Chuck Brown was one of the coolest and most down to earth people I’ve ever known. He died yesterday at the age of 75, but left behind quite a legacy. He was one of the creators and the unquestionable Godfather of Go Go music.
In DC, Chuck was The Washington Monument, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and The Big Chair, all wrapped up in one. I know a lot of people around the country and the world may not know all of those references, but my DC peeps know exactly what I’m talking about.
Chuck’s song “Bustin Loose” was like a DC anthem and was the first GO GO song to go #1 in the country.
His song “We Need Some Money” showed his understanding of everyday people trying to make ends meet. “Each and every dollar that I can come across, goes into my gas tank and out my exhaust. We need money.” Those lyrics ring just as true today as they did when he wrote them 30 years ago.
I once told Chuck this story and he Loved it. I was in South Africa playing golf one day and I always play with headphones on. That day I was grooving to “Go Go Crankin” by Chuck when I noticed this brother on the maintenance crew laughing and pointing at me as I rocked out.
Well it dawned on me that he would probably dig what I listening to. With all this percussion and sick rhythm, how could he not? This is where it comes from. So I asked him if he wanted to hear it. He said yes and we sat on his tractor for 20 minutes jamming to Chuck. He Loved it and I did too. I’m a DJ and no matter where I’m at, I Love turning people onto music. It was a special honor to turn someone on to the music of DC.
One last thing I want to say about my brother and I’m gonna let you go go. He spent some time in jail when he was young, but it was there that he traded 5 cartons of cigarettes for his first guitar. To me that is a great example of not knowing God’s plans, the silver lining in struggles, and why we should never write someone off. We all have value. Look at what this man did with his second chance.
My deepest sympathy goes out to his beautiful wife Ja Ja and their family. I cry with you, but I rejoice too. I’m honored to have not only known your Chuck, but to have been his friend.
I just listened to a voicemail Chuck left me exactly two months ago today. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard that unique raspy voice say “I just thank God I’m still around man. I thank God for you too man.”
I thank God for you too Chuck and you will always be around. Your spirit is woven into the very fabric of DC.
RIP in peace my brother.