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Chuck Brown, 'Godfather Of Go-Go,' Dead At 75

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Chuck Brown, guitarist, singer and D.C. music legend often dubbed "The Godfather of Go-Go," has died.


Chuck Brown performs a Tiny Desk Concert.

The Washington Post confirmed last week that the musician, a native of Washington D.C., had been admitted to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with pneumonia. Brown's manager, Tom Goldfogle, told NPR that Brown died Wednesday of "multiorgan failure from sepsis."

Chuck Brown’s biggest hit — Bustin' Loose — hit No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1978 and peaked at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It introduced the nation to D.C.’s unique brand of funk, known as "go-go." The song has lately been adopted by the Washington Nationals as their home run celebration song.

In an interview with the National Visionary Leadership Project, Brown explained the evolution of go-go music: "We’re doing top 40, then break-down and do the percussion. When you break down and do the percussion and add those congas and those timbalas – that los latino flavor — everybody started getting into it. The idea came to me when Smokey Robinson had that song called 'Going To A Go-Go,' that gave me an idea to call this particular kind of music go-go, because it just keeps going and going and going."

Go-go is a genre best experienced in person, and Brown continued to deliver live shows for fans into this year. He was forced to cancel or postpone several recent shows after complaining of arthritis pain. He was treated for a blood clot, and contracted pneumonia after having it removed.

Brown was 75 years old.

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