Decades Of Important Music Revealed Lost In Universal Studios Fire Of 2008

The list of artists whose recordings were lost in the fire include Aretha Franklin

The list of artists affected includes recordings by Ray Charles, B.B. King, Joan Baez, Duke Ellington, Neil Diamond, Bing Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Judy Garland, Cat Stevens, Al Green, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Aerosmith, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur and many more. Nearly of all of Buddy Holly's masters were lost, as were most of John Coltrane's masters in the Impulse Records collection.

According to the Times, however, the fire also destroyed an archive home to about 500,000 master recordings, a.k.a. original audio recordings that all future copies are based on.

Of the artists that lost masters in the fire are Aretha Franklin, whose first recorded appearances are gone forever, Buddy Holly, who lost almost his entire catalog, and Etta James, who lost her hit single "At Last". The Times report has revealed that around 500,000 songs were lost in the devastation.

The original report from 2009 underestimated the extent of the damage caused by the fires by far - it was totaled that the "assets destroyed" was 118,230, with a monetary estimate of $150 million in losses.

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The blaze made headlines in June 2008, as it destroyed parts of the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, as well as several sets used for filming and a large warehouse that stored videotapes and film reels.

Universal Music Group would not confirm the number of actual losses due to the fire, nor would it confirm the status of masters for specific artists.

"While there are constraints preventing us from publicly addressing some of the details of the fire that occurred at NBCUniversal Studios facility more than a decade ago, the incident-while deeply unfortunate-never affected the availability of the commercially released music nor impacted artists' compensation", the statement continues. But the exact nuances of the high notes, the bass riffs, the vibrato and cymbals preserved on the master recordings that did burn that June day-those have gone quiet.

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