Barack and Michelle Obama have added their voices to the public grieving of Frankie Knuckles, the Chicago house pioneer who died last month at age 59. Knuckles' frequent production partner David Morales shared via Facebook a letter addressed to Knuckles' family and friends that the President and First Lady signed. It acknowledges Knuckles contribution to culture with high praise: "Frankie's work helped open minds and bring people together, blending genres to capture our attention and ignite our imaginations. He was a trailblazer in his field..."
If you didn't understand how much Frankie Knuckles meant to people before last night, when news of the 59-year-old DJ and producer's death started spreading on social media, by now you probably do. If you need a lesson in what he meant to the world, watch the clip from the 2001 U.K. documentary about house music, Pump Up the Volume, above.
Michael Jackson died three years ago today, so here's my favorite remix of my favorite of his songs, done in the mid-90's by none other than the godfather of house, Frankie Knuckles. I love how Frankie keeps all of the elements in that matter (the strings, the horns, the bubble-keyboards) and emphasizes some to make them matter more — I never realized how gorgeous this vocal performance was until I heard the stripped-down intro.