Great Rock and Roll Record Labels: Chess Records

My sister lives in Chicago and when I got my first chance to visit her I made sure that I dragged her down to 2120 South Michigan Avenue so I could check out the headquarters for one of the most influential record labels in the history of Rock and Roll: Chess Records. Started by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, Chess Records was home to, let’s see Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Didley, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and the list goes on. Bands like The Yardbirds and The Rolling Stones recorded in the fabled Chess Studios trying to capture a bit of the Chess magic. The Stones actually recruited Leonard Chess’ son Marshall to head Rolling Stones Records in the early seventies (an experience that almost killed him!). A good background on the history of Chess Records can be found here with an extensive discography here. This is a good article on the restoration of the Chess archives. MCA records put out a pile of excellent Chess reissues in the ‘90s like “The Chess Box” but sadly, the excellent website that they use to have up is gone, along with MCA which seems to be owned by one of the BIG 5 (3). (Rant held in check). Even if your tastes run to modern rock and roll and you could never understand the appeal of the blues, pick up a Chess Records compilation and have a listen. It never hurts to check out the music on which rock and roll was built and you might actually find out that you like the stuff. Then you will have another record habit to feed!
Later.

2 Comments

  1. Reuben Chess is the leader of the next major
    group about to be signed, quintus,and a relative of the Chicago Chess family. Seems a pity if they’re not signed by the Chess label. Contact thru URL or email to obtain press kit.

  2. Reuben Chess is the leader of the next major
    group about to be signed, quintus,and a relative of the Chicago Chess family. Seems a pity if they’re not signed by the Chess label. Contact thru URL or email to obtain press kit.

    Forgot: website is quintusmusic.com
    e-mail deadred99@aol.com or qchess@cblpath.com

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