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Chuck Brown, ‘Godfather of Go-Go,’ Dead at 75

Chuck Berry
Nancy Ostertag, Getty Images

Chuck Brown, the Washington, D.C.-area funk icon known as the ‘Godfather of Go-Go,’ has died. He passed away today (May 16) at the age of 75. He died at Johns Hopkins University hospital in Baltimore.

Brown’s manager Tom Goldfogle confirmed the news of his client’s death to The Washington Post. The musician had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia in recent weeks.

While Brown’s name might not be instantly familiar to pop music fans, especially the younger generation, his hooks most certainly are. Brown’s most popular anthem was 1979′s ‘Bustin’ Loose,’ which was sampled by pop rapper Nelly on his massive summer hit, 2002′s ‘Hot in Herre.’

Brown was a funk pioneer, largely credited with creating the go-go genre. It was an alternative to disco in the ’70s and was percussion driven.  He had another hit in 1984 in the form of ‘We Need Some Money (Bout Money.)’

It wasn’t until last year, when he was 74, did he earn his first Grammy award nomination for Best Rhythm-and-Blues Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals for ‘Love’ — a track he recorded with Jill Scott and bassist Marcus Miller. Brown also received a Lifetime Heritage Fellowship Award from The National Endowment for the Arts in 2005, according to The Washington Post.

Brown, who was a performer, singer, guitarist and songwriter, attained cult status but go-go’s reach didn’t expand much outside of the Beltway region. Still, he is remembered and celebrated for his contributions to popular music.

R.I.P.

Listen to Chuck Brown, ‘Bustin’ Loose’

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