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Bryan Adams says original masters of big hits lost in Universal fire

Bryan Adams says original masters of big hits lost in Universal fire
Entertainment
Bryan Adams says the original masters of many of his biggest hits were likely destroyed in a 2008 fire at Universal Studios Hollywood, a blaze for which the extent of the damage has .

The Kingston, Ont.-born singer-songwriter is among hundreds of artists whose original master recordings, artwork and photography is believed to have perished in the massive fire that engulfed a part of the Hollywood backlot over a decade ago. The list includes a number of Canadian acts, including Joni Mitchell, Nelly Furtado and Rufus Wainwright.

Many of those musicians only learned recently of the damage through a report in The New York Times, after Universal downplayed the impact for years. Several acts, including Soundgarden and an estate representing Tupac Shakur, have sued, alleging that Universal failed to protect music ruined in the fire and inform them of the extent of its impact.

Universal suggested the Times “overstated” the losses, but the label’s CEO has said he owes the artists “transparency” and “answers” on the damage.

Adams says he only learned of the impact when he started plotting a 30th anniversary reissue of his No. 1 album Reckless six years ago.

He contacted the archival department of Universal Music Group, which stored the master tapes, artwork and videos for his album, which included the massive hits “Summer of ‘69” and “Heaven.” But he returned almost empty-handed when they couldn’t find copies.

Adams explained by email he eventually located a “safety copy” of the Reckless master at his vault in the Warehouse Studio in Vancouver, which led to a remastered edition of Reckless in 2014.

But he says he’s uncertain if master copies for his eight other studio albums at A&M, which was later acquired by Universal, still exist. Those projects would include Cuts Like a Knife and Waking Up the Neighbours.

Sheryl Crow, meanwhile. says the original tapes of albums such as Tuesday Night Music Club and the track “All I Wanna Do” perished in a 2008 fire at Universal Music Group.

Crow told the BBC Wednesday that her master tapes and back-ups were destroyed in the blaze and that she only discovered the loss after a New York Times report revealed the extent of the damage.

Crow says the fire “feels a little apocalyptic” and that she didn’t “understand the coverup.”
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