Celebrating the Godfather of Go Go Chuck Brown

Photo by Steven M. Cummings, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Photo by Steven M. Cummings, Anacostia Community Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

By Izetta Autumn Mobley |

Born August 22, 1936, the “godfather” of Go Go music, Chuck Brown, would have been 81 years old this Tuesday. Brown’s drum-infused, polyrhythmic, call and response anchored music, put D.C.’s unique cultural style on the map. Brown’s first album We the People, was released with The Soul Searchers in 1972. Six years later, Brown’s first big hit 1978’s “Bustin’ Loose” featured the funk horns, drums, and audience engagement for which Brown became best known. 

With its multigenerational pull, danceable beats, and ability to tell stories, Go Go reached thousands – and became the iconic signature of D.C. In 2012, to commemorate Brown’s death and celebrate his life, then-Mayor Vincent Gray designated a day in August – close to Brown’s birthday, to serve as Chuck Brown Day. Today we celebrate the legendary musician, pictured here performing on top of another D.C. icon – the Big Chair, located at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and V Street SE.

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