According to a report in the New York Times Magazine, part of the lot damaged by the fire housed a warehouse used by Universal to store archival material, including a section that had been portioned off for use by Universal Music Group.
At the time, UMG disputed a report that thousands of masters had been damaged or destroyed. However, in confidential documents created in the wake of the fire and obtained by the New York Times, UMG’s internal estimates put the number of assets destroyed at 118,230. Rock classics stored as single masters were lost as well, including Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88,” Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley/I’m A Man,” Etta James’s “At Last,” the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” and the Impressions’ “People Get Ready.”
Contemporary losses include the recordings of Elton John, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden, Beck, and Eminem among numerous others.
Steely Dan’s material appears to be one of the fallen soldiers.
“We have been aware of ‘missing’ original Steely Dan tapes for a long time now,” Steely Dan manager Irving Azoff said in a statement. “We’ve never been given a plausible explanation. Maybe they burned up in the big fire. In any case, it’s certainly a lost treasure.”
Meanwhile, Nirvana member Krist Novoselic has noted that the masters of the group’s seminal album, Nevermind, may be lost.
Questlove, drummer for The Roots, also tweeted that the loss means the band cannot reissue its second and third studio albums.
For everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get reissue treatment https://t.co/Vs0ykRcyAK— Questlove De La Rose (@questlove) June 11, 2019
A representative for Hole has told Pitchfork that the band was “not aware until this morning that their music had been destroyed. Meanwhile, reps for REM are looking into the matter.
REMHQ is receiving inquiries from many people concerned about the New York Times article on the Universal Music fire 11 years ago. We are trying to get good information to find out what happened and the effect on the band’s music, if any. We will detail further as and when.— R.E.M. HQ (@remhq) June 11, 2019