McCartney Times

Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire

Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire

Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire
June 27
12:06 2019

By Jody Rosen

In 2013, Bryan Adams, the Canadian singer-songwriter, found himself facing a mystery. Twenty-nine years earlier, in 1984, Adams reached pop-rock superstardom with the release of his fourth LP, “Reckless,” which topped the Billboard 200 album chart and sold an estimated 12 million copies worldwide. Now, with the album’s 30th anniversary approaching, Adams was attempting to put together a commemorative reissue. He reached out to Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest record company, which controls the catalog of dozens of subsidiaries, including A&M, the label that put out “Reckless” and eight other Adams studio albums.

“I contacted the archive dept of Universal Music,” Adams told me in an email last week. Adams was seeking “the master mixes/artwork/photos/video/film . . . anything,” he wrote. Almost nothing could be turned up by the record company. Adams’s hunt for this material ranged far and wide. “I called everyone, former A&M employees, directors, producers, photographers, production houses, editors, even assistants of producers at the time,” Adams said.

Eventually, Adams located a safety copy of the album’s “unmastered final assembly mix tape” in his own vault in Vancouver. But he remained baffled about the disappearance of so much material: “I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I couldn’t find anything at Universal that had been published to do with my association with A&M records in the 1980s. If you were doing an archaeological dig there, you would have concluded that it was almost as if none of it had ever happened.”

ImageBryan Adams, 1991
CreditFrans Schellekens/Redferns/Getty Images

Two weeks ago, another explanation emerged, when Adams read “The Day the Music Burned,” a New York Times Magazine article detailing the destruction of recordings in a fire at a vault facility on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood, where UMG stored original masters and other recordings dating from the 1940s up to the 2000s. In legal documents and UMG reports that I obtained while researching the article, the record company asserted that more than 100,000 masters and “an estimated 500K song titles” had burned in the fire, including works by such towering figures as Billie Holiday, Chuck Berry and John Coltrane. The toll encompassed recordings made for several famous record labels: Decca, Chess, Impulse, ABC, MCA, Geffen, Interscope and Adams’ old label, A&M. A confidential document prepared by UMG officials for a 2009 “Vault Loss Meeting” offered a bleak assessment of the damage: “Lost in the fire was, undoubtedly, a huge musical heritage.”


Today, The Times is offering a broader look at that heritage, publishing an expanded list of artists who were thought by UMG officials to have lost master recordings in the fire. The list adds 700-plus names to the more than 100 artists cited in “The Day the Music Burned.”

The names were gleaned from UMG’s own lists, assembled during the company’s “Project Phoenix” recovery effort, a global search for replacement copies and duplicates of destroyed masters. One of the artists on those lists is Bryan Adams, who said that he first learned about the fire when he read the Times Magazine piece. During his interactions with UMG staff in 2013, Adams said, “There was no mention that there had been a fire in the archive.”

The list that appears at the end of this article provides a fuller sense of the historical scope of the 2008 disaster. The recording artists whose names The Times is publishing for the first time today represent an extraordinary cross-section of genres and periods: classic pop balladeers (Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Pat Boone), jazz greats (Sidney Bechet, Betty Carter, Roland Kirk), show business legends (Groucho Marx, Mae West, Bob Hope), gospel groups (the Dixie Hummingbirds, Five Blind Boys of Alabama, the Soul Stirrers), country icons (the Carter Family, Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell), illustrious songwriters (Hoagy Carmichael, Doc Pomus, Lamont Dozier), doo-wop and rhythm & blues favorites (Johnny Ace, the Moonglows, the Del-Vikings), ’50s and ’60s chart toppers (Ricky Nelson, Petula Clark, Brenda Lee), bluesmen (Slim Harpo, Elmore James, Otis Rush), world-music stars (Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Milton Nascimento), classic rockers (The Who, Joe Cocker, Three Dog Night), folkies and folk-rockers (Sandy Denny, Crosby & Nash, Buffy Sainte-Marie), singer-songwriters (Phil Ochs, Terry Callier, Joan Armatrading), ’70s best-sellers (Peter Frampton, Olivia Newton-John, Barry Gibb), soul and disco-era stalwarts (the Dramatics, the Pointer Sisters, George Benson), AM rock-radio staples (Styx, Boston, 38 Special), divas and divos (Cher, Tom Jones), British punks and new wavers (The Damned, Joe Jackson, Squeeze), MTV fixtures (Wang Chung, Patti Smyth, Extreme), hip-hop/R&B hitmakers (Bell Biv Devoe, Jodeci, Blackstreet), ’90s rock acts (Primus, Temple of the Dog, the Wallflowers), rappers (Heavy D. & the Boyz, Busta Rhymes, Common), comedians (Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Cosby, Chris Rock), even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose album “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” a recording of a keynote address given at an A.M.E. church convention, was released in 1968 on Excello, a blues label whose masters were stored in the backlot vault.


The UMG documents from which these names are drawn were organized according to a hierarchy, an effort to establish “priority assets”: those recordings that were to be a primary focus of the search for replacement copies. On one list, artists were assigned letter-grade rankings, with higher marks given to those deemed most important. Artists graded “A” include historic figures (Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell) and best-selling acts of the 1980s, ’90s, and ’00s (Belinda Carlisle, Meat Loaf, Weezer, Limp Bizkit, Gwen Stefani, Blink 182).

The letter-grade rankings provide a snapshot of UMG’s marketplace wisdom circa 2010 — judgments that, at times, favor top-sellers with thin discographies over historically significant figures and critically-lionized innovators. Captain and Tennille, Chuck Mangione, Whitesnake, Sublime, White Zombie, Nelly Furtado and the Pussycat Dolls received A ratings. Les Paul, Merle Haggard, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Alice Coltrane, Captain Beefheart, the Neville Brothers and the Roots were given Bs.

For the past two weeks, as news of the lost masters has reverberated through the music industry, UMG has been roundly criticized by artists and their representatives. On Friday, a lawsuit was filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles by five prominent musicians and estates: the rock bands Soundgarden and Hole, singer-songwriter Steve Earle, the estate of rapper Tupac Shakur, and Tom Petty’s former wife, who owns rights in some of Petty’s music. The suit, which seeks class-action status, accuses UMG of breaching its contracts with artists by failing to protect their recordings and by failing to share any income received in insurance payments and legal settlements from the fire. The plaintiffs are seeking “compensatory damages in an amount in excess of $100 million.”

Universal declined to comment on the lawsuit on Friday. Earlier in the week, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, the chief executive and chairman of UMG’s corporate parent, the French media conglomerate Vivendi, waved aside concerns that revelations of the fire would impact Vivendi’s plans to sell up to 50 percent of the record company, whose value was recently estimated at $33 billion. De Puyfontaine told Variety that the controversy over the fire is “just noise.”

But that noise is growing louder. Last week, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Hole’s lead singer, Courtney Love, spoke bitterly of UMG’s response to the fire. “No one knows for sure yet, specifically what is gone from their estate, their catalog,” she told me in an email. “But for once in a horrible way people believe me about the state of the music business which I would not wish on my worst enemy. Our culture has been devastated, meanwhile UMG is online with cookie recipes and pop, as if nothing happened. It’s so horrible.”

Many artists have commented on social media, expressing indignation in particular over UMG’s failure to inform them about the potential losses to their catalogs. On June 12, the day after the Times article was published online, the singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow tweeted: “shame on those involved in the coverup. Massive fire at UMG 11 years ago, and we’re just hearing about this now??” Geoffrey Downes, the keyboardist for the English prog-rock group Asia, also reacted on Twitter. “This might explain why nobody can find the original Asia album masters,” he wrote. “Very sad, and UMG have kept it quiet for more than 10 years.” Crow released eight studio albums for A&M; Asia recorded four for Geffen. Both received A ratings in UMG’s Project Phoenix documents.

Other artists listed in the documents are offering accounts of interactions with UMG similar to those reported by Bryan Adams, in which the record company appears to have fallen short of complete candor. These incidents are reported by artists to have taken place after many of the executives who presided over UMG at the time of the fire had departed, and well into the tenure of the current CEO and chariman, Lucian Grainge.

Early last year, the alternative rock group Semisonic was preparing a 20th-anniversary edition of its 1998 album “Feeling Strangely Fine.” According to drummer Jacob Slichter, the band was informed by UMG that masters of the album “couldn’t be located.” In an email to The Times, Semisonic’s manager, Jim Grant — whose office requested the masters from UMG — said that the record company “did not reference lost or damaged masters. . . . They did not mention anything about the fire.” Semisonic was included on one of the UMG documents listing artists whose masters were thought to have been destroyed in the fire.

Another leading ’90s band that appears in the documents is Counting Crows, which recorded several albums for Geffen. In a 2016 interview in Diffuser, a music website, the lead singer, Adam Duritz, said that Geffen had “lost the master tapes” for “Recovering the Satellites,” the band’s platinum-selling 1996 release. “Geffen, because they’re a record company, it’s their sovereign right to lose everything,” he said. Duritz could not be reached for comment. It is unclear how he learned about the lost masters or if he was told that the tapes might have been lost in a fire.

One of the only musicians who has said publicly that he was informed about the destruction of his masters is Richard Carpenter of the Carpenters, the star ’70s pop duo. But Carpenter says the admission — by a staff member at UMG’s catalog division, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) — came only after multiple inquiries and because UMG was forced into it: Carpenter had booked time at a mastering studio to work on a reissue for the label, and the tapes he requested for the session hadn’t shown up. “They didn’t let me know,” he told me last week. “They really didn’t want to get me on the phone to give me this news.” In a deposition given in a negligence suit brought by UMG against NBCUniversal, its landlord at the backlot vault, a former executive for the record company testified that Carpenter’s persistence and “concern” about his masters in the aftermath of the fire had been a subject of consternation among UMG officials.

Asked last week if there had been any systematic effort to inform artists of losses in the 2008 calamity, a UMG spokesperson said that the company “doesn’t publicly discuss our private conversations with artists and estates.” Its apparent success in keeping news of the fire from recording artists may in part be ascribed to the long history of anarchic archival practices in the music business: Musicians have come to expect that labels may not be able to find their masters, which in most cases are owned outright by the labels.

But novel arguments regarding masters and the intellectual property they contain may soon be advanced in cases against UMG. The suit filed Friday is not the only one that UMG is facing. In February, a separate class action was filed against UMG concerning Section 203 of the 1976 Copyright Act, which gives artists a chance to reclaim some rights to their sound recordings after a period of 35 years by serving Notices of Termination to record companies. The plaintiffs in Waite vs. UMG Recordings Inc. include, among others, singer John Waite, members of the California punk-rock band the Dickies and country-rock veteran Joe Ely. (Ely, who released eight albums on MCA between the 1970s and 1990s, appears in UMG’s documentation of losses in the fire.)

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, Evan Cohen and Maryann Marzano, now say that they view any losses suffered by artists in the fire “as a natural component of our claims.” “The destruction of the master recordings caused by the 2008 fire, and UMG’s subsequent failure to notify recording artists that their works were tragically lost, further underscores how little regard UMG has for the rights and property of musicians,” they said in a statement provided to The Times.

Since publication of “The Day the Music Burned,” UMG has been working to reassure artists and the public that losses in the fire were not as substantial as reported. In an interview published last Monday on Billboard’s website, Patrick Kraus, UMG’s senior vice president of recording studios and archive management, asserted that “many of the masters highlighted as destroyed, we actually have in our archives,” citing material by John Coltrane, Muddy Waters and the jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. The article includes photographs, provided by UMG, which appear to show boxes for a Coltrane master tape, the mono master of a Howlin’ Wolf album, a multitrack master by saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders and another master, possibly a multitrack, by the Five Blind Boys of Alabama.

But the broad assurances and scant specifics offered in recent days by Kraus and UMG spokespeople carry echoes of the company’s statements in the days after the 2008 fire, when officials characterized the label’s loss as negligible. It is true that some items thought to have been destroyed in the fire may in fact be safe, for any number of reasons. The item in the vault may not have been the original primary source master. The tape may have been elsewhere when the fire hit, perhaps in a studio for a reissue project. In many cases, UMG’s post-fire recovery effort may have located a backup copy of high-enough quality to muddy the question of whether the company has “a master” of the recording.

But individuals familiar with the contents of the doomed vault, including Randy Aronson, UMG’s senior director of vault operations at the time of the fire, state unequivocally that vast numbers of the masters in the archive were irreplaceable primary-source originals. The voluminous archives of Decca and Chess — the oldest and most historically significant labels in the vault, holding between them a staggering canon of American pop, jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll classics — comprised many tens of thousands of tapes, nearly all original masters.

According to Aronson and others, one reason UMG maintained the archive on the backlot in the first place was to keep original masters in Los Angeles, where they could be easily and affordably accessed by the company for reissues and compilations. “It just made sense to keep those tapes in L.A.,” says Mike Ragogna, a former senior director of catalog A&R at Universal Music Enterprises. “We would pull tapes three, four, multiple times for different projects.” Ragogna, who worked on hundreds of reissues for UMe before leaving the company in 2006, says that in 2008, when he saw the news about the fire, he thought immediately of certain precious masters that he suspected had been destroyed: “I was worried about the Neil Diamond tapes, the Joni Mitchell.”

The same characterization of the vault and its contents is found in the record company’s own internal files and in testimony given in legal proceedings after the fire. UMG’s recent statements downplaying the fire’s toll contradict its own copiously documented, multimillion-dollar effort to recover items it believed were lost. These same losses were part of the basis of UMG’s insurance claims in the aftermath of the fire, and of its negligence suit against NBCUniversal. They are the losses about which UMG officials, including some still employed by the company today, testified in sworn depositions.

Last Tuesday, various news outlets published a memo sent by Lucian Grainge, UMG’s chief executive, to the company’s staff. “We owe our artists transparency,” Grainge wrote. “We owe them answers.” Artists are seeking those answers. The lawyer Howard King — managing partner of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, one of the firms that filed the lawsuit on Friday — has requested that UMG “promptly furnish us with a complete inventory of all master recordings” on behalf of a number of artists, including Hole, Soundgarden, No Doubt, Joe Walsh and Buddy Guy and the estates of Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker and Tupac Shakur.

But answers and inventories may be difficult to obtain. Aronson says that it was clear in the immediate aftermath of the fire that the company would never have a complete accounting of what was lost. Decades of slapdash inventory practices — the company’s failure to invest in complete records of its holdings — had resulted in an insoluble discographical puzzle. UMG knew what labels’ masters had been stored in the vault; they know, broadly, which artists’ recordings had been on the shelves. But the knowledge got fuzzier when it came down to individual albums or songs, especially given the presence in the vault of an indeterminate number of masters containing outtakes, demos and other recordings that were never commercially released.

UMG’s own lists present riddles. Documents show that the company believed it had lost recordings by one of music’s most zealous audiophiles, Neil Young — whose website offers high-resolution versions of his complete discography, presumably sourced from the original masters. It is unclear if the Young recordings thought by UMG to have been destroyed were safety copies of the four albums he recorded for Geffen in the 1980s or outtakes from the sessions for those albums, or if UMG officials were simply mistaken about Young having had material in the backlot vault.

The Project Phoenix recovery program lasted two years and, by Aronson’s estimate, gathered duplicates of perhaps a fifth of the recordings lost in the fire. The choice to end these efforts may have been a cost-benefit decision; or UMG may have determined that, for the majority of the destroyed masters, duplicates could never be found. Now, in any case, the company is mobilizing another campaign to comb its global vaults. Billboard reported that Kraus, the head UMG archivist, “sent members of his team into the 10 vaults the company keeps around the world to verify the location and condition of its more than 3.5 million assets.” It seems that a second Project Phoenixlike effort is underway — this time, under pressure from both artists and the public.

The list below represents many — but not all — of the acts believed by UMG officials to have lost master recordings in the fire. It is a partial selection, culled from three separate UMG lists prepared for Project Phoenix in late 2009 and early 2010, more than a year and a half after the fire struck. These UMG lists were part of the company’s effort to compile what was referred to internally as “the God List,” a total tally of the material lost in the fire. The lists appear in company emails and other documents, a paper trail that emerged in later litigation. In one court filing in the NBCUniversal suit, UMG’s lawyers characterized the lists as the result of “a resource-intensive project to identify with reasonable certainty the Destroyed Tapes.”

Nevertheless, the names listed below come with several caveats. For the artists named below, it is not possible to assert definitively which masters were burned in the fire, nor can it be said categorically that all of these artists did in fact lose masters. It also cannot be determined exactly how many of the destroyed masters were primary-source originals.

What can be said with certainty is that these are artists whose material UMG believed had been lost in the fire and whose recordings the company spent tens of millions of dollars trying to replace.

38 Special
50 Cent
Colonel Abrams
Johnny Ace
Bryan Adams
Nat Adderley
Rhett Akins
Manny Albam
Lorez Alexandria
Gary Allan
Red Allen
Steve Allen
The Ames Brothers
Gene Ammons
Bill Anderson
Jimmy Anderson
John Anderson
The Andrews Sisters
Lee Andrews & the Hearts
Paul Anka
Adam Ant
Toni Arden
Joan Armatrading
Louis Armstrong
Asleep at the Wheel
Patti Austin
Average White Band
Hoyt Axton
Albert Ayler
Burt Bacharach
Joan Baez
Razzy Bailey
Chet Baker
Florence Ballard
Hank Ballard
Gato Barbieri
Baja Marimba Band
Len Barry
Count Basie
Fontella Bass
The Beat Farmers
Sidney Bechet and His Orchestra
Captain Beefheart
Archie Bell & the Drells
Vincent Bell
Bell Biv Devoe
Louie Bellson
Don Bennett
Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones
David Benoit
George Benson
Elmer Bernstein and His Orchestra
Chuck Berry
Nuno Bettencourt
Stephen Bishop
Art Blakey
Hal Blaine
Bobby (Blue) Bland
Mary J. Blige
Blink 182
Blues Traveler
Eddie Bo
Pat Boone
Connee Boswell
Eddie Boyd
Jan Bradley
Owen Bradley Quintet
Oscar Brand
Bob Braun
Walter Brennan
Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats
Teresa Brewer
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
John Brim
Lonnie Brooks
Big Bill Broonzy and Washboard Sam
Brothers Johnson
Bobby Brown
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
Lawrence Brown
Les Brown
Marion Brown
Marshall Brown
Mel Brown
Michael Brown
Dave Brubeck
Jimmy Buffett
Carol Burnett
T-Bone Burnett
Dorsey Burnette
Johnny Burnette
Busta Rhymes
Terry Callier
Cab Calloway
The Call
Glen Campbell
Captain and Tennille
Captain Sensible
Irene Cara
Belinda Carlisle
Carl Carlton
Eric Carmen
Hoagy Carmichael
Kim Carnes
Karen Carpenter
Richard Carpenter
The Carpenters
Barbara Carr
Betty Carter
Benny Carter
The Carter Family
Peter Case
Alvin Cash
Mama Cass
Bobby Charles
Ray Charles
Chubby Checker
The Checkmates Ltd.
Cheech & Chong
Don Cherry
Mark Chesnutt
The Chi-Lites
Eric Clapton
Petula Clark
Roy Clark
Gene Clark
The Clark Sisters
Merry Clayton
Jimmy Cliff
Patsy Cline
Rosemary Clooney
Wayne Cochran
Joe Cocker
Ornette Coleman
Gloria Coleman
Mitty Collier
Jazzbo Collins
Judy Collins
Alice Coltrane
John Coltrane
Cookie and the Cupcakes
Barbara Cook
Rita Coolidge
Stewart Copeland
The Corsairs
Dave “Baby” Cortez
Bill Cosby
Don Costa
Clifford Coulter
David Crosby
Crosby & Nash
Johnny Cougar (aka John Cougar Mellencamp)
Counting Crows
Warren Covington
Deborah Cox
James “Sugar Boy” Crawford
Crazy Otto
Marshall Crenshaw
The Crew-Cuts
Sonny Criss
David Crosby
Bob Crosby
Bing Crosby
Sheryl Crow
Rodney Crowell
The Crusaders
Xavier Cugat
The Cuff Links
Tim Curry
The Damned
Danny & the Juniors
Rodney Dangerfield
Bobby Darin
Helen Darling
David + David
Mac Davis
Richard Davis
Sammy Davis Jr.
Chris de Burgh
Lenny Dee
Jack DeJohnette
The Dells
The Dell-Vikings
Sandy Denny
Sugar Pie DeSanto
The Desert Rose Band
Dennis DeYoung
Neil Diamond
Bo Diddley
Difford & Tilbrook
Dillard & Clark
The Dixie Hummingbirds
Willie Dixon
DJ Shadow
Fats Domino
Jimmy Donley
Kenny Dorham
Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra
Lee Dorsey
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra
Lamont Dozier
The Dramatics
The Dream Syndicate
Roy Drusky
Jimmy Durante
Deanna Durbin
The Eagles
Steve Earle
El Chicano
Danny Elfman
Yvonne Elliman
Duke Ellington
Cass Elliott
Joe Ely
John Entwistle
Eric B. and Rakim
Gil Evans
Paul Evans
Betty Everett
Don Everly
The Falcons
Harold Faltermeyer
Donna Fargo
Art Farmer
Freddie Fender
Ferrante & Teicher
Fever Tree
The Fifth Dimension
Ella Fitzgerald
Five Blind Boys Of Alabama
The Fixx
The Flamingos
King Floyd
The Flying Burrito Brothers
John Fogerty
Red Foley
Eddie Fontaine
The Four Aces
The Four Tops
Peter Frampton
Franke & the Knockouts
Aretha Franklin
The Rev. C.L. Franklin
The Free Movement
Glenn Frey
Lefty Frizzell
Curtis Fuller
Jerry Fuller
Lowell Fulson
Harvey Fuqua
Nelly Furtado
Hank Garland
Judy Garland
Erroll Garner
Jimmy Garrison
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Gene Loves Jezebel
Barry Gibb
Georgia Gibbs
Terri Gibbs
Dizzy Gillespie
Gin Blossoms
Tompall Glaser
Tom Glazer
Whoopi Goldberg
Golden Earring
Paul Gonsalves
Benny Goodman
Dexter Gordon
Rosco Gordon
Lesley Gore
The Gospelaires
Teddy Grace
Grand Funk Railroad
Amy Grant
Earl Grant
The Grass Roots
Dobie Gray
Buddy Greco
Keith Green
Al Green
Jack Greene
Robert Greenidge
Lee Greenwood
Patty Griffin
Nanci Griffith
Dave Grusin
Guns N’ Roses
Buddy Guy
Buddy Hackett
Charlie Haden
Merle Haggard
Bill Haley and His Comets
Aaron Hall
Lani Hall
Chico Hamilton
George Hamilton IV
Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Marvin Hamlisch
Jan Hammer
Lionel Hampton
John Handy
Glass Harp
Slim Harpo
Richard Harris
Freddie Harts
Dan Hartman
Johnny Hartman
Coleman Hawkins
Dale Hawkins
Richie Havens
Roy Haynes
Head East
Heavy D. & the Boyz
Bobby Helms
Don Henley
Clarence “Frogman” Henry
Woody Herman and His Orchestra
Milt Herth and His Trio
John Hiatt
Al Hibbler
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks
Monk Higgins
Jessie Hill
Earl Hines
Roger Hodgson
Billie Holiday
Jennifer Holliday
Buddy Holly
The Hollywood Flames
Eddie Holman
John Lee Hooker
Stix Hooper
Bob Hope
Paul Horn
Shirley Horn
Big Walter Horton
Thelma Houston
Rebecca Lynn Howard
Jan Howard
Freddie Hubbard
Humble Pie
Engelbert Humperdinck
Brian Hyland
The Impressions
The Ink Spots
Iron Butterfly
Burl Ives
Janet Jackson
Joe Jackson
Milt Jackson
Ahmad Jamal
Etta James
Elmore James
James Gang
Keith Jarrett
Jason & the Scorchers
Garland Jeffreys
Beverly Jenkins
Gordon Jenkins
The Jets
Jimmy Eat World
Johnnie Joe
The Joe Perry Project
Elton John
J.J. Johnson
K-Ci & JoJo
Al Jolson
Booker T. Jones
Elvin Jones
George Jones
Hank Jones
Jack Jones
Marti Jones
Quincy Jones
Rickie Lee Jones
Tamiko Jones
Tom Jones
Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five
The Jordanaires
Jurassic 5
Bert Kaempfert
Kitty Kallen & Georgie Shaw
The Kalin Twins
Bob Kames
Boris Karloff
Sammy Kaye
Toby Keith
Gene Kelly
Chaka Khan
B.B. King
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Wayne King
The Kingsmen
The Kingston Trio
Roland Kirk
Eartha Kitt
John Klemmer
Baker Knight
Chris Knight
Gladys Knight and the Pips
Steve Kuhn
Rolf Kuhn
Joachim Kuhn
Patti LaBelle
L.A. Dream Team
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross
Frankie Lane
Denise LaSalle
Yusef Lateef
Steve Lawrence
Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gormé
Lafayette Leake
Brenda Lee
Laura Lee
Leapy Lee
Peggy Lee
Danni Leigh
The Lennon Sisters
J.B. Lenoir
Ramsey Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Meade Lux Lewis
Enoch Light
The Lightning Seeds
Limp Bizkit
Lisa Loeb
Little Axe and the Golden Echoes
Little Milton
Little River Band
Little Walter
Nils Lofgren
Lone Justice
Guy Lombardo
Lord Tracy
The Louvin Brothers
Patti Loveless
The Lovelites
Lyle Lovett
Love Unlimited
Loretta Lynn
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Gloria Lynne
Moms Mabley
Willie Mabon
Warner Mack
Dave MacKay & Vicky Hamilton
Miriam Makeba
The Mamas and the Papas
Melissa Manchester
Barbara Mandrell
Chuck Mangione
Shelly Manne
Wade Marcus
Pigmeat Markham
Steve Marriott
Wink Martindale
Groucho Marx
Hugh Masekela
Dave Mason
Jerry Mason
Matthews Southern Comfort
The Mavericks
Robert Maxwell
John Mayall
Percy Mayfield
Lyle Mays
Les McCann
Delbert McClinton
Robert Lee McCollum
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
Van McCoy
Jimmy McCracklin
Jack McDuff
Reba McEntire
Gary McFarland
Barry McGuire
The McGuire Sisters
Duff McKagan
Maria McKee
McKendree Spring
Marian McPartland
Clyde McPhatter
Carmen McRae
Jack McVea
Meat Loaf
Memphis Slim
Sergio Mendes
Ethel Merman
Pat Metheny
Mighty Clouds of Joy
Roger Miller
Stephanie Mills
The Mills Brothers
Liza Minnelli
Charles Mingus
Joni Mitchell
Bill Monroe
Vaughn Monroe
Wes Montgomery
Buddy Montgomery
The Moody Blues
The Moonglows
Jane Morgan
Russ Morgan
Ennio Morricone
Mos Def
Martin Mull
Gerry Mulligan
Milton Nascimento
Johnny Nash
Rick Nelson & the Stone Canyon Band
Ricky Nelson
Jimmy Nelson
Oliver Nelson
Aaron Neville
Art Neville
The Neville Brothers
New Edition
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Olivia Newton-John
Night Ranger
Leonard Nimoy
Nine Inch Nails
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
No Doubt
Ken Nordine
Red Norvo Sextet
Terri Nunn
The Oak Ridge Boys
Ric Ocasek
Phil Ochs
Hazel O’Connor
Chico O’Farrill
Oingo Boingo
The O’Jays
Spooner Oldham
One Flew South
Yoko Ono
Jeffrey Osborne
The Outfield
Pablo Cruise
Jackie Paris
Leo Parker
Junior Parker
Ray Parker Jr.
Dolly Parton
Les Paul
Freda Payne
Peaches & Herb
Ce Ce Peniston
The Peppermint Rainbow
The Persuasions
Bernadette Peters
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
John Phillips
Webb Pierce
The Pinetoppers
Bill Plummer
The Pointer Sisters
The Police
Doc Pomus
Jimmy Ponder
Iggy Pop
Billy Preston
Lloyd Price
Louis Prima
Puddle Of Mudd
Red Prysock
Leroy Pullins
The Pussycat Dolls
Queen Latifah
Sun Ra
The Radiants
Gerry Rafferty
Kenny Rankin
The Ray Charles Singers
The Ray-O-Vacs
The Rays
Dewey Redman
Della Reese
Martha Reeves
Debbie Reynolds
Emitt Rhodes
Buddy Rich
Emil Richards
Dannie Richmond
Riders in the Sky
Stan Ridgway
Frazier River
Sam Rivers
Max Roach
Marty Roberts
Howard Roberts
The Roches
Chris Rock
Tommy Roe
Jimmy Rogers
Sonny Rollins
The Roots
Rose Royce
Jackie Ross
Doctor Ross
Rotary Connection
The Rover Boys
Roswell Rudd
Rufus and Chaka Khan
Otis Rush
Brenda Russell
Leon Russell
Pee Wee Russell
Russian Jazz Quartet
Mitch Ryder
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Joe Sample
Pharoah Sanders
The Sandpipers
Gary Saracho
Shirley Scott
Tom Scott
Dawn Sears
Neil Sedaka
Jeannie Seely
Charlie Sexton
Marlena Shaw
Tupac Shakur
Archie Shepp
Dinah Shore
Ben Sidran
Silver Apples
Shel Silverstein
The Simon Sisters
Ashlee Simpson
The Simpsons
Zoot Sims
P.F. Sloan
Smash Mouth
Kate Smith
Keely Smith
Tab Smith
Patti Smyth
Snoop Dogg
Valaida Snow
Jill Sobule
Soft Machine
Sonic Youth
Sonny and Cher
The Soul Stirrers
Eddie South
Southern Culture on the Skids
Spinal Tap
Banana Splits
The Spokesmen
Jo Stafford
Chris Stamey
Joe Stampley
Michael Stanley
Kay Starr
Stealers Wheel
Steely Dan
Gwen Stefani
Cat Stevens
Billy Stewart
Sonny Stitt
Shane Stockton
George Strait
The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Yma Sumac
Andy Summers
The Sundowners
The Surfaris
Sylvia Syms
Gábor Szabó
The Tams
Grady Tate
Koko Taylor
Billy Taylor
Charlie Teagarden
Temple of the Dog
Clark Terry
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Robin Thicke
Toots Thielemans
B.J. Thomas
Irma Thomas
Rufus Thomas
Hank Thompson
Lucky Thompson
Big Mama Thornton
Three Dog Night
The Three Stooges
Mel Tillis
Tommy & the Tom Toms
Mel Tormé
The Tragically Hip
The Trapp Family Singers
Ralph Tresvant
Ernest Tubb
The Tubes
Tanya Tucker
Tommy Tucker
The Tune Weavers
Ike Turner
Stanley Turrentine
Conway Twitty
McCoy Tyner
Phil Upchurch
Michael Utley
Leroy Van Dyke
Gino Vannelli
Van Zant
Billy Vaughan
Suzanne Vega
Vega Brothers
Veruca Salt
The Vibrations
Bobby Vinton
Porter Wagoner
The Waikikis
Rufus Wainwright
Rick Wakeman
Jerry Jeff Walker
The Wallflowers
Joe Walsh
Wang Chung
Clara Ward
Warrior Soul
Washboard Sam
Was (Not Was)
Justine Washington
The Watchmen
Muddy Waters
Jody Watley
Johnny “Guitar” Watson
The Weavers
The Dream Weavers
Ben Webster
We Five
George Wein
Lenny Welch
Lawrence Welk
Kitty Wells
Mae West
Barry White
Michael White
Slappy White
White Zombie
The Who
Kim Wilde
Don Williams
Jody Williams
John Williams
Larry Williams
Lenny Williams
Leona Williams
Paul Williams
Roger Williams
Sonny Boy Williamson
Walter Winchell
Kai Winding
Johnny Winter
Wishbone Ash
Jimmy Witherspoon
Howlin’ Wolf
Bobby Womack
Lee Ann Womack
Phil Woods
O.V. Wright
Bill Wyman
Rusty York
Faron Young
Neil Young
Young Black Teenagers
Y & T
Rob Zombie

Correction: June 26, 2019

An earlier version of this article misidentified an artist whose material UMG believed had been lost in the fire. The artist is Frankie Laine, not Frankie Lane.

Jody Rosen is a contributing writer for the magazine. His book about the history of the bicycle will be published in 2020.

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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