Home Arts & Culture Chuck Brown, godfather of go-go music, dies at 75

Chuck Brown, godfather of go-go music, dies at 75


Musician Chuck Brown, who mixed funk, soul and Latin styles to help create the upbeat “go-go” scene in Washington DC in the 1970s, has died at 75.

Known as the “godfather of go-go”, Chuck Brown’s biggest hit was Bustin’ Loose, which spent a month at the top of the US R&B chart at the end of the 1970s.

Guitarist and singer Chuck Brown was known for performances that did not stop between songs and could go on for several hours.

He said the style was named go-go because “the music just goes and goes”.

Chuck Brown, who mixed funk, soul and Latin styles to help create the upbeat "go-go" scene in Washington DC in the 1970s, has died at 75

Chuck Brown, who mixed funk, soul and Latin styles to help create the upbeat "go-go" scene in Washington DC in the 1970s, has died at 75

Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray was among those paying tribute.

“Go-go is DC’s very own unique contribution to the world of pop music,” he told the Associated Press news agency.

“Today is a very sad day for music lovers the world over.”

Chuck Brown got his first guitar after trading five cartons of cigarettes for the instrument in prison, while serving eight years for murder in the 1950s and 60s. He shot a man in what he said was self-defense, according to the Washington Post.

With his group the Soul Searchers, Chuck Brown combined funky horns with lively percussion and his own deep vocals to create vibrant club tunes.

Go-go struggled to make a global impact and got overtaken by the burgeoning hip-hop movement as the 1980s wore on.

But Chuck Brown’s influence was felt more widely, with samples of Bustin’ Loose used in rap star Nelly’s 2002 chart-topping single Hot in Herre, while rapper Eve sampled Chuck Brown’s song Blow Your Whistle in her single Tambourine.

In the ’90s, Chuck Brown helped launch the career of singer Eva Cassidy when the pair performed together on the album The Other Side. It included her solo rendition song Over The Rainbow, which was to become her signature track when posthumous fame came after her death in 1996.

Meanwhile, Chuck Brown was nominated for his first Grammy Award in 2010, for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals for Love, a collaboration with singer Jill Scott.

 [youtube GL_IadHBrJ8]