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Go-go legend Chuck Brown dies at 75

Chuck Brown known as the ‘Godfather of Go-Go’ for the subgenre of funk music he helped create, has died after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75.

music Updated: May 22, 2012 11:28 IST

Chuck Brown known as the Godfather of Go-Go for the subgenre of funk music he helped create, has died after suffering from pneumonia. He was 75.

Brown died on Wednesday at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore.

Hospital spokesman Gary Stephenson confirmed Brown had died after a hospital stay that began April 18.

Brown styled a unique mix of funk, soul and Latin party sounds to create go-go music.

Due to Brown and his deep, gravelly voice, go-go music was uniquely identified with Washington. And that’s where he continued to play for the city’s club circuit to a loyal audience late in life.

Mayor Vincent Gray said the city would be a different place without him.

“Go-go is D.C.’s very own unique contribution to the world of pop music,” Fox News quoted him as saying.

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

In 2007 Brown had said that go-go was influenced by sounds and fast beats he heard early in life, growing up in North Carolina and Virginia, combined with his experience later, playing with a Latin band.

“Go-go is a music that continues on and on, and on and it’s a call and response communication with the audience,” Brown had said.

Go-go was heavy on percussion with drummers as lead players, accented by guitar riffs, keyboards and horns.

Sometimes they would play for two or three hours without stopping. In between tunes, Brown would keep the thunk of percussion going and talk to the crowd.

Brown’s hit ‘Bustin’ Loose’ with his group, the ‘Soul Searchers’, helped define go-go’s sound.

It spent several weeks atop the R&B chart in 1979. Rapper Nelly later sampled Brown’s ‘Bustin’ Loose’ in 2002 for his massive hit ‘Hot in Herre,’ which won Nelly a Grammy.

Brown didn’t get credit at first, though, and “had to go through some legalities to get it right, but we knew, once we heard the song, that’s Chuck Brown,” said Gregory ‘Sugar Bear’ Elliott, lead singer of the go-go band EU (Experience Unlimited.)

First Published: May 17, 2012 13:12 IST