Chuck Brown / Aug 22, 1936 - May 16, 2012

One of the greatest of many, many great DC musicians, Chuck Brown and his band the Soul Searchers practically invented the infamous Washington DC go-go style. Hugely popular in the clubs of DC and Baltimore, go-go was a percussion heavy brand of funk (although very much informed by the gospel beat from black churches, as well as African music) that was native to DC and was very much a live music, with audience call-and-response an essential aspect to the style and never-ending percussion jams. In a way it was DC's answer to hip-hop. Chuck is widely considered the godfather of the style, which is still popular to this day in DC yet never really took off nationally.

Brown grew up in DC, quit high school and lived on the streets, shining shoes. In the '50s he served eight years in jail for murder (self-defense, he claimed). It was in prison that he learned to play guitar. Before his success with music he took several jobs, including truck driver. He formed a band called Los Latinos in '66 and they played locally.

Shortly after he started the Soul Searchers, who starred in the late '60s DC scene with other groups like Young Senators and Black Heat. 1972 saw the release of the debut Soul Searchers album (We The People) and their best known song, "Bustin' Loose", was a #1 hit in early '79.

Go-go flirted with the mainstream in the early '80s but remained a largely local phenomenon or as a cult style for British DJs and funk enthusiasts. Chuck was mentor to Rare Essence and major inspiration to Trouble Funk, two of the better known go-go bands. He died in 2012, at 75.

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