Chuck Brown, 'Godfather of Go-Go,' dies at 75

Posted By Kate Stanton  |  May 17, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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Known affectionately as the "Godfather of Go-Go," legendary musician Chuck Brown died Wednesday of pneumonia.

A guitarist and singer, Brown pioneered the Washington, D.C.-based subgenre of funk music that fused funk, soul and Latin sounds with heavy drum beats, lively brass and long jam sessions for a groovy, upbeat dance sound.

Brown is best remembered nationally for his 1979 hit song he performed with his band The Soul Searchers, "Bustin' Loose." Rapper Nelly later sampled the song on his single "Hot in Herre."

Brown was famous for his stamina onstage and for performances that could last longer than three hours. The name "Go-go" refers to the way music was played non-stop.

"I'm not retired because I'm not tired. I'm still getting hired, and I'm still inspired," Brown said in 2006.

His music will live on especially in the hearts and minds of Washington, D.C.'s black community, for whom Chuck Brown served as a call to dance at both church and the club.

“He was a symbol of D.C. manhood, back in the day, because of the authority that he spoke with,” D.C. music promoter Darryl Brooks told The Washington Post. “He just spoke from a perspective that black men could understand.”

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray mourned the loss of one of his city's great music legends saying, ""Go-go is D.C.'s very own unique contribution to the world of pop music."

"Today is a very sad day for music lovers the world over, but especially in the District of Columbia," Gray said. "Without Chuck Brown, the world –- and our city –- will be a different place."

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