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Chuck Brown Biography

Home > Music > B > Brown, Chuck > Biography

Born: 1936
Birth Place: Washington, D.C.
Years Active: 1960s-present
Genres: Funk, Go-go

Chuck Brown (August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012) was a guitarist and singer who was affectionately called “the Godfather of Go-go.” Go-go is a subgenre of funk music developed in and around Washington, D.C. in the mid- and late-1970s of which Brown is regarded being a fundamental force behind the creation of go-go music. At the time of his death he was still performing music and was well known in the Washington, D.C. area.

Brown's musical career began in the 1960s playing guitar with Jerry Butler and The Earls of Rhythm, joining Los Latinos in 1965. Brown's early hits included “I Need Some Money” and “Bustin' Loose.” “Bustin' Loose” was adopted by the Washington Nationals baseball team as its home run celebration song, and was interpolated by Nelly for his 2002 #1 hit “Hot in Herre.” The song “Ashley's Roachclip” from Brown’s band the Soul Searchers' 1974 album “Salt of the Earth” contains a famous drum break, sampled countless times on various other tracks.

Brown and the Soul Searchers also recorded Go-go covers of early jazz and blues songs, such as “Go-Go Swing” based on Duke Ellington's “It Don't Mean a Thing If Ain't Got That Swing,” “Moody's Mood for Love,” based on Johnny Mercer's “Midnight Sun,” Louis Jordan's “Run Joe” and T-Bone Walker's “Stormy Monday.” He influenced other go-go bands such as Big G and The Backyard Band, Rare Essence, Experience Unlimited (EU), Little Benny and the Masters, and Trouble Funk.

In the mid-1990s, he performed the theme music of Fox's sitcom “The Sinbad Show.” Since the early 1970s, Brown exclusively played a blonde Gibson ES-335, affectionately referred to as his “Blondie.”