- Pamela Cosel
Sharing: The Day the Music Burned
The New York Times Magazine today published a story about the huge fire that happened on June 1, 2008 at Universal Studios. It was the site of the courthouse scene in the movie "Back to the Future" and other films. More importantly, destroyed was the vault that held many videos and images from historic footage of television shows.
The article states it wasn't widely reported, however, that master files of music recordings were also destroyed. "A master is a one-of-a-kind artifact, the irreplaceable primary source of a piece of recorded music," according to the article.
Pop, jazz, blues recordings numbering as many as 175,000 were burned. "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."
As a musician and singer myself, this story is most sad to learn of what is lost forever. The photo in the story shot from the air above the site is incredible, as to the extent of smoke and flames. Read on for the full article.