Chuck Brown, leader of Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, who was widely known as "The Godfather of Go-Go," has died at the age of 75.
The gravelly voiced Go-Go music legend may be best remembered for his biggest hit "Bustin Loose Part 1" which spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1979 (and which was later sampled by Nelly for his subsequent smash "Hot in Herre"). On the Billboard Hot 100, "Bustin'" reached No. 34. The song was taken from the album of the same name, which reached No. 5 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 31 on the Billboard 200.
Other well known Brown songs include "I Need Some Money," "Wind Me Up" "Back It On Up (Sho Ya Right)," and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Don't Got That Go-Go Swing)." Brown was knwon for his incendiary and sprawling live performances with his band the Soul Searchers which could last three hours or more leaving crowds exhilarated -- and exhausted -- from dancing and endless call-and-response chants.
Go-Go music, a subgenre of funk music developed in Washington DC in the 1970s, is filled with heavy percussion, extended jams and call and response refrains and considered an early forerunner of hip-hop. Brown, as the genre's progenitor, inspired many other D.C. Go-Go bands including Rare Essence, Experience Unlimited (EU), Little Benny and the Masters, and Trouble Funk.
In a 2007 Billboard article, Brown explained to Gail Mitchell how he came up with the sound. "When I left the Latin group to form a band, I was looking for my own sound," Brown said. "I kept that [Latin] sound, mixed it with the church sound of my childhood, live funk and congos."
Brown had a comeback on the charts in 2007 when his album "We're About the Business" became his highest charting ever, debuting and peaking at No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. That album's single, "Block Party" (featuring DJ Kool), became his first hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (No. 60) since 1984's "We Need Some Money" hit No. 26. He most recently charted with single "Love" (featuring Jill Scott), which hit No. 39 on the Adult R&B airplay chart on Jan. 15, 2011.
According to a recent Washington Post article, Brown canceled a scheduled appearance at the Howard Theatre in late April after being hospitalized for joint pain and inflammation. More recently, Brown pulled out of an appearance at Celebrate Brooklyn on May 10.