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Mourners gathered to pay respects to 'Godfather of Go-Go'
The official farewell for D.C. music legend Chuck Brown continues this week as huge crowds gathered at the Howard Theatre Tuesday for a public viewing.
The lines were long — at times snaking down and back 7th Street — and despite today's heat and humidity, many people waited over an hour to make their way into the Howard Theatre to pay their final respects to the man known as the "The Godfather of Go-Go," who died earlier this month at the age of 75.
D.C. resident Michael Barry was first person in line this morning for the viewing, saying he felt compelled to come and pay his respects.
"I was really moved and saddened to hear of his passing, and I wanted to be here just to share part in this moment and say thank you to him as an entertainer and ... to his family for sharing Chuck Brown with us through the years," Barry said.
Vendors hawked commemorative t-shirts and buttons, while others brought their own makeshift memorial posters and signs. By 1 p.m., it looked as though over more than people had signed a giant poster of the musician.
"Chuck has created a sound here that's going to last a lifetime," said Robert "Mousey" Thompson, a former drummer for James Brown who grew up in D.C. and came to the Howard Theatre to pay his respects.
Chuck brown was just an awesome cat, man. I'm at a loss for words right now, because I've got so much going on just trying to digest the fact that he is gone. But every time I hear that music," he says, stopping mid-sentence to rap out go-go's signature syncopated beat, "you know, I know he's still here with us."
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray spent more than an hour inside the Howard Theatre, shaking hands and greeting mourners as they passed by.
"Chuck was a good friend of mine," said Gray. "He did so much for so many. It's nice to see so many people coming back now to say, 'Thank you, Chuck,' for what you did for the city."
Chuck Brown is credited with fusing funk, soul and Latin party sounds to create go-go music