Lost media, in this example music, is a term used to describe any kind of recording or publication intended for public release that is no longer accessible by the public.
This can be a result of many things, such as copies of the media being destroyed, ownership claims by private companies who wish to keep the product to themselves, or technological evolutions no longer supporting the media.
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On this list, we have found 5 examples of lost music by a variety of artists that we would someday love to be able to hear.
1. Carnival Of Light, The Beatles
Carnival Of Light is an unreleased single recorded by British band The Beatles, and was intended to be used at a festival called “The Million Volt Light And Sound Rave”.
Recorded at the same time as the overdubs for “Penny Lane” in December 1966, the track is said to be 13:48 minutes in length, which was way beyond the conventional song length at the time.
A small selection of people has heard the track, including Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn and Barry Miles, who has described the track as being “distorted, hypnotic drum and organ sounds, a distorted lead guitar, the sound of a church organ” alongside various sounds such as thumping, groaning and water gargling.
Paul McCartney is known to currently be in possession of the masters of this recording and has expressed his desire to one day release the track, however, this would require approval from Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, and Ringo, who make up the Beatles estate.
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2. Tracks From Heaven and Hell With Ozzy Osbourne’s Vocals, Black Sabbath
Despite now being the most infamous member of the metal band Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne was fired from the band back in 1979, after his heavy substance abuse made him unreliable and difficult to work with.
With album sales at an all-time low, the band hired Ronnie James Dio who helped the band gain popularity once again. Despite this, 2 songs for the band’s upcoming album Heaven And Hell had already been recorded with Ozzy’s vocals.
The songs “Children Of The Sea” and “Die Young” have never been released with Ozzy’s vocals, although two individuals have claimed to have copies of the original versions of the two songs.
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3. The Original Doll, Britney Spears
Back in 2005, Britney Spears is thought to have called staff at California-based radio station KIIS-FM, stating her desire to come to the studio and play some of her new music.
Initially, staff believed it had been a prank call, however, an hour later Britney showed up barefoot with her CD, and proceeded to play a track called “Mona Lisa”.
In a very brief interview after the song played, Britney spoke about soon releasing a new album called “The Original Doll”, which was intended to be a breakaway from the modern pop scene that the music business was so focused on at the time.
The album was never released, and only a rumored tracklisting has ever resurfaced, with “Mona Lisa”, receiving a revamp and re-release. The original version can be found online in low quality, however, the full album will likely never be released.
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4. Unreleased Demos by Frou Frou, Frou Frou
British electronic duo Frou Frou, made up of Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth only produced one album, “Details” in 2002 which was thought to be their only recording.
In 2013, it was discovered that the band had created another untitled album intended for internal distribution between record labels and management. The album itself contains drastically different demos of many songs released on the “Details” album, along with two other songs “Sane Again” and “Reprise”.
There are a few users of the CD-sharing site “Discogs” who have the CD in their possession, however, the tracks will likely remain unreleased at the desire of the band and their manager.
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5. Recordings Lost In The Universal Music Group Fire Of 2008
On the 1st of June 2008, a fire tore through Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California, destroying 3 acres of Universal land, including the King Kong Encounter attraction.
The fire took 12 hours to put out and tore through a warehouse containing over 500,000 original masters of songs from many artists. A full list of artists affected by the blaze can be found here, and includes B.B. King, Guns’N’Roses, Nirvana, Sting, and The Andrews Sisters.
This devastating loss of archived media tears a huge hole in the fabric of recorded music, with many of the affected artists now deceased, and some pursuing lawsuits for the loss of their art.
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The rediscovery of any of these examples of lost music would lead to immense joy in the lost media community, but as of current, it seems unlikely that we will ever be able to hear any of the music on this list.
Hopefully, in the future, lost music will not be a thing, with the rise of YouTube, Soundcloud, and Spotify providing a platform for all media to exist for good.