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D.C. Remembers, Honors Music Legend Chuck Brown

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DJ Donnie Simpson, left, Mayor Vincent Gray, and others dance to go-go music on stage at a memorial for Chuck Brown.
NBC Washington
DJ Donnie Simpson, left, Mayor Vincent Gray, and others dance to go-go music on stage at a memorial for Chuck Brown.

In a final goodbye for D.C. music legend Chuck Brown, thousands packed into the Washington Convention Center on Thursday for the musician's public service.

The memorial service started with solemn hymns and ended with a go-go medley featuring Chuck Brown's band playing his greatest hits. In between, tributes from family members, fellow go-go musicians, celebrities and politicians paid tribute to the man known simply as "The Godfather of Go-Go."

"Chuck Brown was about teaching people, reaching people, and letting them know that they can be anything that they wanted to be," said former Mayor and Councilmember Marion Barry, who talked about how Brown turned his life around when he learned guitar in prison. "Chuck Brown demonstrated that you could get knocked down and get back up, and if anyone knows about getting up, it's Marion Barry!"

Current Mayor Vincent Gray talked about Brown's musical influence on D.C., and said he will make sure that legacy is never forgotten.

"In just a few days, I am going to send a piece of legislation over to the council to name a park in the District of Columbia after Chuck Brown," said Gray.

There were other pledges as well. Council Chairman Kwame Brown promised to build a Go-Go Hall of Fame, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she's working with Congress to designate August 22nd as Chuck Brown Day in the District.

Norton, playing on the title of Brown's most famous hit, Bustin Loose, says the go-go legend helped bust D.C. loose. "Chuck Brown rescued hometown D.C. from the image of a government town that couldn't keep a beat, to a hometown with its own funky beat," she said.

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