If you grew up in the D.C. area, chances are you have a memory of Chuck Brown.
My father — who grew up listening to Brown’s music and helped me identify his influence on the popular songs I devoured as a teenager — taught me about the “Godfather of Go-Go” at an early age. My father and I haven’t always agreed on what constitutes good music (he’ll never understand my appreciation of this, for example), but the genius of Chuck Brown was never up for debate.
A couple years after I graduated from the University of Maryland, our Chuck Brown connection came full circle. My friends, who formed a funk band in college and frequently performed Brown’s oft-sampled hit “Bustin’ Loose,” opened for Brown at College Park’s (now-defunct) Santa Fe Cafe in 2008.
My friends and I danced alongside fans my father’s age as chants of “Wind Me Up Chuck!” echoed across the bar.
For my friends, the chance to open for a local legend meant even more. Among them was Mario D’Ambrosio, a saxophonist whose father snapped the photos in this post. D’Ambrosio fondly remembers talking with Brown in between sets.
“Chuck was a class act, ” he wrote to me after hearing of Brown’s death. “As a young musician still in college, I was blown away by his kindness and willingness to sit there and talk to me about what it was like to be a professional musician.”
On Twitter, the tributes to Brown are just as personal — fans are sharing everything from photos of Brown to lists of his numerous contributions to Go-Go and other musical genres. Check out some of the most touching tweets in the Storify below and tweet your own photos and memories of Brown to @washingtonpost.
Tweet Share your Chuck Brown memories and photos using #RipChuckBrown on Twitter.