HOLLYWOOD—How unfortunate for Sheryl Crow, she says the original tapes of albums including “Tuesday Night Music Club” and “The Globe Sessions” went up in flames in a fire at Universal Studios. The singer, according to published reports, said “all her masters” were destroyed when an archive in Los Angeles burnt down in 2008.
She only discovered the loss this month, after her name was mentioned in a New York Times report that uncovered the extent of the damage. How can (back-up copies) be also in the vault? Crow, who had seven US top 10 albums between 1995 and 2008, is the first artist to confirm the loss of their recordings since the New York Times’ investigation was published two weeks ago.
It detailed how the fire, which was started by overnight maintenance work destroyed thousands of master tapes – the original recordings from which albums and singles are made – by some of the most famous names in music history, from Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry to Janet Jackson, Nirvana and Eminem.
Although the fire was widely reported at the time, Universal Music downplayed the damage to its archives, saying many of the affected tapes had duplicates in separate storage facilities. The company also disputed the New York Times’ investigation, citing unspecified “factual inaccuracies” in the reporting. Their head archivist, Patrick Kraus, later said the extent of the losses had been “overstated.”
According to Mr. Kraus, he said, “many of the masters that were highlighted [in the report] as destroyed, we actually have in our archives,” he told Billboard magazine. However, Crow, whose biggest hits include “All I Wanna Do” and “If It Makes You Happy,” confirmed her tapes had perished, taking with them dozens of alternate takes, demos and unreleased songs.
“There are many songs on my masters that haven’t come out,” she said. “My peace of mind in knowing I could come back someday and listen to them and mine those [sessions] for basement tapes and outtakes, are gone. But what grieves me more than any of that is the fact that Buddy Holly and Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington – all this important music has been erased. And it’s not just the music, it’s the dialogue between the music, it’s the takes that didn’t make it, it’s the versions we’ll never hear. It feels a little apocalyptic. Not to go down a weird path – but it feels like we’re slowly erasing things that matter.”
So will they sue? Well, a group of high-profile pop musicians are currently suing Universal Music for $100 million over the loss of their master recordings. The case was filed last week in Los Angeles by the rock bands Sound Garden and Hole, singer-songwriter Steve Earle, the estate of Tupac Shakur and a former wife of Tom Petty – who accuse Universal of breaching its contracts with artists by failing to properly protect their tapes. They are seeking class action status, which means other affected artists will be able to join the case at a later date.
Crow, who thus far, is not currently taking legal action. She will be appearing at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend. It’s her first return to Worthy Farm since 1997 – the infamous “year of the mud,” when torrential rain, its rumored, caused the Other Stage to start to sink into the ground. The star recalled arriving on site at 6:30 in the morning after driving through the night, “and just stepping into knee-deep mud.”
She laughed: “It was like, ‘Welcome to Glastonbury!’ “It was a great show, though. That’s the thing I remember about it the most. People were covered in mud. Lots of rain slickers and just a great line-up. I remember waiting for Van Morrison to come out, and I remember seeing Beck. Just a great day.” This time around, the singer will arrive prepared. “As soon as I’m done here, I’m getting ready to go and find some wellies,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Leave it to Cardi B, who has pleaded not guilty to assault following a fight at a New York strip club last year. The rapper and two members of her team have been charged with 12 crimes each including assault, harassment and conspiracy. Cardi, real name Belcalis Almanzar, is accused of ordering attacks on two bartenders on separate occasions. She and her co-defendants are expected to return to court in September.
If convicted they face up to four years in prison. Cardi B turned herself in to police last October following the alleged assaults, which took place at the Angels Gentleman’s Club in Queens. The bartenders who say they were attacked claim Cardi and her entourage threw glass bottles and alcohol at them, and one woman’s head was slammed into the bar. The alleged victims are sisters, and the incidents were reportedly triggered after Cardi accusing one of them of sleeping with her husband Offset. Tawana “RemyRojaLaPerla” Jackson-Morel, 36, and Jeffrey “AstonMartinChuck” Bush, 34, are Cardi’s co-defendants.
Bush is accused of filming an attack by a woman who hasn’t been arrested or charged, on August 15, 2018, as well as using his body to make sure nobody could intervene. According to the acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan, Cardi and Jackson-Morel coordinated the day, time, location and victims of both attacks over a social media platform.They also allegedly discussed money being exchanged for carrying out the assault.
All three defendants returned to the strip club on August 29, according to the prosecutors, and attacked the sister of the previous alleged victim. Jackson-Morel allegedly threw a cocktail into the 23-year-old woman’s face and Bush and Cardi B, as well as “several unapprehended others,” also threw drinks, glass bottles and various objects at the bartender, according to DA Ryan.
The victim suffered from “lacerations to her legs, bruising to her feet and the alcohol thrown in her face irritated her eyes,” the prosecutors say. Cardi B rejected a plea deal in April 2019 which would have seen her given a conditional discharge – escaping a prison sentence unless she committed a further offense. Her lawyer is confident she’ll be cleared. “The rest of the team and most importantly our client know that through this system, ultimately there will be a favorable outcome in favor of Cardi,” said Drew Findling. Cardi B’s not guilty plea comes a few days after she won best album and best female artist at the BET Awards, which follows on from winning Best Rap Album at the Grammys earlier this year.
Rose’s Scoop: “The Hills” is getting a lot of views. Another classic reality series may be coming back to life. “The Simple Life,” the series that followed socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as they worked low-paying jobs, may just have more life in it. Could Lindsay Lohan be in it?