The devastating fire at Universal Studios Hollywood in June 2008 was widely reported at the time—but, until now, it wasn’t publicly known that it destroyed a huge catalogue, including some of the most important music recordings in the history of popular music. The news coverage of the event implied that it was just film that had been burned, and only copies of original work that weren’t irreplaceable. However, The New York Times Magazine reports that a storehouse of master music recordings, the original recordings from which all subsequent copies are derived, was destroyed. Virtually all of Buddy Holly’s masters were lost in the fire, as well as work by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry, Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Don Henley, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Eminem, and 50 Cent. “It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business,” the newspaper reports.
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