Single label with distinctive Indian profile design
|Genre||Blues, rhythm and blues|
|Country of origin||U.S.|
Chief Records, together with its Profile and Age subsidiaries, was an independent record label that operated from 1957 to 1964. Best known for its recordings of Chicago blues artists Elmore James, Junior Wells, Magic Sam, and Earl Hooker, the label had a diverse roster and included R&B artists Lillian Offitt and Ricky Allen.
Chief Records was founded in Chicago in 1957 by Mel London, a 25-year-old R&B entrepreneur. London served as producer and wrote several of the label's best-known songs. Earl Hooker, one of the most well-regarded blues guitarists of his era, was an important contributor to the label. He worked closely with London and "was involved in over a dozen recording sessions, and his playing was featured on some forty titles and twenty-five singles, a dozen of which were released under his own name, the rest being ascribed to Junior Wells, A.C. Reed, Lillian Offitt, and Ricky Allen". Among Hooker's recordings are several slide-guitar instrumentals, including the 1961 Age single "Blue Guitar", on which Muddy Waters would later overdub a vocal and call it "You Shook Me".
"Little by Little", written by Mel London, was a hit for Junior Wells, reaching number 23 in the Billboard R&B chart in 1960. Wells would continue to perform and record several of his Chief and Profile songs ("Messin' with the Kid", "Come on in This House", and "It Hurts Me Too") during his career. "Cut You Loose", another London composition, was a hit for Ricky Allen; the song reached number 20 in 1963. Next to Wells, Allen had the most singles on the label (all on Age).
As with many independent blues labels in the early 1960s, Chief was plagued by financial problems. First to be discontinued were the Chief and Profile labels; finally the Age label was discontinued in 1964 and the company went out of business. During its seven years of operation, Chief/Profile/Age released about eighty singles (including reissues) from approximately thirty-seven artists. Later, various singles (including reissues) by Chief artists would be released by All-Points Records, Mel/Mel-Lon Records, Bright Star Records, and Starville Records, but none had the impact of the originals.
|1957||Mel London||"Man from the Island" / "Doggin' Me Around"||Chief||7000|
|1957||Elmore James||"Coming Home" / "The Twelve Year Old Boy"||Chief||7001|
|1957||Elmore James||"It Hurts Me Too" / "Elmore's Contribution to Jazz"||Chief||7004|
|1957||Junior Wells||"Two Headed Woman" / "Lovey Dovey Lovely One"||Chief||7005|
|1957||Elmore James||"Cry for Me" / "Take Me Where You Go"||Chief||7006|
|1958||Junior Wells||"I Could Cry" / "Cha Cha Cha in Blue"||Chief||7008|
|1960||Junior Wells||"Little By Little" / "Come on in This House"||Profile||4011|
|1960||Lillian Offitt||"Will My Man Be Home Tonight" / "The Man Won't Work"||Chief||7012|
|1960||Magic Sam & the Ammons Sisters||"Mister Charlie" / "My Love Is Your Love"||Chief||7013|
|1960||Lillian Offitt||"Oh Mama" / "My Man Is a Lover"||Chief||7015|
|1960||Junior Wells (A) / Earl Hooker (B)||"Galloping Horses" (A) / "Blues in D Natural" (B)||Chief||7016|
|1960||Magic Sam||"Square Dance Rock Part 1" / "Square Dance Rock Part 2"||Chief||7017|
|1960||Elmore James (A) / Earl Hooker (B)||"Knocking at Your Door" (A) / "Calling All Blues" (B)||Chief||7020|
|1960||Junior Wells||"Messin' with the Kid" / "Universal Rock"||Chief||7021|
|1960||Junior Wells||"You Don't Care" / "Prison Bars All Around Me"||Profile||4013|
|1961||Magic Sam||"Every Night About This Time" / "Do the Camel Walk"||Chief||7026|
|1961||Junior Wells||"I'm a Stranger" / "Things I'd Do for You"||Chief||7030|
|1961||Earl Hooker||"Rockin' with the Kid" / "Rockin' Wild"||Chief||7031|
|1961||Magic Sam||"You Don't Have to Work" / "Blues Light Boogie"||Chief||7033|
|1961||Junior Wells||"You Sure Look Good to Me" / "Lovey Dovey Lovely One"||Chief||7034|
|1961||Junior Wells||"It Hurts Me Too" / "Cha Cha Cha in Blue"||Chief||7035|
|1961||Junior Wells||"So Tired" / "Love Me"||Chief||7037|
|1961||Junior Wells||"I Need Me a Car" / "I Could Cry"||Chief||7038|
|1961||A.C. Reed (A) / Earl Hooker (B)||"This Little Voice" (A) / "Apache War Dance" (B)||Age||29101|
|1961||Ricky Allen||"You'd Better Be Sure" / "You Were My Teacher"||Age||29102|
|1961||Earl Hooker||"Blue Guitar" / "Swear to Tell the Truth"||Age||29106|
|1962||Reggie "Guitar" Boyd||"Nothing but Poison" / "Nothing but Good"||Age||29110|
|1962||Earl Hooker||"How Long Can This Go On" / "These Cotton Picking Blues"||Age||29111|
|1962||A.C. Reed||"Mean Cop" / "That Ain't Right"||Age||29112|
|1962||Big Moose & the Jams||"Off the Hook" / "Bright Sounds"||Age||29113|
|1962||Earl Hooker & the Earlettes||"Win the Dance" aka "Crying Blues" / "That Man"||Age||29114|
|1963||Ricky Allen||"Cut You A-Loose" / "Faith"||Age||29118|
|1963||Jackie Brenston with Earl Hooker Band||"Want You to Rock Me" / "Down in My Heart"||Mel-Lon||1000|
|1963||Earl Hooker||"The Leading Brand" / "Blues in D Natural"||Mel-Lon||1001|
|1964||A.C. Reed||"Whole Lotta Lovin'" / "I Stay Mad"||Age||29123|
- Danchin, Sebastian (2001). Earl Hooker: Blues Master. University of Mississippi Press. pp. 121, 122. ISBN 978-1-57806-307-9.
- Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Earl Hooker". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 141. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
- Dahl, Bill (1996). "Earl Hooker". In Erlewine, Michael. All Music Guide to the Blues. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. p. 115. ISBN 0-87930-424-3.
- Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. pp. 438, 23. ISBN 0-89820-068-7. Whitburn 1988, p. 438.
- "Chief Records — Discography". Wangdangdula.com. Pete Hoppula. January 9, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2014.