Phil Chess (left) has died, one of the founders of Chess Records in Chicago, an independent label that recorded Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and a constellation of other African-American pioneers of the Gospel-blues-soul fusion that became rock ‘n’ roll, inspiring the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other stars who followed. The company and Chess’s brother Leonard were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame despite the brothers’ frank admission that they didn’t know a thing about music. But they knew what sold and what nobody else was putting out, and the acclaim that followed was gratifying. (Michael Ochs Archives)

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