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Chicago's Chess Records was one of the greatest labels of the post-war era, ranking alongside other mighty independents like Atlantic, Stax and Sun. From 1950 till its demise at the end of the 60s, Chess released a myriad of electric blues, rock 'n' roll and soul classics that helped change the landscape of black and white popular music. 

Chess was the label that gave the world such sonic adventurers as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Howlin' Wolf and Etta James. In this documentary to mark the label's 60th anniversary, the likes of Jimmy Page, Mick Hucknall, Public Enemy's Chuck D, Paul Jones and Little Steven, as well as those attached to the label such as founder's son Marshall Chess, pay tribute to its extraordinary music and influence. 

The film reveals how two Polish immigrants, Leonard and Phil Chess, forged friendships with black musicians in late 1940s Chicago, shrewdly building a speciality blues label into a huge independent worth millions by the end of the 1960s. Full of vivid period detail, it places the Chess story within a wider social and historical context - as well as being about some of the greatest music ever recorded, it is, inevitably, about race in America during these tumultuous times. (00:59:26)

Exclusive DVD Bonus Feature:

RECORD ROW: CRADLE OF RHYTHM & BLUES (1997) is the story of recording artists, producers, and entrepreneurs - many of them people of color - who carved out an industry in the American musical genre of rhythm and blues. 'Record Row' was a 10-block stretch of Chicago's South Michigan Avenue, where several independent record companies, most notably, the historic Chess and Vee Jay labels, produced blues, R&B, jazz and soul music from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s. Chicago was the promised land of jobs for thousands of Blacks migrating north during the 1950s and with new jobs came a higher standard of living and a desire to enjoy cultural outlets. Rhythm & Blues music was one such outlet. Like other race based entertainment enterprises such as the Negro Baseball leagues and the all black casts of 1940s era 'Race' films, the independent R&B labels on Record Row provided music, jobs and opportunity for Black Americans in a segregated society. The intent of the producers of RECORD ROW was to examine the experience of Black entrepreneurship in the record industry and to chronicle the rise and fall of a vibrant R&B community and its many pioneers who helped push black music across the color line."