CHICAGO - Legendary Chicago label Chess Records is often remembered for helping set the stage for the blues.
The label was created in the 1950s by two brothers who had blues clubs. They soon realized that music lovers wanted to take the music home.
"They saw what kind of response they were getting from the patrons, that they needed to sell records," said Jacquelin Dixon of Blues Heaven Foundation. Blues Heaven was created by her father, a talented musician who got his own start at Chess.
The label recorded Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Etta James and Koko Taylor. They also recorded the sermons of Aretha Franklin's father, Rev. C.L. Franklin.
"Muddy Waters is internationally known, he’s a legend and he’s contributed a lot to other people being inspired to wanting to persue musical careers," Dixon said.
Chess Records quickly became a brand in high demand, but the music was still difficult to find. Since many radio stations would not play black artists, they created WVON, which stood for "Voice of the Negro."
"That’s how they were able to promote their artists and their music," Dixon said.