Tom Petty, R.E.M., The Police: Masters Lost Forever

Major pieces of music history were destroyed in a fire a decade ago and kept quiet until a new report by The New York Times.

The paper says that a blaze at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008 destroyed hundreds of master tapes, but that Universal kept the focus on the burned “King Kong” theme park attraction and losses of video content, and attempted to keep the master tapes losses off the radar. The report states that the company feared legal and PR reaction from artists and estates that lost their masters.

The staggering list of masters burned in the fire crosses multiple genres — works by Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersThe PoliceStingR.E.M.Janet JacksonGuns n’ Roses, Mary J. BligeNo DoubtNine Inch NailsSnoop DoggNirvanaBeckSheryl Crow2PacEminem50 CentThe RootsThe Four TopsNeil DiamondJoni MitchellCat Stevens, Gladys Knight and the PipsAl GreenElton JohnEric ClaptonJimmy BuffettEagles, AerosmithRufus and Chaka KhanBarry White and Patti LaBelle. Also lost were most of Buddy Holly‘s masters, much of Chuck Berry’s greatest recordings, and iconic singles like Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Etta James’s “At Last” and The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.”

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