Rare Video Footage of Frankie Knuckles in 1986

On the heels of the passing of Grammy-winning house music pioneer Frankie Knuckles, the Media Burn video archive shared a previously unseen mini-documentary of the Oct. 25, 1986 opening of the Power House club in Chicago on Wednesday. The documentary was produced by filmmaker Phil Ranstrom.

The clip features a brief interview with Knuckles, plus footage of patrons dancing to what Knuckles coined as “disco’s revenge” and a performance from the Steve “Silk” Hurley-led J.M. Silk. These were the glory days of Chicago house.

“House music to me represents yet another form of black music that has broken from the street into peoples’ homes,” Simon Low, then an executive with RCA Records, says in the clip. “House music is intrinsically a Chicago phenomenon. You can hear it. I mean, all this music they’re playing tonight has come out of Chicago.”

Knuckles had his own Chicago club, the Power Plant, from 1982 to 1987. He then began the residency at Power House, but according to Tim Lawrence, author of “Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79,” Knuckles left Chicago for New York after Power House closed and was renamed the Music Box in 1988.

“How hot is house music now?” an interviewer asks Knuckles in the video.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s 12.”

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Damion Pell
About the Author

Loves long walks along the beach, holding hands and romantic 80's power ballads, partial to electronic music and likes to make the odd mix or two.