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SDE’s 10 best box sets of 2017

“Another year over and a new one just begun”. Lots of great albums have been reissued in 2017, but a good album doesn’t always guarantee an excellent reissue, or box set. More often than not, when box sets are reviewed in the so-called ‘mainstream media’ you get 1500 words on how great the album is and two lines at the end ‘summarising’ what’s in the box! This blog tends towards the opposite, taking into account what the box set delivers music fans. Are all the commercially released remixes and B-sides present and correct? Has anyone made any effort to dig out demos or unreleased material? Is the presentation well thought out or slap dash? Has that old 5.1 surround mix, that now only exists on some out-of-print format, been retrieved for use in the new reissue? These are the kinds of questions we like to ask. With that in mind, here are – in no particular order – SDE’s ten favourite box sets and reissues of 2017, as chosen by Editor Paul Sinclair….

RELEASED: June 2017
The fact that this Prince Purple Rain deluxe set even exists, probably earns it a place in the SDE ‘best of’ list for 2017. We were promised it years ago, then when Prince died last year, many fans thought that was it – the catalogue and ‘vault’ would be inaccessible for a long time, while legal wrangles with the estate would continue for an eternity. However, the 4EVER compilation emerged at the end of 2016 and with it the promise of an expanded Purple Rain for 2017. Warners didn’t quite deliver on their initial promise of “two incredible albums of previously unreleased Prince music and two complete concert films” but that was mostly forgiven/forgotten when fans realised that Purple Rain would still deliver more than most realistically expected – it would be a four-disc set that would include a Prince-approved remaster (from 2015); ALL the remixes, single edits and B-sides; a complete disc of unreleased songs (such as Dance Electric, Wonderful Ass and Velvet Kitty Cat) and a DVD featuring a stunning live performance from early 1985, at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY. The whole package is quite brilliant. Prince was clearly a very hard individual to get hold of and negotiate with when he was alive, so getting this out in the aftermath of the man’s tragic death was a stunning achievement by the record company. The relatively modest packaging in all likelihood was more about making the path to release as simple as possible. As soon as you introduce complicated packaging, you get into bespoke tooling at the manufacturing stage and the risk of time-consuming complications. Further delays to the deluxe Purple Rain could have threatened the whole project. Keeping things simple mitigated those risks and had the welcome bonus of keeping this affordable (it’s only £12 at the time of writing on Amazon UK!).

Read more about the Purple Rain deluxe edition.


Marillion / Misplaced Childhood 5-disc deluxe edition

RELEASED: July 2017
On the face of it, the 1998 two-CD deluxe edition of Marillion‘s 1985 album seemed to be fairly comprehensive, offering the album, B-sides and alternative mixes and demos. However, this 2017 4CD+blu-ray deluxe edition raises the bar considerably. That content is repeated (and remastered) but is augmented with two discs of Live at Utrecht (which includes the album performed live in its entirety) and a Steven Wilson 5.1 surround mix on a blu-ray audio disc. A new and brilliant documentary on that same disc and the 60-page booklet, the beautifully presented bookset packaging, make this an almost perfect reissue of a favourite album. And it was only around £25. Seeing producer Chris Kimsey this year (at a public event) talk in detail about the recording in Hansa Studios in Berlin – and go through some of the multi-tracks on his laptop – made me love the whole thing even more.

Read more about Misplaced Childhood


RELEASED: November 2017
Since 2013 Andy Partridge (and his APE label) has been a fine custodian of XTC reissues. Every year without fail, an album from the band’s back catalogue has been reissued as a CD+blu-ray set. If we’re honest, the packaging is fairly perfunctory, but it’s the depth and breadth of content, coupled with the remarkably low price, that make these an essential purchase for fans and the curious alike. Each set includes a new stereo remix by XTC fan and friend of Partridge Steven Wilson, along with a 5.1 surround mix, which normally goes beyond ‘just’ the album and takes in additional tracks. That’s only the start. You will normally get to enjoy instrumentals, demos, the original mix, video footage (often featuring the band in the studio) and much more. 1980’s Black Sea continues the good work and easily earns it place in the SDE list of one of the best reissues of 2017. Roland Orzabal from Tears For Fears reviewed the reissue for this blog just last month.

Read more about XTC’s Black Sea.


Lloyd Cole in New York: Collected Recordings 1988-1996

RELEASED: March 2017
Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’ Collected Recordings box from 2015 was an excellent package, but while Lloyd Cole‘s work with The Commotions is reasonably well known (particularly 1984’s Rattlesnakes) his solo career somehow failed to catch the public’s imagination in quite the same way. It’s hard to fathom why. 1990’s well promoted Lloyd Cole had a rocky, confident New York swagger, the Raymond Carver name-checking Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe (from ’91) hedged its bets with a poppy side and a lush orchestral suite (both were great) and although 1993’s Bad Vibes exhibited a slightly wearisome what-do-I-have-to-do-to-get-a-break quality, it contains one of his very best songs in So You’d Like To Save The World. Four albums in and the break came, although when 1995’s Like Lovers Do (from Love Song) was a modest hit in the UK (supported by DJ Chris Evans on Radio 1), this success was a blip and not a long term turning of the commercial tide. The Lloyd Cole in New York box set was put together by the man himself and brings all four of these fine records together, along with an unreleased album Smile If You Want To and a hardcover book where the narrative outlined above, is explored in some depth. The sixth demos CD is good enough to warrant more than one or two plays out of curiosity. Interestingly, a few days ago Lloyd posted on Facebook that Universal have no more Commotions box sets left and that they’ve almost run out of this Lloyd Cole in New York package. It’s not known yet whether there will be another production run. Lloyd said he will ask them to “once I connect with the person who replaced the product manager I dealt with who was subsequently fired, but I’ve no idea if they will listen to me.”

Read more about Lloyd Cole in New York


RELEASED: May 2017
Take note Tears For Fears and Universal Music, this is how you ‘do’ a greatest hits. Lovely Creatures: The Best of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (1984-2014) is just so good, on so many levels that it puts most other efforts to shame. For a start, there were four different physical editions, tailored to different budgets and preferences (vinyl or CD) and the attention to detail – along with the obvious engagement of the artist – is what impressed most. The 3CD+DVD deluxe edition would have satisfied the most finicky of fans – issued in hardcover bookset format with 45 audio tracks and a DVD packed with live performances across the band’s career – but record label BMG, in association with Nick Cave and the band, went above and beyond the call of duty to create a beautiful and tactile super deluxe edition featuring the same discs. The super deluxe was stunning. The typography and iconography was spot on. The four discs were stored in a ten-panel fold-wallet which featured a paper booklet with full track listing/credits. This folio/wallet slotted into the outer slipcase next to a tour-de-force 256-page hardcover book, with what I described at the time as a ‘crazy’ amount of content. Endless photos, and text to guide you through 30 years of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds history. As you flicked through ‘bits’ would fall out; doodles, photos, film cells, stickers, facsimile ticket stubs and more. Stunning… and easily available for less than £40 at the time.

Read more about Lovely Creatures: The Best Of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


The Beatles / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th anniversary six-disc super deluxe edition box set

 

RELEASED: June 2017
Apple/Universal’s first expanded box set devoted to one Beatles album could easily have fallen into the trap of complacency and taken fans’ interest and enthusiasm as a given – particularly when the album is 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. However, they took nothing for granted and arguably delivered much more than anyone had the right to expect, what was in the words of this blog, a ‘dream box set’. Not only did Giles Martin and Sam Okell create a 5.1 surround mix (included on blu-ray/DVD) they created a brand new stereo mix for the main CD inspired by the authenticity and power of the original mono version. Does anyone ever get bored of hearing The Beatles at work in Abbey Road in the 1960s? Chatter, advice between band members, giggling, those early exploratory takes… It’s all fantastic stuff and so much better than those crappy bootleg tapes I used to buy at Camden market in the 1980s! Two further CDs are full of this kind of thing – a plethora of outtakes, delivering 33 additional recordings and the original mono mix included on a further disc (with six bonus tracks). The blu-ray/DVD contains promos and a restored documentary, while the 144-page book actually informs and educates, and doesn’t just cobble together some pretty images (as is often the case). The posters, inserts, tape-box style packaging and lenticular sleeve finish things off nicely. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Read more about the Sgt. Pepper box set


RELEASED: March 2017
Something I never thought would happen would be Fleetwood Mac approving all those very ‘of the time’ extended and dub mixes issue on the singles from their 1987 album. Most ‘serious’ artists might seriously consider vetoing the ‘bonus beats’ mix of an old single, but to their credit Fleetwood Mac didn’t do this for this year’s reissue of Tango in the Night, which says something about the health of the relationship between the band and their record label. FM either understand the marketplace for box sets very well, or more likely they trust the record company and let them get on with delivering what their fans want. This 3CD+DVD+LP set was superb and gave us a remastered version of the album (also included in hi-res on the DVD), a fantastic disc of demos and early versions, all the aforementioned remixes and a vinyl record of the album. The only major omission was the lack of a 5.1 surround mix, but the price point of around £50 which cheap enough for most to focus on the many positive aspects of this long desired box set.

Read more about Tango in the Night.


RELEASED: July 2017
Probably because much of his own work is unavailable (or hard to find) on CD, Eric Stewart‘s solo career is something that had largely passed me by. For this new Anthology Stewart himself went through all his recordings – from the 1980 Girls album to 2009’s Viva La Difference – and has put together a two-CD set which boast 31 tracks (some are solo tracks he contributed to 10cc albums Mirror Mirror and Ten Out Of Ten). He remixed recordings where he felt it necessary and came up with a running order that is neither chronological nor bothers to even group tracks from the same album together! It works beautifully and I played this to death in the summer months of 2017. Stewart has everything. A brilliant musician, his songwriting chops are matched only by his production skills – everything sounds great and there are some wonderful arrangements, styles and rhythms on show. His lyrics are spot on too – full of wit and humanity. I would love to live in a world where sets like these make it to the higher reaches of the chart. Highly recommended.

Read more about Eric Stewart’s Anthology.


Wet Wet Wet / "Popped in Souled Out" super deluxe edition

RELEASED: September 2017
This five-disc super deluxe edition of Wet Wet Wet‘s massively popular debut Popped In Souled Out is a superb exploration of the 1987 album. The large format bookset offers a remastered version of the album, all the B-sides/remixes, an expanded ‘Memphis Sessions’ (recorded before the album, but released after) and masses of unreleased demos. The 72-page book delivered some brilliant notes that brought to life the five or so years before the band became famous and DVD offers promos, TV appearances and more. Frontman Marti Pellow didn’t read the reissue script and upped and left the band before this anniversary set was even released. Graeme Clark spoken confidently in my interview about a possible Pellow-free future for Wet Wet Wet, but his absence from promotional duties undoubtedly hurt this set’s commercial performance.

Read more about Popped In Souled Out


David Bowie / A New Careeer In A New Town 1977-1982 / 11CD box

RELEASED: September 2017
David Bowie‘s late seventies period – which saw him working in France, Berlin, Switzerland and New York – delivered four studio albums that might be career highs for other acts. Low, Heroes, Lodger and Scary Monsters and Super Creeps were released in fairly quick succession between 1977 and 1980 (live album Stage was issued between Heroes and Lodger) and were all produced by Tony Visconti. A New Career In A New Town – the third major David Bowie box in as many years – brings all of these albums together in excellent mini-LP CD ‘vinyl replica’ packaging and offers some bonus material including a new remix of Lodger and the Re:Call 3 ‘odds and sods’ compilation. The controversy over the title track of “Heroes” was a bit of a disaster for Parlophone, but they are now issuing replacement CDs and vinyl records, and the majority of fans are satisfied. It’s frustrating that 5.1 mixes and unreleased material from the archive has been deemed out of scope for this series of box sets but these albums are all but essential for serious music fans and everything is superbly presented.

Read more about A New Career In A New Town

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Kauwgompie

I have been listening to all the discs of the newly released Pet Shop Boys “Further Listening” series (bought them all) and they definitely deserve a mention in the best reissues of 2017. You could argue that the 3cd releases are boxsets but aside from that, the music is stunningly good. The bonus discs are stuffed with outstanding demo’s of never released songs, regular unreleased songs, b-sides and remixes. And almost every single song is top quality. They could have released each album as a double album without losing any quality. Stunning really. I always thought Prince was the artist with a vault full of incredible music but the Pet Shop Boys are incredible. If these are their rejects, I wonder what else is in their vault. Many artist would kill to release a regular album with their rejects. I knew PSB were good, but this even surprises me.

Frank

Is the 5-disc set with 5.1 on blu-ray (in Europe) OOP …?

Frank

Happy new year – and the misssing details… I’m refering to Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood Deluxe …

DeCav

Happy new year Paul, had some great bargains in 2017 thanks to SDE, hope the same for 2018. Some of my favourites for 2017 in the above, but also enjoyed :
– At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight – lovely box set with original live radio recordings from the late 40s to early 60s Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis and loads of others on 25cd
– The Grateful Dead Get Shown the light (the May 1977 gigs)
– American Epic, all the music that was featured on the documentary with that name shown on BBC4 – curated by Jack White,a rare TV highlight for me in 2017 and some truly great music

Thanks for a great website.

oystein

Both the post and comments serve as a reminder of the different box sets of the year. I think it’s been an interesting year for reissues, with more and more labels learning how to do it right; many box sets were bot lavish of presentation and had mandatory bonus tracks.

Paul, do you have any idea how many SDE’s you’ve reviewed or presented this year?

wayne

I wouldn’t have included the Bowie boxed set with botched remaster (Heroes) and another that is horribly compressed (Low) and yet another that had some digital imperfections. I think that by itself should have disqualified it.

Julian H

“almost perfect reissue”

I stumbled across these words… what isn’t perfect about the Marillion set?!

Other contenders: Songs from the Wood as mentioned and Gary Moore “Blues and Beyond”.

Klaus

“What isn’t perfect about the Marillion set?!”

No vinyl, no tote bag, no marbles, no “M”-sized T-shirt, no “Meet And Greet” with the band members, shall i go on? :-)))

Julian H

Save marbles for a reissue of “Marbles” ;-)

(It is actually more perfect than some of the box sets Paul has worked on because it includes lyrics! ;-))

Greg

Klaus: start with ‘Phase IV’; it’s brilliant.

Dan

No love for the beautiful Debbie Gibson box set?

Larry Davis

I got it and listed it…it is a beautiful piece indeed…i think Edsel/Demon learned some stuff from the Dead Or Alive debacle…I actually bought it as a risk because I hadn’t kept up with her career after “Electric Youth” and hadn’t heard those first 2 albums in decades…so I bought a signed one, it came, I checked it over, put it on and held on for the ride…some got me afraid… The R&B period because it wasn’t exactly my thing at first… But hearing it all and watching the DVDs and reading the interview, and seeing the big picture… Plus the fact she is local and got quite hot/sexual…it was a risk that really paid off for me…

Greg

Best of the year? KC’s ‘Sailors’ Tales’ – at least in terms of content, quality, quantity and price. Next year’s (hopefully) inevitable ‘ConstruKction Of Light/ProjeKcts’ box set can’t get here soon enough.

Coming in at a close second? Art Zoyd’s ’44 1/2.’ Just stunning.

Klaus

Hi Greg,

never heard of Art Zoyd before, so obviously won’t pay EUR 200 for the box, but what would you (other readers opinions obviously welcome) suggest to start with if you don’t know anything of their records yet?

Steven Roberts

To my mind, a deluxe reissue isn’t ‘super’ without a surround mix.

So my Top 5.1(!), in no particular order:-

Jethro Tull – Songs from the Wood
Marillion – Misplaced Childhood
INXS – Kick
XTC – Black Sea
Alan Parsons – Eye in the Sky

Mathew Lauren

Touché.

David Carroll

My 10 , in no particular order…as follows
1) THE BEACH BOYS – 1967 SUNSHINE TOMORROW
2)DAVID BOWIE – A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN
3) LOOKING FORWARD -THE ROOTS OF BIG STAR
4) DELANEY AND BONNIE – MOTEL SHOT deluxe
5)PP ARNOLD – THE TURNING TIDE
6) THE CREATION -ACTION PAINTING
7) INXS -KICK 30
8) ISAAC HAYES – THE SPIRIT OF MEMPHIS box
9) PRINCE- PURPLE RAIN deluxed. ..More please !!!!
10) GOTTA GET UP THE SONGS OF HARRY NILSSON / TO LOVE SOMEBODY THE SONGS OF THE BEE GEES
& the DELANEY AND BONNIE & FRIENDS ON TOUR WITH ERIC CLAPTON box set reissued at a cheap price !!!

Steven

Thanks for the great article. And the comments are good too!

Eamonn

Hey, try the fish!

Larry Davis

One other thing…that Beatle box IS nice BUT kinda underwhelming…the packaging, aside from the outer 3D cover and tape box replica, is kinda plain, not extravagant enough… The BOOK is nice and heavy and full of stuff, and the poster, etc…but the sessions discs were not full, the mono disc is useless next to the new stereo-of-the-mono mix…and it’s nice to have a DVD and Blu-ray of the same visuals…coulda been better though…and i do wanna check out those 10cc related sets…the XTC of their time really…

Larry Davis

For me, of the reissues/boxsets I acquired this year, my faves are Sweet (my #1 pick), Debbie Gibson, XTC, Prince, Mac Tango and the Pet Shop Boys…haven’t gotten the Bowie, Def Leppard, Golden Earring and 2 Midnight Oil tank sets yet or the George Michael and Elton John sets yet but want them all…the Whitesnake 1987 30th anniversary SDE was a real surprise…my 2 biggest disappointments were the Who Maximum A’s and B’s (I HATE single edits that cut into a song’s integrity, like “You Better You Bet” without that cool tictoc intro and the 2nd verse removed…and um “Won’t Get Fooled Again”…as well as US hits missing like “Behind Blue Eyes”… Yes I know, UK singles only, but there really shoulda been a 6th disc of hits/singles outside the UK as well) and Kraftwerk 3D Catalogue (not the full albums so I seriously felt cheated (oh I want that Sex Pistols set and 2 Ramones sets)…

Klaus

It’s kinda useless to buy The Who’s Maximum A’s & B’s and then dis it for including the singles versions don’t you think?
If you’re lucky though they might think that there’s a market for The US A’s & B’s as well and will release a box of these on their 55th anniversary.
For me this box was one of the biggest (positive) surprises of the years although i still don’t own it. I thought buying the Who Hits 50-sampler was all of them i needed but listened then via streaming to the box and was really astonished of what quality even the flip-sides were.
Btw that’s one of the upsides of streaming i think: Checking out releases you don’t know or are not sure about before considering buying them. Also great about streaming is that it gives you the possibility to listen to box sets you missed out before they’re deleted, like for instance the 10-cd-set by The Triffids or the 19-cd-set by Sandy Denny (maybe should transfer these last two sentences to the commentary-section of the “How streaming kept Last Christmas from finally reaching No. 1 on the British Singles charts”-article ;-)) ).

Larry Davis

To be honest, I had The Who Hits 50 double, which was great at the time, then saw Max A’s & B’s and simply thought it was just an expanded version of it with the same versions, not edits…nope…and the price I got it for was a rare open window just that moment, so I had to jump at it…was disappointed when I put it on…the box is a tad too plain as well…

Bobbyjean

The beatles white album deluxe is coming 2018

Andy

Oooo – Day one purchase on that.

Kauwgompie

I would put “Urban Hymnes” in the top 10 for sure. 5CD/1DVD, incredible value; all the b-sides, live stuff, mixes and alternative versions for a very decent price.
I would take the Bowie box out. The sound got messed up and some of the Ryko bonus tracks are not in the box. I’m struggling to see the value of that box, especially if you already have all the Ryko CD’s like I do. I was close to pulling the trigger with the 3 for 2 promo but ultimately couldn’t do it. I already have it all so why pay for a box I already have, more or less.
I also would put the INXS “Kick” box in the top 10. It finally has all the period mixes and even an Atmos mix for a very decent price.

Kudos for putting Lloyd Cole in NY in the top 10. Great music and value!! The Brett Anderson box isn’t bad either. Also comprehensive and low price.

The lemon price would go out to the Eagles “Hotel California” box set. Ridiculous price. Second place is “Flowers In The Dirt”. May be that was released last year. Can’t remember. But what a mess with those ridiculous downloads and 3 books or so. I was able to get it at a decent price but regret even buying at at a decent price.

Lastly, Paul, Happy New Year!! What an amazing blog you run. I catch it every day several times. Pls give us more of the same!!

Andy

Rush’s 2112: 40th-Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition was a good one (only if you waited for the price to dip).

Sami

No love for Metallica’s great boxset of milestone album “Master Of Puppets”?
I think it was the best of the year, other favorites were Nick Cave, David Bowie, David Gilmour, Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson..

Tony Payne

Hi Paul – thanks for all the hard work – invaluable reference.

As someone who only buys Vinyl I always feel a little cheated by box sets on the whole. The cd versions are usually cheaper and have much more content. Usually the vinyl version just gets a remix and in many cases the original mix sounds better than the new…. I’d have loved to get vinyl versions of the unreleased Purple Rain and Nick Cabe tracks.

How about an article on sets that are expected in the coming year?

Robert

I will be looking forward to see this preview of 2018 !

Stephen DC

Thank you [x1000] for the Prince Purple Rain Deluxe alert at Amazon. Mine should be here any moment.

Andy P

Donald Fagen – Cheap Xmas: not particulaly an SDE, but nevertheless a well presented box.
HMV had this on offer at £14.99 – sold out online but I found one at my local store. Well worth seeking out at that price!
My vote for box of the year goes to the Bear Family ‘ Louisiana Hayride’ box – 20 CDs of historic content and a beautiful hardback book. Of limited appeal, but certainly qualifies for super deluxe. Of more mainstream boxes, I would go for the KC ‘Sailor’s Tales’ box.
Thank you Paul, for another enjoyable year on SDE!

Mark

Andy P thanks for the Donald Fagen tip, I found the last one apparently at my local HMV too. £14.99 is a steal!

Shawn

Thanks Paul. Discovered this site about a year ago and absolutely love it. My wallet doesn’t! ;)

Klaus

That’s a typical problem after getting to know this site. ;-))

PDS

Great read. A couple of typos Purple Rain ‘delivery’ and Sgt Pepper ‘complacent’. Think I would have Flowers In the Dirt in there – over priced and issues re downloads but sumptuous set.

ken

I like the Bowie sets a lot and great to see you placed it in the top 10. We are about 10 months away from the next installment in the series I hope. I’m sure it to will bring up some controversy and debate given the era it will cover.

My top 10 would include Rush deluxe treatment of A Farewell to Kings with the Steven Wilson 5.1 mix and the full Hammersmith show. Too expensive but great to see available.

The China Crisis recently expanded editions of the first three albums.

I actually don’t know three of the artists in your top 10; Nick Cave, Wet Wet Wet and Lloyd Cole. Perhaps I’ve heard them but they likely didn’t have the same impact in Canada or NA as they did in GB. Paul Weller is one of those artists that when we are lucky enough to see him play live here and tell people who we are seeing they look at me and say who. I can never understand how he is not more highly appreciated in NA.

Looking forward to another PM archive release, the White Album, Tears for Fears STSOL, Rush Hemispheres, Marillion which I assume will be CAS, next Bowie box and more XTC.

Klaus

Hi Ken,

you should definitely check Lloyd Cole (hell, he even lives in North America!) and Nick Cave (he’s originally an Aussie, but lives in North America now as well) out.
They both record their music since the 1980s and i’m envious of you for what you still have to explore.
As for Wet Wet Wet, go ask someone else. ;-)

Graham

Think Marillion is Brave. Don’t quite understand why.

Klaus

They ARE brave. It’s because they’re Scottish i think.

Dennis

Always fun to watch out for the ‘best of’ posting… how the heck could you not include, but why on earth did you include… :)
Apart from ones already mentioned, kudos for some of the boxsets Cherry Red released including C88, Noise Reduction System, Manchester…, Silhouettes & Statues.

mike

If you had included Macca, think there may have been a riot!!!

DaveM

Great article, heres my list
01 Paul McCartney – Flowers In The Dirt. Most played and enjoyed this year and as Paul English stated ‘Divisive reissue of his 1989 LP. B-sides relegated to download-only but the Elvis & band demos make up for it’
02 Fmac Tango in the Night Deluxe
03 The Beatles Sgt Pepper SDE
04 Neil Young Official Release series 5 – 8 (never thought these would come out)
05 Neil Young Official Release series 8.5 – 12
06 Godley and Creme Body of Work I know Consequences was missing but still great value and reminded me this was the first really weird stuff I bought back in the early eighties
07 The Who Maximum As and Bs nice to have a complete collection like this, and I wish more artists would do it. Ok, a few wrong mixes but its a coherent listen
08 Eric Stewart Anthology. Glad you picked this one Paul.
09 10CC Before During After, nothing new 10CC wise but really enjoyed thier ‘other’ stuff more than I expected
10 Tim Buckley Complete Albums box

DaveM

Paul, I fully understand why you didn’t include Macca as it falls short of the selection rules. Plus there was all the BS from Scott Rodger.
As for 10cc, I was always a passive fan of their singles, but it was the Beeb Four documentary that had me go deeper into their catalogue and I am so glad I did. They are effing geniuses.

Bill

I would add the Crimso Salior’s Tale although I have a bit of a gripe because these boxsets are aimed at the committed fans who will have purchased so much of the stuff on CD or download through the Collectors Club and website. But it is beautifully produced. Songs From The Wood is also fantastic – perhaps it was missed off because we’ve come to expect this standard! I’d like to mention the ELP boxset – the campaign on Pledge Music (but why on Pledge for a big record label?) was pretty good offering complete tracks and the inclusion of the Milan/Rome concert was fantastic filling in the gap of a recording from the period running up to the release of Brain Salad Surgery. But, but, but, no download option of that concert, none of the Shout Factory release, and the extras from the various re-releases over he years. Plus a book with an essay from Chris Welch that felt dialled-in. A real shame.

Greg

Thanks for all your hard work during the year Paul – it’s much appreciated. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments on a wide variety of box sets and deluxe editions and your summary for 2017 is no exception. All the best for 2018.

RJS

Good article. My vote goes for Luke Haines’ four CD slimline box set. Over four hours of solo music from England’s finest singer/songwriter of the past 25 years, about a quarter of it previously unreleased or hard to find. For anyone unfamiliar with his music, it’s definitely worth a £20 punt.

I also enjoyed Trunk Records ‘The Britxotica! Box’ that gathered together three compilation albums of British Exotica from the fifties and sixties that Jonny Trunk’s label had previously released on vinyl only.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N9RFFF0

On both the ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Tango in the Night’ reissues I found the previously unreleased music (unsurprisingly) underwhelming but nonetheless they were welcome additions to my music collection. I probably haven’t listened to the Lloyd Cole box set as often as I should of and have it playing right now.

Olov

Oh no, you made me buy two more box sets: Lloyd Cole and Marillion. ;)
And yes, they do seem to be low in stock, ordered from stores in Sweden since it’s mostly sold out elsewhere.
And I agree with most of what you write here (Nick Cave and Fleetwood Mac are probably my two favourites), and I understand why U2’s JT-box isn’t included. The design is phenomenal, but most of the content have been heard and released before.
But I do like to add som fine boxes, that I really liked: the completion of the Sting vinyl box was great (nice touch to send out an extra large box with the newer vinyls), INXS Kick was great value and David Gilmour never disappoint – his live from Pompeii release was great, loads of gems, with the blu ray quality being the primary benefit.

shaboo

Great selection! Good to see that all those overpriced cash grabs from Queen, Eagles, R.E.M. etc. are absent.

Michael Caspar

One of my favorites is missing! ;)

When in May came Beatles – Sgt. Pepper and Kraftwerk – 3-D The catalogue on one day
it was like Christmas and Easter.

But is the Kraftwerk-box a reissue? Or is it live? Anyway: it is essential and it sounds incredible!

Keith

Nick Cave & Lloyd cole sets for me , my favourite new material of 2017 has to be Hippopotamus by Sparks. Seen them all live this year!

Andy

I thought it was a decent year for deluxe box sets (thanks again Paul!). In no particular order my ten favorites were:

Sgt Peppers, Nick Cave, Ten Year War (Black Sabbath), ANCIANT (Bowie), Hysteria (Def Leppard), 3D The Catalogue (Kraftwerk), Misplaced Childhood (Marillion), OK Computer (Radiohead), Live In Pompeii (David Gilmour) and Urban Hymns (The Verve).

I’m also adding, because I can’t stick to just ten… 1977 (Jam), Joshua Tree (U2), Automatic 25 (REM), Flowers In The Dirt (Macca), La La Land – The Complete Musical Experience Deluxe and Icky Thump X (White Stripes).

My biggest hope for 2018? We finally see the deluxe treatment of The Seeds Of Love.

Galley

My two favorites are Debbie Gibson’s “We Could Be Together” and “More Of The Monkees [Super Deluxe Edition], which arrived today.

Eamonn

Great article, really enjoyed reading it, highlighted your broad range in taste too which is important for a website such as this.
Hopefully you’ll follow it up with a 2018 preview/hopes one.
Really keen to know if Demon will do a 25th Suede debut anniversary to coincide with Brett Anderson’s early-life memoir due in the spring.

Peter chrispp

An excellent review of some of the best deluxe box sets and my fave were Sgt Peppers and Marillion and with Jethro Tull’s Heavy Horses due it’s one I am looking forward to buying Paul with 2018 just around the corner although it’s only early stages do you or would you know of any forthcoming new releases on the way and perhaps expectations?

John Johnstone

Enjoyable article Paul. Like a couple of other posts above, I would have included Songs From The Wood and Live In Pompeii, both are excellent packages

Marc

Am I wrong but wasn’t the George Harrison vinyl box set a box set from 2017? For me one of the greatest box sets for sure. Very well made.

frattonlad

As Stuart says, Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood is a surprising absentee. I agree wholeheartedly with most of the list but the JT album is just the latest (like XTC) in a series of exemplary releases.

The book, the CD/DVD combo and, in the case of Songs From The Wood a live DVD which, given the hoops jumped through the get it into a consumer-ready state, is nothing short of amazing.

Wonderful album and a sublime box set (and when released a bargain basement price too!)

memoryboy

P.S. I agree, Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ was a fantastic re-issue. I was not really blown-away with the Remastered sound on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tango In The Night’ (I actually wasn’t too keen on their other reissues either when it comes to sound quality. Especially ‘Mirage’), but I was really happy with Bowie’s Box Set this year and also Blancmange’s.

Dean

Jethro Tull’s Songs from the Wood should have been here.

Mark stuart

Especially at how cheap it was.

memoryboy

I really loved Madonna’s 19-Disc Super Deluxe Box Set, complete with 80 page booklet, All of her Singles, Edit’s, Remixes, Dub’s and out-takes. DVD’s, And each of her albums Digitally Remastered to perfection.

Oh wait. That never happened.

And probably never will.

Let’s hope someday.

Great article Paul. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Daran

I don’t have experience of all those in top 10 of Paul’s, but of those I did buy…

1. INXS – Kick: Great packaging (some sort of very smooth card / plastic board), tough and nice clean look. Great content and hi-res + booklet full of info. Add in cheap as chips price and a winner. BD audio is volume brickwalled a negative.
2. David Gilmore – Live in Pompeii: Typical nice quality follows same style as previous DG and PF Endless River format. Stunning visuals in concert. Lots of good extra stuff on discs + books etc.
3. Prince – Purple Rain: Great to have a new concert DVD of him in this era, and near full track listing. Audio on remaster I volume brickwalled though.
4. F’Mac – Tango…. : Great content, lousy booklet. Hi res good, vinyl inclusion bad!
5. George Michael – LWP: The big miss imho… Should have been and could have been stellar but a sloppy release. Back cover errors Paul highlighted, silly 1 track download required, god awful booklet printing and missing the new 2017 documentary in favour of an ancient TV documentary was a missed opportunity. No hi res either….. INXS package / price puts it to shame. Sorry George, I wanted this to be no. 1 !

Randy Metro

I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments. Forgive me if already mentioned:

Will there be 10 worst box sets of 2017? The Carpenters fiasco: Fans are being asked to send a picture of their current vinyl ALL destroyed even if it was only 1 or 2 bad albums in order to get the replacement set.

Gisabun

Some of the box sets were extremely expensive for my taste [Queen, McCartney, Beatles, Eagles] and I’m not of fan of including vinyl as part of the box sets with CDs, DVDs/BR [kudos to Marillion and others who kept them separate].
And I also dislike the “junk” memorabilia. Don’t really care for replica stuff.

Daniel ( from Berlin )

hello paul, a peaceful christmas 2017 ! …and also to all the users here in the whole wide world.
my number one of 2017 is this website. a website that i visit almost every day – whereever in the world i be. in the morning at breakfast table, after lunch, before or after photo shootings ( sometimes in between ) and mostly late at night before i get to sleep.
dear paul ( this is not a love letter ): thank you for that website and the possibility to write with all these users here, the possibility to discuss mistakes and to express personal wishes for forthcoming box sets and re-releases.
you do a perfect job ! thank you very much !
if you’ll be ever again in berlin: you are very welcome !

Klaus

Hi Daniel, couldn’t have expressed it better. And what you said about Berlin counts for me too, if Paul happens to be in the Rhine/Ruhr-area.

michal

No “Urban Hymns” ? hmnnn… I would put that one in my top 5

BritinDetroit

Ditto, add my vote for Urban Hymns. Bob13 as well

Andy

Yeah, that was a good one. Definitely in my top 10.

Ben Williams

Great article!

Can I add the worst box set of the year?

Hotel California…

One of the best albums of all time given a lacklustre box to say the least. It deserved so much more!

Sgt Pepper was probably the best of the year for me – hope they release more Beatles boxes… White Album with the demos??? That would be nice!

Klaus

It’s okay to buy the 2-cd edition (HC, that is) then if i understand you correctly?

Ben williams

I didn’t mention the 2 disc set of Hotel California… I still think that too was pretty lacklustre but for the money not too bad. I just think as a ‘super deluxe edition’, the box set version was a joke.

martin farnworth

XTC are still a “journey of discovery”- if you pardon then annoying phrase. It feels like a bit of an event each year when an album is reissued. I’m more than willing to hold out a few years for the few i don’t already own i’d like to buy now particularly Big Express and Mummer.

I’ll be interested to see what turns up on from the wilderness years when they were on strike from Virgin- there could be quite a bit of unreleased stuff on the reissues of the last 2 albums considering how they disappeared for a good six or seven years.

Klaus

You’re getting me a bit confused Martin, because if you’re referring to “Apple Venus” and “Wasp Star” there were already demo-cds released for both of them at the time (Homegrown and Homespun), there even exists a box set with all four discs included though this is really rare (and expansive) today. And, as for all XTC-albums, rare versions of tracks from these are included on the “Fuzzy Warbles”-discs by Andy Partridge.
I’m with you concerning “The Big Express”, my most favourite XTC-album because that’s the one with which i discovered the band at the time.

martin farnworth

yeah i see your point. my understanding is they will be released with blu rays. i suppose we’ll have to see whats left in the vaults from their later years