Welcome to the traditional SDE Reissue Preview for the year ahead! As usual we will start with the first few months of this year where we have confirmed releases and then move on to what we know/think/presume/hope will be reissued later in the year. Of course they’ll be plenty of things not covered, so please as well as offering your thoughts on reissues mentioned below, do chip in with forthcoming products you know about that SDE hasn’t mentioned! You can do this via the comments section.
- Suede / So Young 7″ picture disc
- 10cc / 20 Years 1972-1992 box set
- Go West / Dancing on the Couch reissue
- Paul McCartney & Wings / Band on the Run 50th anniversary
- UFO / Lights Out deluxe edition
- Sean Rowley presents Guilty Pleasures (vinyl & CD box sets)
- The Rolling Stones / 7″ Singles 1966-1971
- Suede / Stay Together 7″ picture disc
- Suede / Bloodsports 10th anniversary reissue
- Kim Wilde / Love Blonde: The RAK Years (4CD box)
- The Dream Academy / Religion, Revolution & Railways (7CD box)
- The Waterboys / 1985 (6CD box)
- Dead or Alive / Still Spinnin’ – The Singles Collection (CD box)
- Def Leppard / Diamond Star Halos SDE-exclusive blu-ray
- Bananarama / Glorious: The Ultimate Collection
- Sheryl Crow / Evolution (new album)
- Paul Young / No Parlez 40th anniversary with SDE blu-ray
April 2024 and Beyond
Despite the recently announced Band on the Run reissue, the last few years have been very frustrating for Paul McCartney and Wings fans. Yes, there has been product: The 50th anniversary half-speed vinyl editions, for example, the lavish and actually rather impressive 7” Singles box in a wooden crate, endless iterations of McCartney III but the fact remains that Archive Collection series, Paul’s “multi-year” reissue campaign that kicked off in 2010 with Band on the Run, has been effectively dormant since July 2020 when his 1997 album Flaming Pie was reissued. When you consider the re-release before that one (Wild Life / Red Rose Speedway) was released in December 2018, that means we’ve only had one proper reissue in the last five years.
While I do not think anyone has an issue with Paul prioritising new albums over archival projects – 2018’s Egypt Station and 2020’s McCartney III – it has gone well beyond that. Paul milked both albums to an excessive degree, particularly McCartney III with its endless vinyl iterations, the III Imagined release (which appeared literally months later), the McCartney vinyl and CD box sets, and now only three years down the line, a trio of third anniversary vinyl editions!
Add to that Paul’s newly found fascination with books, including the admittedly excellent The Lyrics tome, and there is a sense that he has rather gone off the idea of reissuing his old albums – including latter-day Wings long-players London Town and Back to the Egg. It’s not even a feeling; the evidence is there for all to see: any idea, any flight of fancy, any ‘why don’t we do this?’ gets prioritised above what was once a core interest. Consider that in the first two years of the Archive Collection series McCartney reissued FOUR albums (Band on the Run, McCartney, McCartney II and Ram). A hit rate of one every six months has turned into one every 3 or 4 years. The ever productive McCartney has not slowed down at all, but has either lost interest or just got distracted.
It has been so long that I have to conclude that we will finally see some activity in 2024. The sad news of Paul’s loyal bandmate Denny Laine dying last month must have surely have triggered some stirrings and affection for the good old days. One of the albums that hasn’t been reissued is London Town which, like Band on the Run, was produced by a three-piece Wings: just Paul, Denny and Linda. My money is on that album being next, perhaps with its follow-up, 1979’s Back to Egg reissued simultaneously.
Paul’s box sets have definitely got better over the years (if rather expensive), with more alternative mixes/demos on offer but he continues to have a habit of annoying his core fanbase with strange decisions. This started with the Flowers in the Dirt ‘download-only’ debacle of 2017 where key B-sides and remixes were not even included on CD within the deluxe box set, and continued with interesting demos – not included in the physical product – appearing as low quality MP3s on Paul’s website. In recent times, Paul has finally embraced spatial audio with a series of 50th anniversary Dolby Atmos Mixes but not offered them as a physical product, something which there is clearly demand for. If we do see London Town emerge in 2024 SDE would like a blu-ray included with an Atmos Mix.
There’s a good case for stating that John Lennon has eclipsed his old partner Paul with his own ongoing reissue campaign. When McCartney kicked off his Archive Collection series in 2010 there was, at the same time, a series of Lennon reissues which rather lacked ambition. Decent remasters of the studio albums (and an accompanying Signature box set) along with a couple of different compilations (Gimme Some Truth and Power to the People) were okay… but it was a career overview, rather than a deep dive. Paul’s Band on the Run deluxe edition wasn’t perfect when it came to audio, but the book was excellent, but it felt high quality and ‘deluxe’ and was reasonably priced at the time.
Fast forward to 2018 and the 4CD+2xblu-ray deluxe edition of John Lennon’s Imagine delivered in every way, particularly with a forensic and comprehensive look at the audio. New ‘Ultimate Mixes’ were offered in stereo and 5.1 surround. There were ‘Element Mixes’ which isolated specific elements of a track (sometimes previously unheard contributions), Extended Album Versions, Outtakes, ‘Evolution Mixes’ which tracked the development of a song in the studio, and even the original Quad Mix. Virtually everything was offered in surround sound via the two blu-ray audios. Frankly, this blew any of Paul’s deluxe editions to that point out of the water (he’d released nine, with 2017’s Flowers in the Dirt being the latest at the time). The books with the Lennon deluxe sets matched McCartney’s and had the courtesy to not be so intricate and lavish as to cost a fortune. Imagine was around the £60 mark with its four CDs and two blu-rays. McCartney withheld a CD of audio from the 3CD+DVD Flowers in the Dirt deluxe edition and still managed to charge £125 for it!
This quality with John Lennon has continued with similar packages for 1970’s Plastic Ono Band and the Gimme Some Truth set of 2020. Admittedly, it hasn’t been plain sailing with these either, with Plastic Ono Band delayed until 2021 for the more crowd-pleasing ‘best of’ and nothing since then thanks to some hesitation over Some Time In New York City which was apparently done, but mothballed, for the time being at least, to make way for a Mind Games deluxe edition which is confirmed for July 2024. The Mind Games deluxe will feature six CDs and two blu-rays which is the same as the Plastic Ono Band set. The now familiar accompanying book is already available to pre-order.
There was a time when Apple and Universal could do no wrong with Beatles reissues. 2017’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was deservedly well received, as was ‘The White Album’ in 2018. Abbey Road got decent notices and had the first Dolby Atmos Mix released physically but it all started to go a little bit awry around the time of Let It Be, in 2021. With Disney heavily invested in Peter Jackson’s The Beatles Get Back documentary, the tail started wagging the dog. Not only did the box set arrive a year late, the triumphant denouement of those three weeks in Twickenham Studios and then Savile Row – the Rooftop Concert – was almost entirely missing from the Let It Be box set, one presumes due to contractual reasons.
A year later, when The Beatles’ 1966 masterpiece Revolver was reissued there was no blu-ray included which meant unlike the three deluxe sets before it, Revolver had no Dolby Atmos of 5.1 version available as part of a physical product. Apple and Universal shrugged it off and tried to keep their head down, but fans were astounded at this major omission and assumed it would be corrected at some point with a standalone blu-ray. That never happened.
This year Rubber Soul was widely expected but Paul’s interest in reviving the mid-90s attempt to make a Beatles recording of John Lennon’s ‘Now and Then’ threw a spanner in the works. Unwilling to simply release it as a standalone single (not profitable enough!) it was decided that ‘Now and Then’ would be grafted on to the 1967-1970 (‘Blue’) compilation from 1973. Of course releasing ‘Blue’ on its own didn’t make much sense, so the 1962-1966 (‘Red’) best of was also reissued with both rebooted to include extra selections.
The whole thing was a bit of a mess. From the makes-no-sense inclusion of a 1977/1996/2022 track on a compilation that purportedly ‘ends’ at 1970 to the inconsistent treatment of the new selections on CD and vinyl. It also missed out two of the Fab Four’s singles (Free As A Bird and Real Love) for no good reason and to top it all off the 3LP sets were extraordinarily expensive. The most interesting element – Giles Martin’s Dolby Atmos Mixes – were for the second time of asking not included in a physical product, with Apple and Universal apparently ignoring – or not caring – about the significant complaints when the same treatment was afforded the spatial audio mix of Revolver.
There is an assumption that in 2024 we will finally get the Rubber Soul deluxe set but the decision making of the last few years has to be questioned and Apple and Universal Music need to go back-to-basics and ensure that fans are offered a generous selection of outtakes paired with a blu-ray featuring a spatial audio version of the album.
BMG have done a great job at getting ‘mid-period’ Duran Duran back into the marketplace, including albums such as Medazzaland, Pop Trash, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre and All You Need Is Now. The label had actually promised a Medazzaland box for this year, which obviously never happened and Nick Rhodes is on record as talking about a 40th anniversary anthology which seems to be a vague aspiration rather than a set of specific product plans.
The issue is more with the Warner-owned output; the ‘classic era’, if you will. Rio’s 40th birthday came and went in 2022 with no activity barring the odd tweet and in 2023 the 40th and 30th anniversaries of Seven and the Ragged Tiger and ‘The Wedding Album’ respectively also came and went with no physical product to mark the occasion. Barring a 2CD set in 1994, ‘The Wedding Album’ has never been reissued at all; quite remarkable for such a successful and important album for Duran Duran. The good news is that someone called David Hughes posted on Twitter/’X’ alternative BlueSky in October that he was “working with Duran Duran/Warner” on a super deluxe reissue of ‘The Wedding Album’ that has been “delayed twice”. He says “if it all comes together it’ll be something special”.
With Duran Duran the suspicion is always that they are more focused on the here-and-now than the past. So touring remains a key pursuit and as does working on “the new album”. If neither of those things is happening then they have a predilection for material that they own and control which is perhaps why, for them, Medezzaland is a higher priority than Rio, and Pop Trash might be more interesting for than Seven and the Ragged Tiger. This might not align with what fans want, but it’s probably the reality.
With Danse Macabre having been released this year, there’s clearly not going to be any new material in 2024, so perhaps we will get a Medazzland box set or given that message from David Hughes, a ‘Wedding Album’ one. But be warned, the band were working with Warner Music a decade ago on a ‘Wedding album’ reissue and the project failed to reach fruition due to creative differences.
It is now 26 months since Warner Music Group excitedly announced “a career-spanning partnership” with Madonna that will see a “multi-year catalog series”. Number of studio albums reissued since that announcement? Zero! We’ve had bits and bobs: ‘Erotica’ picture discs, Record Store Day releases that feature remixes of tracks from American Life, and most notably Finally Enough Love the mildly interesting best of/remix collection from 2022. The sloth-like pace has been frustrating. Madonna and Warners have been guilty of playing with their food and they need to get stuck in. They shouldn’t have missed the 40th anniversary of Madonna’s debut album but surely this will finally emerge in 2024. Only when we get an album box set can we judge the campaign and ascertain if “personally curated by Madonna” is a warning or a recommendation.
Other artists and activity
2024 is a big year for reissues because it’s the anniversary of such strong years for music. First and foremost 2024 is the 40th anniversary of 1984, for this writer the best year in pop, and that – potentially – means we could get all sorts of favourites reissued. It was the year of Frankie Goes To Hollywood who enjoyed three number one singles in ’84 and their chart-topping debut album Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Of course ‘things’ are happening with Frankie what with their Eurovision Song Contest reunion last year. This has led to rumours of a full blown reunion tour. Also, Universal Music bought the ZTT catalogue ages ago and the fruits so far have been relatively modest, with Record Store Day product, ‘vanilla’ album reissues and the FGTH Essential compilation. All this means it’s reasonable to expect Frankie archival activity in 2024.
Nik Kershaw’s two albums from 1984 (Human Racing and The Riddle) got decent 2CD reissues in 2012 and 2013 but that was a decade ago and not a lot has happened since. The good news is that an 9CD+2DVD MCA Years box will be released in 2024 which covers the first four albums (up to The Works) with a comprehensive round up of long-players, remixes, b-sides, live tracks and more. This will be similar to the Level 42 or Swing Out Sister sets (talking of SOS, there will be another Swing Out Sister box set too).
We can expect some 5.1 / Atmos Mixes from Howard Jones and Lloyd Cole and the Commotions’ Rattlesnakes was another great album from 1984 but I doubt we’ll get any reissues of that record, especially since this period was well covered in the 2015 and 2020 Collected Recordings CD and vinyl box sets. Lloyd spent last year working on his latest album On Pain, but now that is out it clears the decks for the delayed reissue of his 2003 album Music in a Foreign Language. It has been remastered and will include a 10-track bonus album of Lloyd’s rough mixes before other musicians were brought in. According to LC it’s “quite different” to the final version.
Ultravox’s Lament album is another from 1984 and Chrysalis excellent deluxe campaign will continue with a 40th anniversary edition and after Sony delivered the Echoes From The Edge Of Heaven singles box and fans enjoyed ‘Last Christmas’ spending a month at number one over the festive period, there should be some further Wham! activity in 2024 since 1984 was of course the year that George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley ‘made it big’ and, like Frankie, enjoyed three number one singles: ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, ‘Careless Whisper’ and ‘Freedom’.
Suede’s 1994 masterpiece Dog Man Star is 30 years old this year, so an anniversary edition which mirrors the Suede reissue from last year would be most welcome, although as always the availability of multi-track tapes for spatial audio is always an issue. We shall see how things develop.
The Thompson Twins had their biggest album, Into The Gap, in 1984, but for reasons unknown there has been zero activity with this group for years. The last significant archival activity was the SDE-curated ‘Remixes and Rarities’ compilation from 2013 and I’d be surprised if we see anything this year. Tom Bailey continues to enjoy touring though and will be on the road in America next year.
David Bowie’s prolificacy in the early 1970s mean Warners are struggling to keep up with the reissues. The excellent Divine Symmetry Hunky Dory box came out in November 2022, which was a year late for the 50 anniversary. Today, we’ve just had the announcement of the RSD Bowie release and this all but confirms that a Ziggy Stardust deluxe set similar to Divine Symmetry should emerge in 2024 and when it does, that will be two years late in terms of the 50th anniversary. Diamonds Dogs is the album that is actually 50 years old in 2024 but aside from maybe a picture disc, nothing much will happen with that album (which is an SDE favourite).
Police fans have good reason to be frustrated since the band (e.g. Sting) has been unwilling to dive into the vaults and offer anything at all and all these years later none of the band’s five albums has ever been expanded for a CD box set. Andy Summers told SDE over two years ago that “a four-disc version of Regatta de Blanc is coming” which got us excited but, somewhat predictably, nothing has happened. From what SDE understands this has been abandoned for a belated 40th anniversary version of 1983’s Synchronicity which could run to as much as six CDs! We could be going from famine to feast – let’s wait and see.
The ongoing Toyah reissue campaign will likely continue this year Love is the Law, her last Safari album (and the last record before she became a solo artist) but I doubt we’ll see any more big super deluxe box sets.
In 2024 it will be seven years since INXS‘s Kick album was reissued (for the second time of asking) as an excellent 2CD+blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos Mix. Shockingly, since then, we still haven’t had any other INXS album expanded and reissued as a physical product. The death of Chris Murphy, the band’s manager, in 2021 was a terrible blow but let’s not forget that INXS issued 10 albums in the original era and this obsession with Kick is becoming very tiresome. The Swing album was released in 1984 – featuring the Nile Rodgers-produced Original Sin – so it’s the perfect time for a 40th anniversary edition, although I get the feeling 1993’s Welcome to Wherever You Are might be top of most fans’ reissue wishlist.
The Killers‘ classic 2004 debut Hot Fuss is 20 years old this year and you’d hope that there would be some activity around that and another album released in the same year, Keane’s Hopes and Fears has been confirmed for a 20th anniversary reissue around May time.
There was talk of Kate Bush delivering another vinyl version of The Dreaming, just like she did for the somewhat underwhelming Baskerville Edition of Hounds of Love but fans will be thinking it must be time for a new album. Kate has just quietly broken her own record of 12 years between consecutive studio albums (1993’s The Red Shoes and 2005’s Aerial). It is now longer than that since she issued 50 Words For Snow (in November 2011).
BMG should be continuing their pretty good Bryan Ferry reissue campaign and his debut on Virgin, Bête Noire, would seem a likely contender. Talking of which, we are still waiting for Roxy Music’s second album, For Your Pleasure, to be reissued and this year will be eight years since their debut was released as a deluxe box set! I doubt we’ll see anything this year, to be honest (this year is actually the 50th anniversary of their fourth studio album, Country Life).
Elton John’s wonderful 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road missed its 50th anniversary last year and while the worldonly seems to have ears for Diamonds these days, I still think we’ll see a belated reissue of the 1973 album, especially since the 30th anniversary box set (also issued a year late in 2014) was somewhat lacking in ambition.
Things are quiet at the moment in terms of Tears For Fears but we know Steven Wilson has done an as yet unreleased Atmos Mix of the band’s 1989 album The Seeds of Love and after the success of the SDE-exclusive Hurting blu-ray last year, fans will be hoping we can follow this up with some further offerings. Watch this space.
There was a big effort and push with Prince last year and Diamonds and Pearls but that was a long time coming and we will need to wait and see what’s in store during 2024. In its 40th anniversary year, fans are hoping they might do Purple Rain ‘properly’ since the 2017 3CD+DVD now looks paper thin compared to the lavish releases that have followed. A straw poll would probably confirm Parade as the album that most people would like to see reissued. With rights split between Sony and Warners there will undoubtedly be activity this year, but another mega campaign like Sign O’ The Times or Diamonds and Pearls feels unlikely at this point in time.