her music to this day.

Similar questions were asked in the world of house music after Frankie Knuckles died back in March 2014. This was a man who had contributed an enormous number of original productions and remixes in the house music world since the 1980s – his work was sparse during the 2000s due to health problems, but he bounced back as part of Director’s Cut with Eric Kupper in the early 2010s.

So when he died at the age of 59, there was speculation a huge treasure trove of unreleased material existed. Eric Kupper denied this in an interview later on, and his words appear to have been correct – apart from a few unreleased Director’s Cut remixes, not much has emerged.

Earlier this year, Billie Ray Martin revealed that the Frankie Knuckles remixes of “Heading For The Night” by Electribe 101 would finally be making their way to vinyl – the label they were signed to refused to release them back in 1990.

However, these had been heard before. For a number of years, anyone could listen to them on Soundcloud. They were uploaded shortly after his death just over seven years ago. But totally new – or old, depending upon how you look at it – material was lacking.

Until now. Yesterday, it was Frankie Knuckles Day – something initiated in 2004 by a then little-known Illinois senator called Barack Obama. I wonder what happened to him? A song by Knuckles was found recently on a two-inch reel-to-reel tape and it’s called “I Want The Love Of My Own” and DJ International are putting it out in October.

What’s it sound like? At the moment, no sod knows. They’re keeping it under wraps. Expect, however, my honest thoughts on the song in the near future… 

If a Brass Eye episode about dance music existed, this would be it! About the time that David Guetta tried to sue Wunderground – only for Frankie Knuckles to also fail to see the joke

My post last Friday about a very shrewd business deal on the part of David Guetta, the piñata of EDM, making a nice $100million from a deal signing his old masters over to Warner Music reminded me of another episode in the life of Guetta. And it would be churlish of me not to share the fun with you all.

This goes back to the year 2013. Wunderground published this article, which remains live on the site to this day. The gist of it is that David Guetta pressed play on the wrong CD whilst DJing and clubbers heard a self-help CD for chorophobia – the name for an irrational fear of dancing.

Guetta’s solicitor appeared to think the article was fact. It seemed they didn’t know that Wunderground is essentially dance music’s version of The Onion and sent them an order demanding it was taken down.

Wunderground told Guetta’s lawyer to get stuffed. The page remains online to this day and no further correspondence was received – although Wunderground’s reply did suggest that “if your client is so worried about the DJ Mag voting season, he should stop wasting his time and mine sending his legal team chasing after comedians, and instead concentrate on making music people actually want to vote for.”.

Whilst all this was going on, Frankie Knuckles responded to the controversy – apparently unaware it was satirical – with this…

Which reminds me more than a little of this.

It wasn’t exactly his finest hour…

Unreleased Frankie Knuckles? You want to click this, don’t you?

Six remixes that Frankie Knuckles did for Electribe 101 back in 1990 are finally due to be released later in the year. Exactly why they were never released at the time – especially given what a hot property Knuckles was in the early 90s – is unknown, but their release is very much welcome.

It makes me wonder just how many remixes and such from that era were never officially released, and why. Another hot property at the time was David Morales. His remixes commanded at least £15,000 a time – but his remixes of “Something Got Me Started” by Simply Red in 1991 never got an official release either, for example.

I do wonder just how much of this unreleased material lies around in record label’s troves of master recordings. I’d just love to know…