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Chuck Brown, pioneer of ‘go-go’ funk music, dies
Elliot said Brown had been a father figure since he was a teen when he aspired to be a rocker like Jimmy Hendrix but realized he wouldn’t make it that way as a young black man. When he saw Brown perform, he said he “instantly knew” what he wanted to do.
“Chuck Brown is going to live on forever. I’m going to make sure of that,” Elliott said. “When they see me, I want them to see a reflection of Chuck because he inspired me so much.”
He added: “The go-go sound is still going strong.”
When Brown was younger, he spent some time in jail. While behind bars, he traded five cartons of cigarettes for his first guitar. After he was freed in 1962, Brown played with several bands and then formed the Soul Searchers. To comply with terms of his parole, they couldn’t play where alcohol was served, so they went to churches, recreation halls and youth centers.
Brown’s daughter, Cherita Whiting, said he had died from complications with pneumonia and was gone too soon.
“I just want to tell all his fans, thank you, for lovin’ our dad,” she said. “He had the best fans in the world.”
During the crack epidemic of the 1980s, violence in some clubs affected go-go’s reputation. Brown said “we can’t blame the go-go for that,” though.
More recently, he said he had seen more grandparents at his shows, with an audience ranging in age from 18 to 60.
In 2005, he was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Washington was always his most loyal fan base, Brown told the AP, and he was happy to play here the rest of his life.
Associated Press writer Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.
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