It’s 1981. Frankie Knuckles, a New York DJ relocated for the last four years in Chicago, is driving south through the outskirts of his adopted city to visit his God-daughter. He notices a sign in the window of a bar: ‘WE PLAY HOUSE MUSIC’. Bemused, he turns to his friend and asks “Now what is that all about?” She looks at the sign and tells him, “It means music like you play at the Warehouse.”
It’s nearly a decade since the boosted bass kick of the first house records was heard; the vinyl blossoming of a club culture borne of Chicago’s black gay underground. In the years since the music emerged, house in its many forms has brought pleasure to millions, and in the UK and Europe, provided a soundtrack for an entire generation. There are plenty of stories about how house got its name, but almost all of them refer to the club the music stems from: Frankie Knuckles’ Warehouse.