Leonard Chess

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Leonard Chess (* March 12, 1917 in Motal , Poland as Lejzor Czyz , † October 16, 1969 in Chicago ) was the owner of the music label Chess Records , which had many well-known blues musicians under contract.


Leonhard Chess and his brother Philip , born in Poland, came to Chicago in 1928 . They bought into Aristocrat Records in 1947 and steered the Chicago company towards the blues with musicians like Muddy Waters , Sunnyland Slim and Willie Dixon .

In 1948 the brothers took over the company completely and renamed it Chess Records . Titles like My Foolish Heart ( Gene Ammons ), Rollin 'Stone ( Muddy Waters ) and That's All Right ( Jimmy Rogers ) were evidence of the company's new direction. Perhaps the most influential artist Chess Records initially signed was Little Walter , whose pronounced harmonica playing revolutionized the blues .

Chess contacted Sam Phillips of Sun Records to find new artists. Philips recruited Howlin 'Wolf , Bobby Bland , Rufus Thomas and Dr. Isaiah Ross . This was followed by Bo Diddley and Sonny Boy Williamson II. In the 1950s, the success grew the company with artists and bands like The Moonglows , The Flamingos , Chuck Berry , Etta James , Fontella Bass , Koko Taylor , Little Milton , Laura Lee and Tommy Tucker .

Leonard Chess died in October 1969. In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Nonperformers).


The feature film Cadillac Records tells the story of Leonard Chess and his record company Chess Records. Adrien Brody played Leonard Chess.

Individual evidence

  1. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Web links