June 29, 2019 at 9:47 pm #303140
The fire swept across the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood on Sunday, June 1, 2008\
It wasn’t until June 11, 2019 that the world and a great many artistic discovered what was lost.
This is so indicative of American disregard for its legacy, on every level. Me First does carry a cost. Guess those executive bonuses would have taken a hit to build a proper and protected warehouse – fuk the Precautionary Principle anyway. Wave that flag.
The Day the Music Burned
It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business — and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.
The fire made news around the world, and the destruction of the video vault featured prominently in the coverage. But nearly all news outlets characterized the vault fire as a close call, in which worst cases were averted. The New York Times reported that “a vault full of video and television images” had burned up, but added that “in no case was the destroyed material the only copy of a work,” a claim attributed to Universal Studios officials. Subsequent articles focused on the fire’s impact on film festivals, which relied on prints from Universal’s library. But journalists moved on from the story, and there has never been a full accounting of film and video losses in the fire. …
UMG’s accounting of its losses, detailed in a March 2009 document marked “CONFIDENTIAL,” put the number of “assets destroyed” at 118,230. Randy Aronson considers that estimate low: The real number, he surmises, was “in the 175,000 range.” If you extrapolate from either figure, tallying songs on album and singles masters, the number of destroyed recordings stretches into the hundreds of thousands. In another confidential report, issued later in 2009, UMG asserted that “an estimated 500K song titles” were lost.June 29, 2019 at 9:50 pm #303141
Among the incinerated Decca masters were recordings by titanic figures in American music: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland. The tape masters for Billie Holiday’s Decca catalog were most likely lost in total. The Decca masters also included recordings by such greats as Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five and Patsy Cline.
The fire most likely claimed most of Chuck Berry’s Chess masters and multitrack masters, … including most of the Chess output of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and Little Walter, Aretha Franklin, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, who made dozens of albums for Chess and its sublabels.
Virtually all of Buddy Holly’s masters were lost in the fire. Most of John Coltrane’s Impulse masters were lost, as were masters for treasured Impulse releases by Ellington, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders and other jazz greats. Also apparently destroyed were the masters for dozens of canonical hit singles, including Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88,” Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley/I’m A Man,” Etta James’s “At Last,” the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready.”
The list of destroyed single and album masters takes in titles by dozens of legendary artists, a genre-spanning who’s who of 20th- and 21st-century popular music. It includes recordings by Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, the Andrews Sisters, the Ink Spots, the Mills Brothers, Lionel Hampton, Ray Charles, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Clara Ward, Sammy Davis Jr., Les Paul, Fats Domino, Big Mama Thornton, Burl Ives, the Weavers, Kitty Wells, Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Bobby (Blue) Bland, B.B. King, Ike Turner, the Four Tops, Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, Joan Baez, Neil Diamond, Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Captain Beefheart, Cat Stevens, the Carpenters, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Al Green, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Don Henley, Aerosmith, Steely Dan, Iggy Pop, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Barry White, Patti LaBelle, Yoko Ono, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Police, Sting, George Strait, Steve Earle, R.E.M., Janet Jackson, Eric B. and Rakim, New Edition, Bobby Brown, Guns N’ Roses, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Sonic Youth, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Hole, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, 50 Cent and the Roots.
Then there are masters for largely forgotten artists that were stored in the vault: tens of thousands of gospel, blues, jazz, country, soul, disco, pop, easy listening, classical, comedy and spoken-word records that may now exist only as written entries in discographies.July 2, 2019 at 10:31 pm #303227@thatoneguyParticipant
A shame for the musicians as their future royalties must be jeopardized. On the plus side some wrinkly old rock stars might not be able to rip off their fans anymore by constantly reissuing their old shit every decade as remasters. That goes for Universal as well. Ultimately it sounds like careless contractors are the main culprit rather than “greedy executives”.
At any rate it’s pretty meaningless to society — as it should be.July 3, 2019 at 12:31 am #303231
I’m curious, what sort of stuff do you find “meaningful” for society?
Oh and don’t blame nothing on them poor execs ? Really? Except for setting priorities and projects and allocating funds.
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December 13, 2019 at 8:04 am #315644December 22, 2019 at 8:24 pm #316182January 1, 2020 at 4:11 am #317276
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Anyone familiar with Jean Luc Ponty, jazz violinist?
Have a listen to this musical tour de force.January 1, 2020 at 4:29 am #317277
While I’m at it, this is another astounding musical performance by two extraordinary guitarists Bireli Lagrene and Vic Juris playing the all time classic “Spain”. It’ll leave you breathless!January 1, 2020 at 4:35 am #317278
And last but not least this all-time jewel in the crown of great jazz. The Modern Jazz Quartet ode to Django Reinhardt.
John Lewis’ piano solo is a little masterpiece of understatement with maximum effect.January 8, 2020 at 4:01 pm #318252
This little masterpiece of romantic jubilation shall always be one of my favorites.January 11, 2020 at 4:46 am #318595
A taste of modern Mongolian throat singing.
Listen to the overtones he creates with his vocal cords.January 30, 2020 at 9:57 pm #320475
So may it secretly begin……Pat Metheny. The most compelling guitar sound in jazzFebruary 13, 2020 at 1:20 am #321963
And a wonderful Louisiana shuffle by Paul Simon. A wonderful hypnotic rhythm and delightful lyrics. “Afterlife”March 1, 2020 at 2:05 pm #323470
Bill Evans ! One of the all timegreat jazz pianists; “I’ve got you under my skin” (with Jim Hall)May 11, 2020 at 5:35 am #328096
This music is timeless Lizz Wright, Toots Thielemans
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