10 bountiful CD and vinyl box sets for Christmas 2012
We know how it is: It's three days till Christmas, and you're just now beginning to think of what to get that special someone. Or maybe it's Boxing Day, and that Amazon gift card is already burning a hole in your pocket. What to do?
As in years past, box sets are the sure-shot. Whether it's for your Broadway show tune-loving aunt Sylvia, your Rage Against The Machine-obsessed cousin Pete or to satisfy your own Preservation Hall Jazz Band jones, there's an expanded CD package out there for every taste. And many collector's sets include vinyl, so the audiophile in your family won't be left out either.
On the following pages, we spotlight 10 beautiful and bountiful box sets that you might want to think about putting on your shopping list... even if it's for yourself.
The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set
In 2009, The Beatles' catalogue was remastered and reissued on CD (and eventually distributed on iTunes), and now all 14 of the Fab Four's studio albums are available on vinyl LPs.
Each disc is manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork – so you get the scrapbook-like poster in "the White Album" and the fun cut-outs in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band's cut-outs, and special inner bags for some of the titles. The albums are accompanied by an elegantly designed 252-page hardbound book in a lavish boxed edition.
The set includes the following albums:
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (The White Album) (2LP)
Let It Be
Past Masters (2LP)
Blur 21: The Box
Following their 2008 reunion, Blur have released a couple of singles, but a proper album still isn't on the horizon (their last full-length was 2003's Think Tank). So for those who want a whole lot of Blur action, there's Blur 21: The Box.
The set coincides with the 21st anniversary of 1991's Leisure, and it features all seven of the band's studio albums, more than five hours of unreleased material, including 65 previously unreleased tracks and more than twice as many rarities.
Additionally, there are three DVDs, a collector's edition book featuring rare and unseen photos (and a new and exclusive interview with the band), and a special limited edition seven-inch vinyl featuring a track recorded under the band's original name, Seymour. There is even a download code in each box, so purchasers can put the contents on mobile devices.
Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Although he began his recording career on Sun Records, Johnny Cash was signed to Columbia for over three decades, and this extensive set collects all of The Man in Black's recordings during the years 1958 through 1990.
Encompassing country & western, blues, gospel, folk, rockabilly and more, Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection is an extensive 63-CD treasure trove that will appeal equally to hardcore Cash fans as well as newcomers. Included are his 59 original album titles for Columbia, from 1958's The Fabulous Johnny Cash through the two Highwayman albums of 1985 and 1990 (with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson).
There are also two new compilations: The Singles, Plus – a 2-CD, 55-song collection of single sides that did not originally appear on albums, along with guest performances on other artists' albums, among them Bob Dylan, the Carter Family, mother Maybelle Carter, June Carter Cash, the Earl Scruggs Revue, Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein. Additionally, there is Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar, a 28-song collection of single and non-single tracks released during his Sun Records.
The set contains:
The Fabulous Johnny Cash
Hymns By Johnny Cash
Songs Of Our Soil
Now There Was A Song!
Ride This Train
Hymns From The Heart
The Sound Of Johnny Cash
Blood, Sweat And Tears
Ring Of Fire: The Best Of Johnny Cash
The Christmas Spirit
Keep On The Sunny Side
The Carter Family with special guest Johnny Cash
I Walk The Line
Bitter Tears: Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The American Indian
Orange Blossom Special
Johnny Cash Sings The Ballads Of The True West
Everybody Loves A Nut
Happiness Is You
Carryin' On With Johnny Cash And June Carter
From Sea To Shining Sea
Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison
The Holy Land
Johnny Cash At San Quentin
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash
The Johnny Cash Show
I Walk The Line -Original Soundtrack Recording
Little Fauss And Big Halsey -Original Soundtrack Recording
Man In Black
A Thing Called Love
Johnny Cash: America A 200-Year Salute In Story And Song
Christmas -The Johnny Cash Family
Any Old Wind That Blows
The Gospel Road (2 Disc)
Johnny Cash And His Woman
Johnny Cash pa Osteraker
Ragged Old Flag
The Junkie And The Juicehead Minus Me
The Johnny Cash Children's Album
Johnny Cash Sings Precious Memories
John R. Cash
Look At Them Beans
One Piece At A Time
The Last Gunfighter Ballad
I Would Like To See You Again
The Survivors -Johnny Cash Jerry Lee Lewis Carl Perkins
The Adventures Of Johnny Cash
Koncert V Praze In Prague Live
Highwayman -Waylon Jennings Willie Nelson Johnny Cash Kris Kristofferson
Highwayman 2 -Waylon Jennings Willie Nelson Kris Kristofferson Johnny Cash
At Madison Square Garden
Johnny Cash With His Hot & Blue Guitar
The Singles, Plus (2 Discs)
Peter Gabriel: So (25th Anniversary Immersion Box)
Although he had already established himself as a daringly idiosyncratic recording artist as a member of Genesis and solo artist, 1986's So was Peter Gabriel's across-the-board commercial breakthrough, featuring video-and-radio smashes such as Sledgehammer, Big Time, In Your Eyes and Red Rain.
The Immersion Box Set includes the the remastered album, the 2-CD Live in Athens 1987 set, a So DNA CD which gives a unique insight into the writing and recording of So, two previously unreleased DVDs: Live In Athens 1987 and the documentary So: Classic Album, which tells the story behind the making of the record.
In addition, there is a 180-grm So LP mastered at half speed to maximize the audio quality (the track listing, unlike the original, is that favoured by the artist), along with a double-A side 12-inch vinyl collectible containing two previously unreleased tracks, Courage and Sagrada, plus Don't Give Up (alternative version piano and bvox mix) and a 60-page case-bound book which includes an introduction and So DNA summary by Peter Gabriel.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band 50th Anniversary Collection
Marking their golden anniversary of the legendary New Orlean's Preservation Hall Jazz Band, this four-CD, 58-track collection that spans the years 1962, when Nesuhi Ertegun first recorded the ensemble, through 2012, when the current incarnation recorded with musical guests such as Richie Havens, Tom Waits, Pete Seeger, Andrew Bird, Yim Yames and Del McCoury.
George Lewis, Billie and De De Pierce, Punch Miller, Percy Humphrey, Willie Humphrey, Jim Robinson, and Sweet Emma Barrett are among the classic artists represented. The set includes five previously unissued performances.
Rage Against The Machine: XX (20th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set)
Mixing heavy metal riffs with hip-hop grooves, along with the guitar wizardry of Tom Morello, Rage Against The Machine scored a direct hit with audiences who wanted politically substantive lyrics with their body slamming.
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Rage's debut album, the Deluxe Box includes two CDs containing the original album, remastered, with three bonus tracks of collectible b-sides from era, along with the original Rage Against The Machine demo tape. Recorded in 1991 and sold for $5 at the merch table at early Rage shows, the tape achieved mythical word-of-mouth status amongst music fans while helping to seal the band's deal with Epic Records.
Two DVDs feature Rage's historic free concert in Finsbury Park on June 2010, performed as a thank-you to UK fans for making Killing In The Name the UK's No. 1 single during Christmas week 2009. In addition to other clips, there are live performance from 1991-1994 (along them, the full set of the band's first public performance.
XX includes new liner notes, penned especially for the band's 20th anniversary by longtime fan and hip-hop pioneer Chuck D.
Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Complete Broadway Musicals
Few writing teams popularized musical theatre more than Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein; in fact, they transformed the genre and brought it to mainstream audiences with works such as Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King And I and The Sound Of Music, among others.
The Complete Broadway Musicals, containing 12 CDs, comprised their classic shows with performances by legendary Broadway stars such as Julie Andrews, Kaye Ballard, Laura Benanti, Yul Brynner, Liz Callaway, Christine Ebersole, Ezio Pinza, Mary Martin, Audra McDonald, Jerry Orbach, John Raitt and Patrick Wilson, among others.
The 12 CDs are packaged in sleeves with the original cover art. There is also a lavish 12" x 12" 100-page book with essays on each show, rare production and behind-the-scenes photos, liner notes by Ted Chapin (President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein office in New York), biographies and more.
The Rolling Stones: "GRRR!" Greatest Hits
As we all know, a certain band from England celebrated 50 years of rocking this year, and while it may seem as though they've released that many greatest hits packages, this new set offers what just might be the completist's look at the Greatest Rock And Roll Band In The World.
The Super Deluxe five-CD set, howed in a 12-by-17-inch box, contains four CDs with 80 hits and album cuts and covers, a five-track CD of the Stones' very first unreleased demos, a four-track vinyl EP of an unreleased BBC Radio session, a 96-page hardcover book with photos of various ephemera, a reproduction of an early poster from the Ricky Tick Club (an influential R&B venue on the outskirts of London), in addition to the 36-page book and the five postcards.
Most every notable Stones cut is featured here – everything from 1963's Come On to their 2012 tracks, Doom And Gloom and One More Shot – as well as their cover versions of The Beatles' I Wanna Your Man, O.V. Wright's That's How Strong My Love Is and Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone.
Undoubtedly, there will be other Rolling Stones collections, for new and longtime fans, "GRRR!" is a solid set.
Paul Simon: Graceland (25th Anniversary Edition)
In 1986, Paul Simon teamed with South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and the result was Graceland, a spellbinding, fully transcendent work that won Simon a Grammy for Album Of The Year. This 25th anniversary set (two CDs and two DVDs) includes the digitally remastered original album plus bonus tracks, the Under African Skies documentary film (directed by award-winning filmmaker Joe Berlinger) and the original 1987 "African Concert" from Zimbabwe.
Additionally, there are three original music videos and the iconic Saturday Night Live performance. The package also contains replicas of an original Graceland poster, handwritten lyrics pad, deluxe 80-page book featuring new and archival photos and interviews with Paul Simon.
The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (Deluxe Edition Box Set)
The Smashing Pumpkins' sprawling 1995 masterpiece, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness, got the expanded, remastered treatment this year, and fans of the original will find this set to be a must-have.
The reissue is available in a number of configurations, including an expanded five-CD + DVD Deluxe Box Set (also available digitally) and the remastered original album in four-LP vinyl, two-CD, and digital formats.
The Deluxe Box's five CDs include 64 bonus tracks of previously unreleased material or alternate versions of Mellon Collie-era songs, and its DVD features a live show filmed at London's Brixton Academy in 1996, along with bonus performances from the German music television show Rockpalast (1996).
The set is housed in a 12 x 12 lift-top box with magnetic closure, re-imagined cover art and velvet-lined disc holder. The package includes two books containing personal notes, lyrics, new collage artwork, plus a Decoupage kit for creating your own scenes from the Mellon Collie universe.