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House music dates back to over thirty years since it first went mainstream. It first originated from Chicago in the mid-70s, a time when disco was the biggest genre of music. House music is directly descended from disco but a little deeper and designed to make everyone around dance instantly. A new club opened up in Chicago at the time called the Warehouse, where house music got its name in the first place. It was, however, popularised by African-American teenage disk jockeys commonly known as Frankie Knuckles and his friends.

Frankie Knuckles and His Friends.

This group mainly consisted of Frankie Knuckles and his childhood friend Larry Levan (picture below).

Explore a huge archive of early Frankie Knuckles mixes and tracklists

Levan mixed progressive rock, soul, rhythm, and blues all together with a disco finish. When asked to command the DJ booth at the upcoming night-spot in New York called Paradise Garage, he jumped at the opportunity to play his sound with no hindrances. This led to the growth of his following to over a thousand clubbers. Frankie Knuckles, on the other hand, became so popular in the New York music scene that a group of club promoters including Robert Williams asked him to join them in Chicago. He accepted and started working as the resident DJ at the Warehouse. The Warehouse was so popular that club and dance fanatics started to ask about the music they heard “at the Warehouse.” Soon enough, people dropped the ware and simply referred to that type of music as “house” music.

Most people assume house music originated from American music. This is not true. Pioneer house music DJs like Frankie Knuckles employed the blend of a Eurobeat vibe with old disco classics. This brought out a different feel in music that was appreciated by clubbers all over the world. European music was gaining popularity in the USA at the time, with clubs like the Warehouse and Paradise Garage promoting it to their fans. These clubs were also known for breaking barriers in sexuality and race. In the 70s, most clubs in Chicago were based on segregation which caused a rift between the citizens. However, when the Warehouse opened, they did not mind any race, religion or even sexual orientation. Whether you were black, Hispanic or White; the point was to enjoy house music. The best way to interact was through music and dance. This made The Warehouse command a strong following and grew to be the most popular club in Chicago.

Aesthetically, house music brought together the oppressed communities that needed a safe space to be themselves. African-Americans wanted a safe space to express their culture and music without being discriminated. Most people will never acknowledge that house music flourished because of gay clubs. They could not understand that house music was a unifying factor that tried to bring everyone together.

Others attribute house music to jazz and funk rather than the commercial disco music that was majorly popular at the time. Regardless of the genres that brought about house music, we can all agree that this genre will remain relevant for lifetimes to come.

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