Muddy Waters is attributed with having said, “Leonard Chess didn’t know nothing about no blues.” Whether or not he actually did, the statement is not far off. Leonard Chess did not even know much about music in general. What he did know was how to turn a profit and he had a great knack for opportunity.
After meeting Evelyn Aron, who founded Aristocrat Records with Charles Aron, Leonard was convinced that he needed to get into the recording business. With a history in bending rules, Leonard took his brother and his expertise in selling liquor and owning a nightclub and eventually turned it into one of the most influential recording companies in the history. Undoubtedly, the success of Chess records is largely the result of his writers and performers, however, Leonard and Phil cannot be discredited for their savvy business sense and eagerness to leap on a new opportunity.