A record of real historical significance? Frankie Knuckles’ unreleased song “I Want The Love Of My Own” tackled sexuality at a time of AIDS and social change – but there’s still no sign of its release…

Back on Friday, this blog published an article about a birthday party for Frankie Knuckles taking place in the city of Chicago today. As a footnote to the article, I commented on the release of “I Want The Love Of My Own”, a Knuckles song recently unearthed from the archives. It was originally due to emerge in October 2021, but three months later remains unavailable.

DJ International have sadly not yet replied to my email asking what’s happening with the release – but I did take a look at their website. On it, there’s an article/press release all about the song – and there are some interesting little nuggets of information in there.

For example, it mentions the track comes from “the vaults of those legendary early studio sessions of the 1980s that are understood to be the only remaining unreleased Knuckles tracks”. This appears to verify a claim made by long-time friend and collaborator Eric Kupper that Knuckles only had a  small number of records which never saw the light of day.

It also says “the song is extremely interesting as it’s rumoured to be performed by two men juxtaposing intertwining question and answer male vocals, toying with sexuality itself”. If this is true, this is not only a piece of history – it could also be said to be one of the most forward-looking recordings in house music. And I don’t make that claim lightly.

Just think back to that era. As a straight man, I cannot comment on what it’s like to be gay – but I can say what I see when I look back at the 1980s. A decade where gay men were vilified and ostracised due to the rise of HIV/AIDS. Today, this virus might be better understood – but a huge number of men suffered terribly because the world didn’t understand it better in the 80s.

And far too many paid for that ignorance with their lives. Amidst this backdrop, this might explain why this song never saw the light of the day at the time. Speaking to a few people who knew Knuckles personally, I understand he was a man who was always comfortable within his own sexuality, even in the difficult times of the 1980s.

Did Knuckles think it wasn’t worth even trying to persuade DJ International to release this? Was the label offered it, only to respond with a categorical no? Was another label offered the opportunity to sign the song? So many questions – and the one man who could definitively answer those questions is no longer with us. How sad…

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