Chuck Brown

ABC reports that Chuck Brown, the musician who basically invented the Washington, D.C. percussive funk subgenre go-go, died today in Washington, where he’d recently been hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 75.

Brown got his start playing with local D.C. jazz and soul bands in the ’60s, finally scoring a massive funk hit with “Bustin’ Loose” in 1979. (Nelly interpolated it on “Hot In Herre.”) But his real impact was local, where his loose, freewheeling, conga-based form of funk birthed an entire genre. For a long time, go-go remained more popular than rap in D.C., its weird pocket-universe local appeal never reaching far outside of the city’s boundaries. Hundreds of go-go bands followed Chuck Brown And The Soul Searchers, and Brown remained a local legend in the city in its environs, gigging heavily and steadily to huge crowds.

Below, watch the man at work:

Comments (5)
  1. I’m from DC. Grew up on go-go. This is very sad. RIP Chuck.

  2. So how long do I have to wait until it’s ok?

  3. Chuck has officially busted loose from his physical constraints but the groove and all night party he pioneered continue to rage on. Like Jim, I’m from DC and grew up on go-go. Chuck is a legend where we’re from and the city mourns his passing.

  4. In case you didn’t hear, the saxophone player who toured with and played on a couple of albums by The Killers committed suicide today. Very sad day for music all-around with this news, that news (of Chuck), and the fact that influential independent alternative FM station WFNX in my hometown of Boston just got sold to Clear Channel and had to fire 17 of their 21 employees in doing so today. We are all in shock in Boston about that since it was the only real “alternative” to the rest of the Top 40 crap on the rest of what’s left of rock and pop stations in the area.

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