Various Artists, Frankie Knuckles Presents: His Greatest Hits from Trax Records
Popularizing records soon known as House music
What Larry Levan was to New York and the Paradise Garage, Frankie Knuckles was to Chicago and the Warehouse — a visionary DJ who didn't stop spinning disco just because Steve Dahl staged a disco demolition on the other side of town to destroy it. Just as Levan favored certain underground disco records that became known to his club's clientele as Garage music, Knuckles popularized records soon known as House music — including many of the same discs Levan liked.
Knuckles left the Warehouse in 1982, but the house tag was also applied to the music played at his next club, the Power Plant, as well as similar grooves spun by competing DJs like the Music Box's Ron Hardy. Knuckles and other Chicago DJs freshened their most-played records by reediting and augmenting them with simple drum machine tracks that added intensity and aggression. Soon they applied these beats to their own crude productions on local labels like Trax and DJ International, and within a few years house gained a worldwide following.
Although many early house records offer little beyond simplified disco drums and basslines, Knuckles work with Jamie Principle suggests Prince, the Human League and Italo disco: Both "Baby Wants to Ride" and its similarly popular flip "Your Love" exude an outsider/gay/post-punk sensuality that had taken on an additional sense of danger with AIDS. The other milestone here is Marshall Jefferson's "Move Your Body," a soul stomper featuring a ham-fisted piano riff eventually duplicated for nearly every Italo-house record. Knuckles would go on to more polished, far prettier hits, such as 1991's "The Whistle Song," but these are the embryonic tracks that grew into a movement.