28 years after his passing, a mainstay of early Chicago house may be afforded a more deserving memorial marker. Ron Hardy was buried in an unmarked common grave after his 1992 passing, but The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and Chosen Few DJs have organized a May 8th live-streamed event at Le Nocturne Chicago to raise funds for his gravestone.
The event coincides with what would have been Hardy’s 63rd birthday. According to 5 Magazine, Chosen Few DJs Andre Hatchett, Mike Dunn, Terry Hunter and Wayne Williams will perform, in addition to Celeste Alexander, Craig Loftis, Gene Hunt, Jamie 3:26, Ron Carroll, and Ron’s nephew, Bill Hardy. It will be streamed via Twitch, Facebook and YouTube.
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On March 2nd 1992 the #HouseMusic community lost one of its great pioneers, the legendary DJ Ron Hardy. Since that time his final resting place has gone unmarked. Three years ago Chicago attorney and co-founder of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation, the late Randy Crumpton came up with the idea to raise funds to purchase a memorial marker for Ron. Crumpton mentioned his idea to FKF President/Executive Director Frederick Dunson who then spoke with Chosen Few DJ members @DJWayneWilliams, @DJAlanKing and @DJTerryHunter about a collaboration to purchase the stone and remedy the situation. Fast forward to this year… a few weeks ago during a conversation, Dunson mentioned the idea again to Hunter who enthusiastically responded “Let’s do it!” So on May 8th, to observe and celebrate what would have been Ron’s 63rd birthday, the @ChosenFewDJs + the @FrankieKnucklesFoundation join forces to host a fundraising effort to raise funds to purchase a marker. The day will consist of a marathon of DJ sets featuring ANDRE HATCHETT, BILL HARDY (Ron’s Nephew), CELESTE ALEXANDER , CRAIG LOFTIS, GENE HUNT, JAMIE 326, MIKE DUNN, RON CARROLL, TERRY HUNTER and WAYNE WILLIAMS broadcasted live from @LeNocturneChicago 12pm-10pm (CST) on their Twitch, Facebook and YouTube. Donations to the cause can be made via GoFundMe.com/For-The-Love-Of-Ron. #ForTheLoveOfRon
Ron Hardy Revisited
Ron Hardy’s legacy in DJing and remixing culture straddled the chronological line separating disco from house. A fixture of Chicago gay clubs dating back to his performances at Den One in 1974, he grew popular for a more extravagant stage presence than his contemporaries by wowing crowds with EQ effects and turntable tricks.
Hardy’s career brought him to spaces like Warehouse‘s second location – which would eventually be rebranded as the Music Box. There, he played the seminal acid house records delivered by DJ Pierre and the late DJ Spank Spank. He died of an AIDS-related illness in 1992.
At the time of writing, the GoFundMe page for Ron Hardy’s gravestone has almost raised $1,800 of its $2,500 goal.