Chuck Brown, ‘Godfather of go-go,’ dead at 75

Chuck Brown, the Godfather of of Go-go, died at 75. Fans fondly remember the man who changed D.C.'s music scene.

Share your favorite memories of Chuck Brown. Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP’s Facebook Page or use #WTOPTalkback or #WTOP on Twitter.

WASHINGTON – Chuck Brown, the Godfather of of go-go, has died. He was 75.

Brown, a Washington D.C. native, is regarded as the fundamental force behind the creation of Go-go music. He began his career in the 1960s and is best known for songs “I Need Some Money” and “Bustin’ Loose.”

WTOP has learned Brown died of multi-organ failure from sepsis.

For every Nationals home run, “Bustin’ Loose” is played at the ballpark. Fans voted it the homerun song.

He was nominated for his first Grammy in 2010 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for “Love” with Jill Scott and Marcus Miller.

Last week, he was admitted to Johns Hopkins University Hospital where he was treated for pneumonia. Originally, he had complained of arthritis pain.

Brown’s family posted the following message on the Chuck Brown Facebook page:

“The Brown family would like to thank everyone for their love and support over the years. We know that Chuck’s legacy will live on through all of you who have supported him and his creation of Go-Go. His passion, inspiration and drive have always come from his family and fans. He would have wanted all of his fans to know that they meant the world to him and none of his success was possible without them. God bless.”

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray weighed in on news of Brown’s death.

“Today is a very sad day for music lovers the world over, but especially in the District of Columbia. Without Chuck Brown, the world – and our city – will be a different place. What a loss!”

In 2007 Brown told The Associated Press 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 it’s a call and response communication with the audience,” Brown said.

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

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