Phil Chess, co-founder of iconic Chess Records, dies at 95

Story highlights

  • Phil Chess, co-founder of Chess Records, died in Tuscon, Arizona
  • Chess signed the likes of Chuck Berry and Etta James, among others

(CNN)Phil Chess, co-founder of the iconic rock 'n' roll and blues label Chess Records, has died at 95, according to his son.

Chess died late Tuesday in Tuscon, Arizona, his son Terry Chess told CNN.
    Phil and his brother Leonard founded Chess Records in the late 1940s, and helped spawn the careers of many popular musicians in the 1950s.
    The brothers first ran a series of jazz clubs before deciding to start the record company, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    Chess later signed artists artists including Chuck Berry, Etta James, Bo Diddley and the Flamingos.
    "Chess not only became the true repository of American blues music, but it also presented black music for the edification of white audiences throughout the world," the museum said.
    Terry Chess says his father remained in disbelief about his impact or celebrity, despite the success of his record label.
    "The thing that always impressed me about my father -- he never really quite grasped the fact he was a celebrity or famous," Terry said. "He never understood it; he was rather bemused by it all."
    Phil's brother, Leonard, died of a heart attack in 1969.