The song "I Know Him So Well" was No. 1 for 4 weeks in the UK and prompted me to make my first ever musical purchase - Chess. In nearly 20 years I have never tired of it and am still moved when I listen to many of the songs. The emotional highlight for me is the song "Pity the Child", a heart-rending outpouring of raw emotion from the twisted American player (based on Bobby Fisscher) which ends with a superb guitar solo.
Reviews of the stage musical always seem to say something like "some good music, but deeply flawed", without explaining what the flaws were. I don't see it - I saw the show in London, loved it, and would love to see it again.
Anyway, whatever the merits or shortcomings of the show (sadly not available on DVD or Video), the music is exceptional. It is a mix of rock and orchestral music (contrast the two singles, "I Know Him So Well" and "One Night in Bangkok"); it has some beautiful duets (trios, quartets...) with lovely interleaved melodies and some very elegant and clever lyrics by Tim Rice.
If I could, I would give it a hundred stars. This is, I think, my favourite album bar none.