Universal Music Group’s 2008 fire disaster + LOUIE LOUIE ?

Yesterday, thanks to the New York Times, we learned of a terrible fire disaster that took place in 2008 at the Universal Music Group vault, which apparently destroyed over 500,000 master recordings.

Amongst the reported lost recordings by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Louis Jordan, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Little Walter, Etta James, 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., Les 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 and the Roots, we also learned about the supposed destruction of the Kingsmen‘s LOUIE LOUIE master tape.

As it turns out, it appears that the original Kingsmen recording of LOUIE LOUIE was NOT one of the casualties of this terrible disaster in Los Angeles.

Here’s the official word from the Kingsmen:

Unless someone removed the masters from our vault in Washington, they are still there.

Norm Sundholm
Kingsmen International Licensing, inc.

Meanwhile, the full story of this terrible accident is still unfolding…



NY Times Magazine – The Day The Music Burned
NY Times – Recordings by Elton John, Nirvana and Thousands More Lost in Fire
Washington Post- Music group’s PR staff fooled the media
Billboard – Universal Fire in 2008 Estimated to Have Destroyed 500,000 Iconic Master Recordings
Variety – Universal Music Disputes Severity of 2008 Fire Cited in New York Times Article
Los Angeles Times – Report: Universal Music Group covered up destruction of irreplaceable master tapes in 2008 fire
NME – Unheard material from Nirvana, R.E.M and many more lost in 2008 Universal Studios fire
WMMR – Master Recordings for Nearly 500,000 Songs Destroyed in 2008 Universal Music Group Fire
UltimateClassicRock.com – Steely Dan, Nirvana and Others React to Fire Loss of Master Tapes
LA List- Universal Studios Fire Destroyed The Original Recording Of Etta James’s ‘At Last’ — And 500,000 Other Songs
AV Club – Universal Music Group disputes New York Times’ claim that 500,000 master recordings were lost in 2008 fire

Billboard original June 2, 2008 article – “Universal Music Group Masters Unharmed In Fire”

Andy Zax – “Goodbye, 20th Century!”: How Stupidity, Incompetence, Obsolescence, Carelessness, Greed, Malfeasance, Lazy Lawyers And A Basic Misunderstanding Of Physics Are—At This Very Moment!—Eviscerating What’s Left Of Our Musical Heritage

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