As yesterday marked the 2nd anniversary of the passing of perhaps the truest legend in house music, it would rather ignorant to have a blog about classic house and not have a post about Frankie Knuckles and one of his most revered productions, Tears. Laying the groundwork for the genre through his sets at Chicago’s legendary Warehouse club, the broad genre known as house music took its name from the club in tribute to the records Knuckles played there. Knuckles would often bring in a Roland 909 drum machine to play over other tracks, giving a distinct, heavy-sounding edge to his signature style.
Produced in conjunction with Japanese producer and protegé of Knuckles’ Satoshi Tomiie, the track features a seminal vocal from another house music legend Robert Owens. The track was an instant club success and the mournful narrative of the lyrics firmly established it as a timeless classic.
Numerous remixes have followed over the years, including a pumping remix courtesy of Full Intention in 1999 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the original. After finally finding a vinyl copy about 2 years ago, I was inspired to put together a remix of my own not long after Knuckles’ passing. While I can’t say if it is as timeless as the original, I wanted to give it a bit of an update while putting the emphasis on the song and the groove.
Easy to pull out and incorporate in any form, “Tears” will live on forever as one of the greatest house records ever made and one of the greatest songs ever recorded.