Record Row

by: Deja Johnson

What was Record Row ?

Record Row was a collaboration of independent record companies. Record Row was located in Chicago  on South Michigan Avenue and gets its name for being a block full of different record companies. Notable companies like Chess Records, Vee-Jay Records, Brunswick, and Curtom Records were all notable companies apart of Record Row. It was responsible for popular black music in the 1950s and the 1970s. 

Notable Companies of Record Row


Brunswick was founded in 1916 and specialized in Jazz, Blues, and Gospel.


Jackie Wilson

Willie Henderson

Barbara Acklin

Eugene Record

Vaughan Mason & Crew

Lavern Baker

The Mills Brothers

Chess Records

Chess Records was founded in 1950 and specialized in Blues and R&B. 


Muddy Waters

Willie Dixon

Howlin Wolf

Etta James

The Moonglows

Jimmy Rodgers

Chuck Berry

Curtom Records

Curtom Records was founded in 1968 and specialized in Soul and Disco.


Holly Maxwell

Leroy Hutson

The Natural Four

The Impressions

Major Lance

The Staple Singers

Donny Hathaway

Vee-Jay Records

Vee-Jay Records was founded in 1953 and specialized in Blues, Jazz, R&B, and Rock and Roll.


The Beetles

Dee Clark

Jerry Butler

El Dorados

The Dells

Jimmy Reed

John Lee Hooker

The Spaniels

Compare Record Row to Other Record Companies in America

Stax Records

Stax Records was founded in 1957 in Memphis Tennessee. Stax Records can best be known for producing some of the most popular soul music in American History. Many artist careers were sparked through Stax Records like Otis Redding, Booker T & The MGs’.  Soul music was also popular among Record Row especially in Curtom Records and Vee-Jay Records. However the style of Soul music differed from Stax records and Record Row. In Record Row the sound of soul was heavily influenced by gospel music. Which can be heard in artisit like Dee Clark, Jerry Butler and more artist of the label. The soul sound of Stax records was more upbeat and can be described as “toe tapping” music as heard through artist like Booker T & The MGs’.

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