What started out as a ho-hum Friday morning session of the House of Delegates became a standing-room only, screaming, cheering, dancing frenzy, as Speaker Mike Busch introduced a special guest: the “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown.
Brown, a Prince George’s County native, is recognized as the man who invented go-go music in the 1970s. He was nominated for this year’s Grammy award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group for his song “Love.”
While Brown didn’t bring home the golden gramophone, his arrival at the State House literally brought down the House. Members leapt to their feet, screamed, cheered, clapped, and started dancing. Several members of the Baltimore City delegation got up and joined Busch and Brown on the dais, posing for pictures with the hip-hop icon.
“This man created go-go music,” said Del. Shawn Tarrant, a Baltimore City Democrat, as he walked back to his seat. “We’re talking about a sound in D.C. that is nowhere else.”
Brown has been a musician since the 1970s, when he originated the mashup of funk and soul music that is known as go-go. His first hit, “We the People,” was on his debut album in 1972. He’s spent the last three decades making music, releasing songs that have been popularly sampled, and touring. “Love” was his first Grammy nomination.
Brown thanked the chamber for the warm reception. Speaking in a deep bass voice, he shared a quip with the delegates. He is still getting hired, hasn’t been fired, and so it’s not time for him to be retired.
After Brown left the dais and House members calmed down, Busch got the last word.
“Mr. Brown reflects a lot of what we think every four years,” he said. “We don’t want to be retired.”