The Science and Art of Resurrecting Long-Gone Songs and Albums

Back in my university days, everyone in my gang was a fan of an Oklahoma power pop band called 20/20, especially a song called “Yellow Pills” from their 1979 self-titled debut. If this song were to be released today, it would sound every bit as fresh.

I had a vinyl copy of the album at one point, but it has long disappeared. In fact, there are a lot of songs and albums from that period that because they never made the transition to CD have seemingly been sucked into a black hole. The only hope we might have of recovering these memories is to spend a lot of time crate digging at record stores and shows.

Fortunately, we’ve seen the rise of a number of specialty labels devoted to re-issuing this long-lost material. Sourcing this material is one thing. Licensing it for a digital world is another. Making sure this music lives on is part archeology, part legal entanglements and entirely a labour of love. LA’s Real Gone is one of those labels and Loudr is a company that helps with licensing. Go here if you want to read how it all works.

Not only did I find my 20/20 record at Real Gone, but I found tons of lost soundtracks and collections, including a vinyl copy of The Return of the Living Dead soundtrack that someone nicked from me at a Halloween party back in the late 80s.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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