Chuck Brown, the guitarist and singer most associated with the Washington, D.C.-based genre go-go, died today after a long hospitalization. Brown, a monumental figure in the D.C. music scene for more than 30 years, died in Baltimore from sepsis after multiple organ failure, says his manager, Tom Goldfogle. Brown was 75 years old.
Before he became known as the Godfather of Go-Go, Brown played with local jazz and funk bands. He helped to inaugurate the genre with his own group, the Soul Searchers, whose "Bustin' Loose" topped the R&B chart in 1979.
But go-go is mostly a live phenomenon, based around performances where one song segues directly into another over a syncopated, conga-driven groove, so nobody has time to stop dancing. Brown, who has received credit for naming the genre, worked call-and-response, another go-go signature, into songs like "Wind Me Up!" and "Block Party." His shows were long and sweaty, and Brown continued to perform in packed D.C. clubs and around the world until earlier this year.
Brown had canceled several shows in recent weeks and was hospitalized after complaining of arthritis, The Washington Post reported last week. Doctors found a blood clot, and Brown contracted pneumonia while recovering from surgery to remove it.
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