Artists who lost their music in the Universal warehouse fire

It's estimated that half a million songs were lost in the "Universal fire"

Stars Insider

26/06/19 | StarsInsider


June 1, 2008: the day music burned. A worker blowtorching shingles at the Universal Studios backlot would involuntarily cause a modern music tragedy. A three-alarm fire broke out in the backlot, and in no time at all the devastation had been reported. Brownstone Street, New York Street, a King Kong attraction, and Universal's Video Vault had all burned down, this in the San Fernando Valley area in California. Over 500 firefighters battled the blaze, which was an event that changed the world of music forever. However, Universal haven't been 100% honest about the true damage of the blaze. Now, the truth may have finally come to the surface.

The New York Times recently published a report from their own investigation. It was discovered that the fire completely destroyed Building 6197, a warehouse located next to the King Kong attraction. It wasn't just "replaceable" videos that were lost in the blaze. In fact, thousands upon thousands of audio master tapes were destroyed. Universal Music Group acquired many labels over the years, like Chess, Decca, MCA, Geffen, and Interscope. It's estimated that between 118,000 to 175,00 master tapes were lost, as well as demos, outtakes, alternate takes, and mixdowns. Randy Aronson, a manager of the vault, has estimated that around 500,000 songs were lost.

The fire completely destroyed thousands of irreplaceable records. It affected pioneering musicians like Chuck Berry and Howlin' Wolf, as well as newer artists like 50 Cent and The Roots. Many estates of such artists have filed their own lawsuits, like the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac Shakur. To fully understand the impact of the Universal fire, click on to see a number of artists it affected.


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