What, Where, and why was "Record Row"?

Record Row was located in Chicago, Illinois. Because black music was largely ignored, Record Row was created to give black artists a chance to make, create, and produce music. Multiple labels were under Record Row including Chess Records and Vee Jay.

Name the companies on Record Row.

Chess Records, One-derful, Chance, King, Constellation, and Vee Jay were all companies under Record Row. Chess Records and Vee Jay were the most famous record labels under Record Row during the 1950s and 1960s.

Name the artists and on what label:

Muddy Waters – Chess Records

Little Walter – Chess Records

Sonny Boy Williamson – Chess Records

Chuck Berry – Chess Records

Jimmy Reed – Vee Jay

The Magnificents – Vee Jay

Eddie Harris – Vee Jay

Curtis Mayfield – Vee Jay


Were certain labels known for certain types of music?

Yes, certain labels were known for producing certain types of music. For example, Chess records was known for producing primarily blues and R&B while Vee Jay was known for producing gospel, jazz, and soul. Although each record label produced blues and R&B, specific labels prioritized different types of music and looked for specific artists in these genres.

Chance records produced blues, doo-wop, and gospel. One-derful records produced doo-wop as well along with soul and R&B.

Compare Record Row to other record company creations in American cities.

Record Row was huge for Chicago in the 1950s and 60s. It was built as a way to give black artists the chance to produce music and make a name for themselves. Because of segregation, black music was ignored and looked past so Record Row became a way for black people to get their names out into the world. Under Record Row there were very famous labels including Vee Jay and Chess Records. Chess Records was created by Lenerd and Field Chest who were two brothers that were the most “loved, hated, and influential men within the black community”. What kicked off Chess Records was Muddy Waters with his voice and guitar playing which had roots in Mississippi Delta. For Chicago, Waters amplified the harmonica and guitar. Vee Jay records was created by Vivian Carter Bracken who was a women who initially was a waitress but decided to open up a record store. Under Vee Jay Records, Jimmy Reed became a “top blues man”. Compared to Motown Records which took place in Detroit, Record Row is pretty similar to Motown Records in that both Record Companies wanted to give the black community access to the music industry and give black people an opportunity to make a name for themselves.

By: Leah Robinson