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Thread: The Day The Music Burned; article on the Universal vault fire

  1. #26
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    There is some good news: the Sonny and Cher masters may have been destroyed in the fire.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    There is some good news: the Sonny and Cher masters may have been destroyed in the fire.
    Well, if we're going in that direction, I think that article also mentioned Yoko Ono.

  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    He was also notorious for destroying all props and sets at the end of a production so they wouldn't turn up in other people's work (which was common practice). That's why when 2010 was made, they had to re-build the Discovery models. There were no surviving blueprints or anything, so the production team had to work from still photos and re-watching 2001: A Space Odyssey again and again to make sure they got all the details right.
    Apparently you don't see the main living quarters in Discovery in 2010 because the production company baulked at the cost of recreating the rotating set.

    Quote Originally Posted by viukkis View Post
    I remember reading that some of the footage from the final part of 2001 is simply recolored aerial footage originally filmed for Dr. Strangelove. Perhaps he only started destroying it later.
    I can think of two examples - the aerial footage at the end of the original release of 'Blade Runner' is out-takes from 'The Shining'. And the UK TV series 'The Prisoner' used a special-effects shot of a star-field in one episode.

  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Well, if we're going in that direction, I think that article also mentioned Yoko Ono.
    Maybe her 80's records? I don't think Universal would have had her Apple recordings, but I haven't read the whole article yet.

  5. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    Maybe her 80's records? I don't think Universal would have had her Apple recordings, but I haven't read the whole article yet.
    Could be, I have no idea. I don't know who owns the Apple catalog (EMI?) or which corporate giant that label now falls under.

  6. #31
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Or maybe, when they heard about the fire, somebody drive to the warehouse and tossed them in.

  7. #32
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Now that's that's the spirit my fellow drama queens!
    Last edited by Buddhabreath; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:42 PM.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Which is why it's kind of astonishing some of the stuff that did survive, like the 1961 Village Vanguard tapes, or the outtakes from the Africa/Brass sessions.

    I see parallel here to the TV and film industry. You guys know one of my favorite shows is Doctor Who. And I've bemoaned the fact that, like most BBC shows from before the 1980's, there's a lot of gaps in the show during the 60's, as many tapes were erased. Nobody saw home video or the "rerun" market (in the UK, reruns were practically unheard of prior to the 1980's) being what it ended up being.

    But you know what did survive? The very first episode of the series, The Unearthly Child was shot twice. The first one was deemed "not quite right", so the production team were ordered to take a second pass at it. The first version was never broadcast (at least not until decades later, anyway), and by all rights should be one of the things that was tossed out by the BBC overlords. But it wasn't. It survived, somehow, and was issued on DVD.

    And for you Trevor Rabin supporters, I read once that his first band Rabbit appeared on South African TV regularly during the mid 70's (apparently, they were huge in their homeland), but almost none of that's survived.

    I also recall that Johnny Carson was known to occasionally complain about NBC erasing the 60's and early 70's episodes of his show.

    Then there's all the films that are "lost", for various reasons. I've read about film restoration people walking into vaults in Hollywood, pulling film cans off the shelves, opening them, and finding nothing but dust. I also read about how one film distributor melted down some of the films they had in their possession for the silver content in the celluloid (I think it was silver, I might have the wrong precious metal).

    Then you've got things like Nosferatu, all prints of which were supposed to be destroyed on order from Madame Stoker's lawyers. Also, movies that were the director most definitely didn't have "final cut", and as such, the film was hacked by studio idiots who were convinced they knew better, and now the director's cut no longer exists. Greater films than The Blues Brothers were molested in this fashion, but it's always gonna bug me that I'm never gonna see John Landis' original vision for that picture (the DVD edition has some footage they were able to salvage from an intermediate print of the film, but apparently there's more stuff that's still missing).

    And in the audio commentary on The Kids Are Alright, Jeff Stein talks about how much of a pain in the ass it was just finding the reels of The Who performing at Woodstock that he wanted to use in his film. He said the Warners vaults didn't have any proper logs or anything, so they literally had to go through reel after reel, and physically looking at the first frames of each reel, hoping to find something that looked like it might be The Who. So even when something does exist, good luck actually finding it.

    And who knows about all the stuff the Nazis, Soviets, etc destroyed or molested during their respective reigns of terror.

    So besides even catastrophes of the kind discussed in the article in the OP, just dumb ass shortsightedness was enough to be lethal towards anything produced in the world of music, television or film.
    Read this in the Times around the time it was published. Clearly nobody had any foresight even before the fire. Seems like an institutional problem.

    Beyond sad.

    I've known about the Dr. Who thing for years and there has been some luck with surviving tapes from other territories.

  9. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    And Rush are infamous for having almost no material that didn't make it onto their albums. I've seen a couple interviews over the years where they've said that if they felt something isn't working, they 86 it right away, and otherwise write just enough material for a given album. Yeah, there's a handful of songs, like Fancy Dancer and one or two others, but not much.
    Not sure where those original Rush tapes (Anthem or US) are now. Who knows if they were moved after the band sold their interest several years back but many of them haven't been in good shape for years and digital safety copies were made (back in 97?) but that's as good as it's ever going to get. I don't think Universal acquired the Mercury catalog (Through A Show Of Hands) until sometime in the 2000's.

  10. #35
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    The music journalist Stephen Thomas Erlewine flagged this up on Twitter. The big thread about this fire on the Hoffman forum has disappeared from public view.

    Also, the legal battle has started:

    https://twitter.com/jodyrosen/status...38905271488514

    And the A Love Supreme masters may well have survived as they could have been in use elsewhere at the time of the fire:

    https://twitter.com/jodyrosen/status...55655284412424

    Some other tape boxes Universal have taken photos of.

    https://www.billboard.com/articles/b...pes-litigation
    Last edited by JJ88; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:33 PM.

  11. #36
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    A new NY Times article attempts to provide a comprehensive list of affected artists, including a few who are near and dear to many members of PE: Soft Machine, Rick Wakeman, and Asia (well some of us anyway...).

  12. #37
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    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/m...tmag&smtyp=cur

    It would be my guess that the Soft Machine album would be the debut as it was recorded in the US. That and Volume Two were on Probe which I think Universal owns the distribution rights to.

    Asia were actually on the 'A list', in other words, apparently among the bigger money-spinners.

    Enjoyed reading about Richard Carpenter really pressing them on this, years ago. He's always seemed very on the ball with the technical side of music-making so I can well believe it!
    Last edited by JJ88; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:48 AM.

  13. #38
    This has even made the national news on UK television. Sheryl Crow pointing out the bleedin' obvious - you don't store backup copies alongside the originals! And as someone else commented, you can be sure that the artists' contracts weren't stored in such a cavalier fashion.

    I wonder who's going to raise the first lawsuit?

  14. #39
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Well, if we're going in that direction, I think that article also mentioned Yoko Ono.
    Aw, you're only trying to cheer us up.

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    A new NY Times article attempts to provide a comprehensive list of affected artists, including a few who are near and dear to many members of PE: Soft Machine, Rick Wakeman, and Asia (well some of us anyway...).
    Supertramp is another band I see mentioned here, whose tapes may have been there.

  16. #41
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Interesting that this video makes no mention of the loss:

    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  17. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    Interesting that this video makes no mention of the loss:

    Yeah, it's called a cover up for a reason.

  18. #43
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, it's called a cover up for a reason.
    No doubt! For some reason I'm still shocked by bald-faced lies....particularly when done on camera.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  19. #44
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    On this day in history ... July 9 1937

    A fire at 20th Century Fox's film storage facility in Little Ferry, New Jersey, destroyed most of the studio's silent films.

    "Fire .... Bad"
    "Normal is just the average of extremes" - Gary Lessor

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