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Chuck Brown

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  • Born: Washington D.C.
  • Died: Baltimore, MD
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Washington, D.C., bandleader, performer, and songwriter Chuck Brown was a prominent figure on the city's go-go scene since the late '70s. Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers were also one of the rare go-go acts to gain national attention, even though they were short-lived. The Soul Searchers included trombonist/keyboardist John "JB" Buchanan, trumpeter Donald Tillery, saxophonist/flutist Leroy Fleming, bassist Jerry Wilder, percussionist Gregory Gerran, organist Curtis Johnson, keyboardist Skip Fennell, drummer Ricardo Wellman, and guitarist LeRon Young. They vaulted into the spotlight with "Busting Loose," the top R&B single for four consecutive weeks at the end of 1978. Its fabulous arrangement, exuberant horn work, and arresting, terse vocals made Brown & the Soul Searchers momentary celebrities. But the follow-up, "Game Seven," flopped, and they were soon back on the go-go circuit. They had one more flirtation with the spotlight in 1984, as the single "We Need Some Money (Bout Money)" reached number 26 amid predictions that go-go was ready to explode into the mainstream. It didn't happen, but Brown remained active. He tried again in 1991 with '90s Goin' Hard for Goff. A documentary on the Washington, D.C., go-go scene appeared in 2002 and prominently featured Brown and his music. After being hospitalized for pneumonia, Brown died at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Hospital on May 16, 2012; he was 75 years old.

eMusic Features


Go-Go Music!

By Jeff Chang, Contributor

Once upon a time, Washington D.C.'s go-go and New York hip-hop were both local party music sounds known to a select few. They were very much alike — stripped-down music relying heavily on percussive breakdowns and what "proper" musicians would dismiss as mere vamping, hosted by smooth mic operators who shouted out as much as they rhymed and talked more than sang, keeping the parties going continuously for hours. Go-go has bubbled up into the edge… more »