Chess Records was an American record company based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz recordings, released on several labels including Chess, Checker, Argo and Cadet.
Formed and run by Polish immigrant brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, the company produced and released many important singles and albums, which are now regarded as central to the rock music canon. Musician and critic Cub Koda described Chess Records as "America's greatest blues label."
The Chess Records catalogue is now owned by Universal Music Group and managed by Geffen Records.
Chess Records was based at several different locations on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, initially at two different locations on South Cottage Grove Ave. The most famous location was 2120 S. Michigan Avenue from around 1956 to 1965, immortalized by British rock group The Rolling Stones in "2120 South Michigan Avenue", an instrumental recorded there during the group's first U.S. tour in 1964. The Stones recorded at Chess Studios on two more occasions. The building is now home to Willie Dixon's Blues Heaven Foundation. In the mid-1960s, Chess re-located to a much larger building at 320 East 21st Street, the label's final Chicago home.