Record Industry Icon Phil Chess Passes Away

I feel like I owe a lot to this man, because with out him I feel that my musical path would be stunted. As confirmed by the Chicago Sun-Times, Phil Chess, who co-founded the iconic blues label Chess Records with his brother Leonard Chess, died yesterday at his home in Tucson, Arizona. He was 95.

Chess Records released records by many greats including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Little Walter, Sonny Boy, Jimmy Rogers, and Howlin’ Wolf. Without these artists there might not have been an Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins to name a few.

His daughter Pam said, “For decades, he kept in touch with many Chess artists.” “He talked to B.B. King all the time on the phone. He ran into Ramsey Lewis six or so years ago in San Diego. He talked to Chuck Berry.”

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Mr. Chess is also survived by another son, Kevin, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A private service is planned in Tucson, AZ.


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