July 25, 2021

Nirvana, REM and Tupac Shakur: the unreleased audios lost in the Universal Studios fire

In June 2008, Universal Studios Hollywood, located in Los Angeles, was affected by a fire that took firefighters 10 hours to put out.

The incident destroyed movie sets such as the one in Back to the Future, the attraction of King Kong and they had to close the park for the whole day.

A decade after the accident, The New York Times obtained documents that reveal the loss record in building 6197, a warehouse belonging to Universal Music Group.

There they stored the recordings of the artists they worked with, which meant a highly prized library considering the signing of Universal.

According to the NYT publication, 118,230 assets were destroyed, including “an estimated 500 thousand song titles” and previously unreleased audios from bands such as Nirvana, REM, Soundgarden, Beck, Janet Jackson, Eminem and Nine Inch Nails.

Fire at Universal Studios Hollywood. Los Angeles California. June 2008. Photo credit: Reuters.

Hole, one of the bands mentioned in the NYT list, said through its representative that it never knew about the loss of those recordings. “The band didn’t know until this morning,” a spokesman told Pitchfork.

Another of the bands alluded to was REM, who through their Twitter account referred to the news: “REMHQ is receiving inquiries from many people concerned about the New York Times article and the fire that occurred at Universal Studios 11 years ago. trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if there is any. “

According to the article in The New York Times, the lost material belonged to the following artists:

  • 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.
  • The 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
  • The Roots