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Frankie Knuckles

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Information about Frankie Knuckles

Profile image of Frankie Knuckles

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
DJ

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Olive
Favorite Food:
Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Only Thing Worse Than A Woman That's Jealous Of Me Is Two Women.

Birthplace

Born:
1/18/1955
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
DJ

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Olive
Favorite Food:
Pasta
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Home
Favorite Quote:
Only Thing Worse Than A Woman That's Jealous Of Me Is Two Women.

Birthplace

Born:
1/18/1955
Birth Location:
New York
See how Frankie Knuckles is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

DJ Frankie Knuckles was born in the Bronx, New York on January 18, 1955. The first music he was exposed to as a child came from his sister’s jazz record collection. He was naturally creative and studied commercial art and costume design before he started spinning records as a teenager in 1971.

Knuckles’ first DJing job came from Tee Scott, whom he credits as both a legend and a major influence on his own style. In 1972, Knuckles and childhood friend Larry Levan first worked together at the New York City club, The Gallery. When Levan left to work at Continental Baths in 1973, Knuckles followed to work as the alternate DJ to Levan. He remained at Continental Baths until the club closed in 1976. In March of 1977, Knuckles played the opening night of the Chicago private after hours club, US Studio -The Warehouse, which was located in a three-story factory building in Chicago’s West Loop industrial area. In 1983, Knuckles opened his own club, The Power Plant which was located in an industrial space near the Cabrini Green housing projects.

After more than a decade behind the turntables in dance clubs, Knuckles began to record tracks as well as play them. In 1983, a 12-inch single of his Warehouse classic “Let No Man Put Asunder” was released on the Salsoul label. The song went on to become a house classic. Knuckles produced songs for local Chicago vocalists and wrote such tracks as “Baby Wants To Ride,” “Bad Boy,” “Cold World" and “Your Love,” which was a breakthrough hit for Chicago native Jamie Principle. Knuckles released a hit with “You Can't Hide” in 1986. Knuckles closed the Power Plant that same year. In 1987, he returned home to New York City and secured gigs at the city’s hottest clubs, including the Roxy and Sound Factory. Knuckles, joined David Morales, (one of the biggest names in house music), along with Judy Weinstein founded the Def Mix music production company in 1988.

In 1991, Knuckles signed with Virgin Records, becoming one of the first DJs to sign to a major label. In 1997, he became the first DJ to win a Grammy Award for "”Remixer of the Year.” Knuckles’ 2002 album, Motivation, was his first release of completely original tracks, rather than a remix album. Knuckles kicked off the Def Mix 15th Anniversary tour in Sydney, Australia in 2003. Knuckles has also remixed songs by superstars such as Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, En Vogue, and Michael Jackson.

Frankie Knuckles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2013.

See how Frankie Knuckles is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Frankie Knuckles' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles remembers listening to the radio and spending time with his maternal great-grandparents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles describes his early artistic interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles remembers being hit by a car as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early schooling in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers moving to the South Bronx neighborhood of New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles describes his early household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles remembers helping to take care of his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his elementary and junior high school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his favorite subject in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his sister, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his sister, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about using art as an emotional escape
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his teacher Robert Marvin and coping with his emotions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his early musical influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles recalls exploring the music scene in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles talks about developing his musical preferences
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the nightclubs in Manhattan, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls applying to the High School of Art and Design in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the counterculture environment of the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles remembers defending himself and his friends in the South Bronx
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles recalls living with his friends in Upper Manhattan, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the curriculum at High School of Art and Design
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes the nightclubs in Manhattan, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about hosting parties and events
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his start as a deejay
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles talks about being gay in the New York club scene
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Frankie Knuckles remembers Deejay Tee Scott
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Frankie Knuckles recalls seeing popular music performers in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Frankie Knuckles remembers getting involved in post-production in music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles remembers Warehouse club owner, Robert Williams
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles recalls moving to Chicago, Illinois and opening the Warehouse nightclub
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles describes the house music at the Warehouse nightclub
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the history of house music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles describes his decision to leave the Warehouse nightclub, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the development of house music
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes his decision to leave the Warehouse nightclub, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the differences between Chicago, Illinois and New York City
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the AIDS epidemic, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about cultivating his image and personal character
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the AIDS epidemic, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles describes the racial prejudice of nightclubs in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers his acquaintances in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about launching his production career at Def Mix Productions
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles remembers the artists he's worked with throughout his production career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles recalls working with Michael Jackson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the remixing process
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles remembers working with Luther Vandross
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the art of music production
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the artists and repertoire division of major record labels
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles remembers the emergence of house music in Europe
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his record deal with Virgin Records America, Inc.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles remembers winning the first Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his partnership at Def Mix Productions
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Frankie Knuckles describes the Def Mix Productions anniversary tours
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Frankie Knuckles remembers being inducted into the Dance Hall Music Hall of Fame
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his most recent projects
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon the development of the house music genre
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Frankie Knuckles describes the Director's Cut project with Eric Kupper
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Frankie Knuckles talks about the future of the music industry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Frankie Knuckles describes the elements of house music
  • Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon his career
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Frankie Knuckles talks about his art and the power of music
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Frankie Knuckles talks about mixing and playing for the crowds
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon overcoming childhood abuse
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Frankie Knuckles describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Frankie Knuckles reflects upon his life