The list of bands that lost master recordings in the 2008 Universal fire is astounding

So back in 2008, a fire broke out in the Universal Studios backlot, and destroyed countless props, stages, original reels of film and TV, as well as THOUSANDS of master recording reels of music from some very popular artists.

Even then, we knew it was bad, but now we know just HOW bad it was.

In addition to the film and TV reels stored in a film vault on the lot, as many as 500,000 audio recordings were destroyed, including original, and master reels by Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, Beck, No Doubt, Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Nirvana, which DOES include the reels for their breakout album, “Nevermind.” Former bass player Krist Novaselic confirmed that unfortunate news with the New York Times on Tuesday in their feature article “The Day the Music Burned.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, some artists are just now finding out their master recordings were lost in the blaze. Hole and R.E.M. commented Tuesday morning after the New York Times article was released, detailing what was lost, saying they were unaware of what they’d lost.

Also destroyed were “super deep” libraries from B.B. King and Nine Inch Nails that could have been released at a later date, but now are lost forever.

Other bands affected by the blaze include:

  • Buddy Holly
  • Etta James
  • Billie Holiday
  • Louie Armstrong
  • Al Jolson
  • Bing Crosby
  • Aretha Franklin
  • John Coltrane
  • Al Green
  • Ray Charles
  • Elton John
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Chuck Berry
  • Tom Petty
  • Joan Baez
  • Neil Diamond
  • Cat Stevens
  • Eric Clapton
  • Rufus and Chaka Khan
  • Barry White
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Sting
  • Steve Earle
  • Janet Jackson
  • Mary J. Blige
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Eminem
  • 50 Cent

and countless more.

Initially, the concern was primarily any legendary films that might have been destroyed, but staff claimed all stored in the building were copies and could be reporoduced. However, in the music library, many of the master recordings destroyed were from legendary labels like Decca, Chess, Impulse, MCA, Geffen,ABC, A&M and Interscope, all acquired by Universal, and can never be recreated or remade, either due to total loss of reel, or due to the death of band members.

Initially after the fire, it was thought no more than 118,000 titles had been lost, with an estimated cost of $150 million. Now, safe to say, that amount is far higher.

At this time, it’s unknown if the loss will affect the music, or libraries of any of the artists affected.