Classics: Lisa Stansfield – Change (Knuckles’ Classic Club Mix) (Arista)
“If I could change the way I live my life today, I wouldn’t change a single thing. ‘Cos if I change my world into another place, I wouldn’t see your smiling face…” As many words beautifully summin’ up Lisa Stansfield‘s feelings about her beloved one.
An absolute smoothie which the late Frankie Knuckles got to another dimension, although remaining true to its original spirit. Eventually givin’ it a lazy House feel. Meanwhile bringin’ it his instantly identifiable Def Mix sound signature. And (once again) makin’ the proof as to how a House perspective could lead to unsuspected territories. Like Tony Humphries did on his remix of The O’Jays‘ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’. Or David Morales on his rework of Loose Ends‘ ‘Love’s Got Me’ for instance…
As a for me, I guess if I could change the way I love music today, I wouldn’t change a single thing neither…
– “All roads lead to Rome”, says the famous expression. With Lisa Stansfield‘s path to international recognition makin’ no exception. First makin’ herself a name along with Coldcut in the early days of British House (Remember ‘People Hold On’) before turning into a (Brit) Soul icon with long time songwriting partner Ian Devaney.
By 1980, she won Search for a Star. A singing competition held at the Talk of the Town nightclub. Then she released her first single – ‘Your Alibis’ – on Devil Records the year after. Eventually delivering 3 extra singles for the label in 1982 and 1983. Then teamin’ up with school mates Ian Devaney and Andy Morris under the Blue Zone guise in 1984. The threesome putting out one album – ‘Big Thing’ – by the end of 1988 on Arista.
Stansfield co-wrote and recorded the classic ‘People Hold On’ along with Coldcut in early 1989. With its impact leading her to soon after sign another record deal with Arista, but this time as a solo artist. Her debut-album – ‘Affection’ – seeing the light by the end of November during that same year.
She wrote all the songs with Devaney and Morris who also produced the whole album to the exception of ‘This Is The Right Time’ left c/o Coldcut. Eventually comin’ up with her biggest hit and signature song, ‘All Around The World’. But also the burnin’ hot ‘What Did I Do To You’ and the soothing ‘Live Together’.
‘Real Love’, her second album, hit the streets in November 1991. Featuring ‘Change’ which received the remixing treatment of Driza Bone. But also of the late Frankie Knuckles who certainly crafted one of his most vibrant reworks ever. Other cuts worth the mention including the touching ‘All Woman’. But also ‘Set Your Loving Free’ which Louie Vega and Kenny Dope eventually remixed under their Kenlou guise. Then the year after Stansfield came up with ‘Someday (I’m Coming Back)’ as a part of ‘The Bodyguard’ OST. With Frankie Knuckles also remixing it together with long time partner David Morales.
Knuckles also came to retouch ‘Never, Never Give You Up’. A cover version of Barry White‘s classic of the likes from Lisa Stansfield‘s eponymous 4th album back in 1997. Eventually winning the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. Meanwhile the album also featured the swingin’ ‘The Real Thing’.
2001 saw the release of ‘Face Up’. Her fifth album, it would be her very last for Arista. Eventually seeing the singer venturing into 2-Step territories on the fascinating ‘Let’s Just Call It Love’. Then she would make a brief appearance 3 years later on Trevor Horn‘s ZTT Records label. This with ‘Moment’. A Pop oriented album which generated a poor following and eventually got her on a nearly 10 year hiatus, meanwhile focussing on her acting career.
Stansfield resurfaced with a new album – ‘Seven’ – by the end of January 2014. Delivering extra gems such as the aptly titled ‘Carry On’, ‘Can’t Dance’ and the mellow ‘So Be It’. Meanwhile 2018 saw her delivering her eighth album, ‘Deeper’. With its first offshot – ‘Billionaire’ – comin’ up with remixing work courtesy of Rob Hardt of the Cool Million fame. The end of 2018 getting Stansfield to release a ‘Deluxe’ edition of the aforementioned. With its title track – ‘Deeper’ – as brilliantly retouched by Snowboy.
– A quick typing – ‘Frankie Knuckles’ – in the search box of our site should give you a certain idea of his legacy. And, by that, of the consideration we have for him. Standing among the most prolific but first and foremost talented producers/remixers of his generation. With his name firmly associated to a signature – the Def Mix Sound – and an alter ego – David Morales. Themselves synonyms with some of the most brilliant episodes in the maturation of the contemporary groove.
A native New Yorker, Frankie Knuckles arrived right on time to witness the early stages of the nightclubbing and its music – Disco – in the Big Apple. Eventually hangin’ out with his friend, Larry Levan, before comin’ to play Disco, Soul and R&B jams at The Continental Baths and The Gallery.
Knuckles relocated to Chicago, IL by the second half of the 70’s. This after a friend of his by the likes of Robert Williams had opened a space that was to become The Warehouse. Eventually inviting him to play on a regular basis. There, he came with a blend of everything, from Disco classics to European electronic fueled sounds and Rock. The whole setting up the foundations as what was to become House Music by the middle of the 80’s. This along with the use of drum machines and samplers.
Knuckles made his thing in Chicago, eventually collaborating with Jamie Principle. But he also happened to join forces with David Morales and For The Record DJ Pool founder Judy Weinstein under the Def Mix Productions banner to help manage remix requests and handle artist business affairs.
All in all, on his own or along with either David Morales or Eric Kupper, Frankie Knuckles has remixed and produced over 600 releases. With the list of those he happened to rework the music of givin’ a better idea of the impact he generated. And this way above the strict spheres of House Music. Beginning with blasts from the past such as My Mine‘s ‘Hypnotic Tango’ which he came to rework. But also Jago‘s quite sought after ‘I’m Going To Go’. Then Double Exposure‘s ‘My Love Is Free’ and Diana Ross (‘Love Hangover’). Eventually bringin’ fragments of his universe on Swing Out Sister‘s ‘Notgonnachange’. The latter being an example of the demand he generated in the UK. From Tongue’N’Cheek‘s ‘Tomorrow’ to L.A. Mix‘s ‘Live Together’ and D*Note (‘D*Votion 99’). Not to mention Lisa Stansfield‘s ‘Change’ or Loose Ends‘ ‘Hangin’ On A String’).
Of course, Frankie Knuckles made some noise in the House scene. Responsible for seminal tracks such as ‘Tears’ along with Satoshi Tomiie and Robert Owens. But also ‘And I Loved You’ featuring the same Tomiie and Arnold Jarvis. Both of them on FFRR. And how to not think of the burning ‘One Man’ by the likes of Chanelle back in 1989? Or Lil Louis feat. ChinahBlac‘s ‘Fable’??? With the same applying to Hercules & Love Affair‘s ‘Blind’. Then Sybil‘s ‘Let’s Yourself Go’. With the list to be incomplete without a mention to the Director’s Cut signature which he put together along with long time friend Eric Kupper.
And, just like David Morales, he also created serious bridges with R&B names. Beginning with Michael Jackson (‘Rock With You’). But also Chaka Khan (‘Ain’t Nobody’) and David Peaston (‘We’re All In This Together’). This in addition to The Gap Band (‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’) and Chanté Moore (‘This Time’). Then Toni Braxton (‘Un-Break My Heart’) and Womack & Womack (‘MPB’). Not to mention En Vogue‘s ‘You Don’t Have To Worry’ or Will Downing‘s ‘A Love Supreme’…
Meanwhile, under his own banner, Knuckles also made quite an impression. Delivering his debut-album – ‘Beyond The Mix’ – back in 1991. And in the meantime one of his biggest classics ever by the likes of ‘The Whistle Song’. Eventually sharing the bill four years later with Jersey songstress Adeva on the ‘ Welcome To The Real World’ album. With his final album – ‘A New Reality’ – seeing the light back in 2004.
Frankie Knuckles sadly died on March 31, 2014 in Chicago, IL, of complications from diabetes. He was 59…