House music pioneer Frankie dies

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Copy of SA Frankie Knuckles . Frankie Knuckles

Frankie Knuckles, a pioneer of house music who mixed records for the likes of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, has died at the age of 59, news reports said early Tuesday.

His death was confirmed by his longtime business partner, Frederick Dunson, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Dunson was quoted as saying more details would be released later Tuesday.

Besides developing the sound and culture of house music, Knuckles mixed records for performers like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode, the Tribune said.

After learning to be a club DJ in New York, Knuckles moved to Chicago in the late 1970s and forged fame as one of the city's most influential dance music forces.

Knuckles came to Chicago just as disco was dying out.

The Tribune said that for many music buffs disco literally died when a radio deejay named Steve Dahl blew up hundreds of disco albums.

“I witnessed that caper that Steve Dahl pulled at Disco Demolition Night and it didn't mean a thing to me or my crowd,” Knuckles told the Tribune. “But it scared the record companies, so they stopped signing disco artists and making disco records. So we created our own thing in Chicago to fill the gap.”

By the late '80s, Knuckles and many of his peers were stars in Europe's emerging rave scene.

Knuckles joked that he could walk down the street in Chicago and not be recognized, yet be mobbed by upon arriving at European airports for DJ gigs.

“I wasn't frustrated by that, not at all,” he said. “I'm not the kind of person that lives for fame and glory. If I've got a nice, clean home and can put a meal on my table and can entertain my friends, I'm fine. I don't need to see my face plastered everywhere,” the Tribune quoted him as saying. - Sapa-AFP

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