Underworld and Heller & Farley have recorded a cover of Frankie Knuckles’ 1987 Chicago house classic “Baby Wants To Ride” to be released via Junior Boys Own on March 31, 2015, the first anniversary of the legendary DJ/producer’s death. The release follows an array of artists, including Def Mix partner David Morales, Tony Humphries and Jimmy Edgar, who have paid tribute to the master since his passing.
The interpretation of one of Knuckles’ signature tunes will be released digitally and on limited edition 12” vinyl by Junior Boys Own/Caroline International. All proceeds of the record will go to the Frankie Knuckles Fund, which is part of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
“As the creator of house music we owe Frankie a huge debt. Karl and I have always seen Frankie as the source and, as Underworld, we’re always swimming in his river,” said Underworld’s Rick Smith.
“My relationship with Frankie goes back a long way. Twenty-five years ago, Frankie championed the early music Pete Heller and I made and many of the first releases on Junior Boys Own. He helped turn a group of suburban London music fans into DJs and producers who could travel the world, simply by his patronage,” said Terry Farley.
Sir Elton John said of the release, “It’s fabulous. I have always LOVED Underworld. This is a great track and tribute to Frankie. Thanks to everyone involved from me and everyone at the Elton John AIDS Foundation.”
You can buy the track digitally now at babywantstoride.com, ensuring all proceeds go direct to the charity, without any retailer margin deductions. The limited edition of 1,000 vinyl 12″s and the digital bundle are available at as “Pay What You Want” (subject to a minimum of £12 plus shipping for the vinyl and £3 for the digital bundle).
Stay tuned for an upcoming tribute to Frankie Knuckles publishing next month.
Some worrisome news from Dada Life’s Olle Cornéer. In a candid post on Dada Life’s website and Facebook, Cornéer has revealed that he has cancer. “The only word I could hear was ‘cancer,’” says Cornéer. “It kept bouncing inside my head and I don’t think I heard what the doctor said for the rest of the visit.”
In the past few months, Cornéer has not been touring as he was diagnosed in September and immediately sought treatment. “It was a Monday. On Wednesday I had surgery (moving fast is important). Since then I’ve been taking blood samples, going through X-rays and talking to doctors. And now I’m in chemotherapy.”
Reading Cornéer’s concerned but resilient words on the subject is reassuring – this has been a particularly heat-wrenching year for the DJ community. We lost both DJ Rashad and Frankie Knuckles unexpectedly, and it’s great to hear that Cornéer has caught it quickly and is doing what’s needed for a full recovery.
In addition to his treatments, Cornéer is still making music, having just finished tracks under his Night Gestalt moniker. He describes the project as the sounds he hears in his head “after the lights go dark at a big show, alone winding down at night,” which will be particularly intriguing to hear considering his recent diagnosis. He is also excited to work on new Dada Life tracks soon, which is great to hear.
Read Cornéer’s full statement here, and watch a clip of Cornéer directing a choir for his experimental New Flesh Network project.
Sir Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, in association with Def Mix, has established a charity fund in honor of the Godfather of House Frankie Knuckles, who died on March 31, to support HIV information, testing and treatment. The Elton John AIDS Foundation is one of the largest private funding institutions for AIDS in the world.
“Frankie was such a lovely man and a great talent and his legacy provides a powerful voice to reach out to people, particularly men of colour, about their essential role in helping to create an AIDS-free future.”
“Through the creation of this Fund, Frankie Knuckles’ music industry legacy will be transformed into a movement for health and empowerment in the Black community,” said EJAF-US Executive Director Scott Campbell. “In the United States, Black Americans represent only 13% of the population, but account for 46% of people living with HIV. Frankie’s name and image can help us reach into Black communities with urgently needed information and services.”
A memorial service for Knuckles is planned for today in Chicago, with a second taking place in New York City on April 22. Additional memorials will take place around the world.
With the death of Frankie Knuckles on Monday, his musical legacy — specifically his days pioneering house music as a DJ and producer in Chicago — has been celebrated by fans and peers. While Knuckles’ work for Trax Records is legendary, he maintained that he was never fairly compensated for his work on the label. Screaming Rachel (pictured above) and Jorge Cruz issued a statement today, defending themselves and their relationship with Knuckles.
Wrote Rachel, “I have decided to give my share of all monies collected for the sale of ‘Your Love’ To Frankie Knuckles estate, or to a proper charity. I hope that others involved will do the same and I’m doing my best to encourage that.”