Box Sets & Back Catalogs

Imagine your favourite artist has a great new album. In my opinion, this leads to a renewed interest in their back catalog of music.

I begin this entry with metal offerings then discuss classic rock groups with deluxe sets both old and new.

There are a multitude of box sets and re-issues every year. This column discusses just a small sample of them. Every Fall there are new sets announced for Christmas. This year has sets from George Michael, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and Rush.

Rush has released several boxed editions of back catalog classics like 2112, A Farewell To Kings, and most recently Moving Pictures.

In the case of Megadeth’s latest, “The Sick…The Dying…and The Dead” this is the case. Iron Maiden’s one year old “Senjutsu” remains a great listen so I went back to their previous 16 albums to listen all the way through again. Ditto for Megadeth’s previous 15 studio efforts.

The re-issue campaign for Megadeth’s back catalog by Capitol.

Yes, metal music is very much alive despite America’s pop sensations. Concert tours also lead back to the past efforts of bands.

Iron Maiden will stop here at the Belmont, NY UBS Arena for their Legacy of the Beast Tour. Next year the band will tour Europe for 12 dates billed as The Future Past Tour which contains 7 tracks from “Senjutsu” and 1986’s platinum “Somewhere in Time” in its entirety.

Face It Alone” featuring Freddie Mercury taken from the sessions for their 1989 album, “The Miracle” is in release now. I went to listen to the American box set “Forever” containing some of the group’s best ballads.

During the 2 years of lock down I went back to listen to every album by various others including all 41 Bob Dylan recordings! At the time Mr. Dylan had his album Rough and Ready in release.

Back catalogs can always be mined for special editions with bonus tracks, B-sides, demos, and out takes that no die-hard fan can pass up. Replicas of backstage passes and posters show up in the super deluxe editions.

Then there are the box sets of classic records. Led Zep’s Jimmy Page has done thorough issues of all of their works.

Metallica had their first 5 albums issued as packed box sets with dvd material as well as cd’s and vinyl. Replicas of memorabilia like posters and backstage passes were included. Their Black album also had a separate release called The Blacklist where various artists performed their favorite songs from the album.

Well curated Metallica Box Set includes call sheets, magazines, dvds, cd’s and vinyl for a price of $199.

The Beatles have produced box sets for ‘The White Album’, ‘Abbey Road’, ‘Let It Be’, and now ‘Revolver’.

The upcoming Revolver set is $194. Amazon has an exclusive edition for $39.

Complete studio album box sets have been issued for Queen, Rolling Stones, and The Beatles to name a few of the classic rock groups.

Rolling Stones have box sets of Tattoo You, Goats Head Soup, and Some Girls. Their studio collection is boxed for a staggering $674.

Rolling Stones Studio Albums from Sticky Fingers to Blue and Lonesome.

Queen issued a “News Of The World” box set a few years ago. “The Miracle” will be re-issued on November 18th in a super box set. There are 5 more songs never released previously!

I think it’s cool to have re-issues for fans who want them. Let us face the facts that all-time top rock acts have an evergreen sales potential.

After all, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ spent a record number of consecutive weeks on the charts from 1973–1988. The Floyd have re-released their “Animals” LP as a re-mixed box set and single edition.

Pink Floyd had a succesful re-issue campaign. Dark Side came with the 2 posters and 2 stickers found in the original album.
Re-mixed by Steve Wilson, the classic Floyd LP is back!

Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ was the top catalog album last year and remains on the charts! An album that came out originally in 1981! It did not do this over consecutive weeks. Their Bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody did the trick to convert new fans to their base.

Target got an exclusive color vinyl edition of the album. A new gatefold sleeve was added too. Now the LP comes on 2 discs.

There is so much great music to do box set treatments and/or re-issues. Let’s enjoy this gift of music, while it lasts. Can we ever have enough of our favorite groups?

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