Features

Saturday Deluxe / 30 May 2015

It’s the weekend! While you all ‘chillax’ it’s another working day for SDE and so it’s time to kick back with some stories and updates from the past week, along with gossip and news from the weeks to come…

psb

Flamboyant singles box for Pet Shop Boys?

There seemed to be two distinct camps after yesterday’s announcement detailing the extraordinary Bananarama 33CD ‘In A Bunch’ singles box. Naturally enough, hardcore fans of the girl group were delighted with the offering, which seems to deliver what many could only dream of – every remix, variation, b-side of every single between 1981 and 1993.

Music fans who don’t put Bananarama at the top of their list of favourite artists could only turn green with envy – “Why can’t we have a set like this for the Pet Shop Boys?” was a suggestion picked up enthusiastically by many pop fans in the comments section of the post.

And there’s the rub. Great box sets or great ideas for box sets don’t always coincide with the artists you necessarily want. Taking the Pet Shop Boys as an example, it has now been 14 years since any album reissues. In that time, the landscape for archival deluxe editions has changed and just chucking out a 2CD deluxe as your only product offering isn’t really going to cut the mustard. But on the other hand, with nearly 50 singles issued in their Parlophone/EMI era, the chances of seeing a Banarama-style 50CD box set are virtually zero.

In the last few years Demon Music have reissued Bananarama’s studio albums, and put out the Megarama compilation. This has given them some valuable up-to-date knowledge of fans’ appetite for releases. They have dipped their elbow in the water and have a feel for the demand. Still, the box is a large undertaking and not without its risks – even a small miscalculation with the ‘math’, or getting carried away with creating something spectacular while neglecting the commercial realities, could be disastrous. That would not be good for Demon or for fans who hope for similar products in the future.

The bottom line is that no matter how good something is, there is a limit to what people are prepared to pay. Parlophone (now part of Warners) will consider the Pet Shop Boys as the crown jewels when it comes to the pop side of their catalogue, so are they going to give you 60 or 70 minutes of music for £3-4 a pop? (the cost-per-CD of the Bananarama box) – probably not. They might decide that a disc full of newly remastered music, with much of it new-to-CD or unreleased, is worth about £10 – in which case, are you going to pay £500 for this Pet Shop Boys box set of your dreams? In a word, no. It’s too much money. A tiny minority might, but that won’t be enough to make something it profitable, so it won’t happen.

Also, I love the Pet Shop Boys, YOU probably love the Pet Shop Boys, but unless they undertake a massive amount of market research, the label really has no idea what an archive reissue product might sell, never mind an enormous,  financially risky box. They can take an educated guess what a Please super deluxe edition box might sell, based on similar products for similar artists, but that’s about it. So it is highly likely that they would not take any unnecessary risks. Major labels do not throw caution to the wind. Note the fact that a-ha‘s Hunting High and Low is coming out again this year, and Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours was reissued in 2013. They can leave the risk-taking to licensees (Demon Music) and still earn money as the licensor (Bananarama is being licensed from Warners).

Also with Bananarama and the Pet Shop Boys debate, let’s remember that other releases for the girl group have been explored and put out already. A massive clear-out-the-archive singles box set is really an end-of-cycle product that you might tackle once you’ve exhausted all the other options, not something you kick off a reissue campaign with. If ZTT/Salvo had done this with Frankie Goes To Hollywood five years ago, they would simply have had nothing to release afterwards.

Finally, the Pet Shop Boys are still very active and have always exercised a massive amount of control over their releases, right from the very beginning. From the Farrow designed artwork, to the B-sides, and remixes. Although they are no longer signed to the label, the record company are not going to upset the band with an idea they don’t like. My guess is that even if Warners had the appetite to create a massive singles box, all it would take is a shake of the head and a withering “I don’t think so…” from Neil Tennant and it would be dropped like a hotter-than-normal hot potato. With all due respect to Sara and Keren, it is likely that Demon could push ahead with or without their involvement. I seem to recall they weren’t really involved in the album reissues.

We know that Pet Shop Boys reissues are in-the-planning, so we will see what emerges – hopefully in the next six months. A multi-format reissue/remaster of Please with a super deluxe box variant is where my money lays.

Join the debate, by leaving a comment.


Paul Sinclair is editor of SuperDeluxeEdition.

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69 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 30 May 2015

  1. Kiki says:

    Well, Whatever Warner wants to do with the PSB catalog, I think this time they’ll need to satisfy most of their fans… so a “Please box” if properly done, like the TFF’s ones will be great ! But they’ll need to take care of what they put in it… If it’s only the same look as the 2003 reissues, no way. If it’s a “total” mix & B side box, I think they’ll have a great fan addicted base for the next PSB reissues! A single box from the PSB seems, how you said, not relevant, but they could split it in 4 like the Queen singles box (well I’m just talking here of the look, not the content which was awful and so incomplete) or the DM singles box (again this was very incomplete)… There are still many ways to sell records, but only if the major dares to…

  2. Billy Dojcak says:

    There were rumours of a PSB cd singles box some years ago and I’m happy that never happened. I have pretty much every cd single of theirs I can find. Always preferred the 12″ single where you can enjoy the artwork.

  3. Piotr says:

    I also have my money on a Super Deluxe Box of Please.
    As far as a singles box set is concerned, I think split into 2 or more would be more appropriate rather than one big expensive box. I’m certain that many of their singles had way more than 74 minutes worth of music (multiple b-sides and mixes across a multitude of formats), so they would require multiple discs if they were truly to include everything. Being a fan of theirs for many years, and knowing of the multitude of stuff ups with wrong mixes being labelled incorrectly, I only hope that whatever they release is done properly and labelled correctly and that the correct master tapes are used.

  4. Nicolas says:

    I’d prefer a super deluxe box for Please as Kylie Minogue did for her 4 first albums (from SAW era). Those boxes were so beautiful ! PSB need to take their time to release a box one after an other, let’s start with Please including 3 Cd (remastered tracks, b sides, exclusive remixes) + 1 blu ray with videos and live performance + poster, big booklet etc etc.
    Personally a single box is not great idea.

    • Pablo says:

      Nicolas, including a Blu Ray on a Please box would be really unnecessary because there are no HD stuff in existence from that era. Nor the video clips, nor the TV recordings and performances are in High Definition, and no convertion or post processing can give you that even on this days. Plus, everybody have a DVD player, but not everybody a Bluray machine… so A DVD will be a wiser option ;)

  5. Guy says:

    Interesting debate. As a fairly obsessive ‘completist’ of original vinyl releases for only one band, The Stranglers, I can see that some would be keen on getting a massive CD singles box set like Bananarama’s. Would I pay for a similar box set for The Stranglers? No, even though they’ve released over 40 singles (not that one would ever be released mind; much smaller fanbase, different genre, fewer remixes etc etc). Possibly yes if it was a 7″ vinyl box set though!

    Of course, every re-release from every artist (or, more likely, their record company!) is a milking exercise. I have fallen prey to many of these myself – vinyl box sets for The Beatles, The Stones, Blur, Oasis, Elbow, Public Enemy etc. As I sit here typing away, I can see these boxes in front of me and have often asked myself ‘Why?’ Some I’ve not even played!

    The problem with singles box sets (and album boxes of course) is that a fair proportion of the original releases of EVERY band (and I include The Stranglers in this!) are, to be frank, rubbish. More often than not, remixes are not as good as the originals, even when the original version is brilliant! Either they don’t add much to the original (some so-called ‘extended’ versions are less than a minute longer!), some just slap in an extended instrumental bit without re-working anything else and some are so extensively remixed that they bear no relation to the original whatsoever – and are usually utter, utter tripe! Notable exceptions, to my mind, include Soft Cell, Human League, early PSB & DM, whose remixes were often fantastic and better than the the original 7″ version.

    I get that some people want every version of every song, so things like the Nana’s box set will appeal. I wonder how many they’ll produce however? I suppose it is a ‘test the water’ release. If it does well, try other bands. If not, never mind. I can see that demand for a PSB box set would be much bigger, but probably won’t happen.

    My last point on this rather meandering post is I wonder what the market would be like for individual single re-releases? I wouldn’t mind, for example, getting the Nana’s CD single of ‘It Ain’t What You Do…’ if it was, say £3-4. Maybe ‘Really Saying Something’, ‘Shy Boy’ and even ‘Cruel Summer’.

  6. Straker says:

    Mute released four Erasure single boxsets covering five singles on each one some 16 years back so the template for this kind of thing in a more manageable form is already there. I bought a couple at the time at the very reasonable price of £16 per which roughly reflects the @£3 a disc the Nanas set will come in at.

    I’d buy ten PSB singles boxes even at £40 a pop (five singles on each?) IF they were fully comprehensive which would equate to £400 or thereabouts in total making this surely worth considering by Parlophone? Staggered at three boxes a year the project would be completed in three years or so and would mean a sense of aniticipation around each one rather than chucking them all out at once as with the Nanas box.

    PSB fans love a physical release so I’m sure my mindset would be reflected across the majority of their loyal fanbase who would see @£8 per disc as tolerable. Upside for Parlophone/Warners is if sales weren’t matching expectations then they’ve only committed to five singles at a time so if financially necessary it could be curtailed. Budgeted and priced right though I don’t see that it would be necessary as the hardcore will commit to all of these in advance – Perhaps some kind of subscription deal could be set-up?

    Saw Neil walking past my local chippie a few years back – Shoulda buttonholed him with this idea then!!

  7. Marko Rost says:

    I push them for years to do so. After Very was released, the record company thought seriously they would split up, because of the death of Chris boyfriend. The record company grabbed all the masters/mixes they could get their hands on and stored them since. When they found out that the psb will go ahead, they scrapped the idea.
    So time has changed and now a new run, please.

  8. dominic says:

    Chris has mused the possibility of a singles box set a couple of times in the now defunct Literally fanclub magazine and not outrightly dismissed it.

    It’s something I’ve always wanted, but after seeing the recent excellent TFF boxset, I’m leaning more towards an inclusive album reissue for each 30th anniversary.

    A good sign that there may be some good quality rarities coming our way is the vinyl & unreleased remixes of Paninaro & Devices popping up officially on compilation albums recently.

    And just to contradict my earlier thoughts on the CD single box set, if one was announced to be released through Pledgemusic, I would be on it like a shot.

  9. Bert says:

    Once upon a time these extravagant CD box sets would have been a great idea, but quite frankly these days I would advocate for a more moderate solution: instead of each single getting its own CD, try to fill CDs as much as possible (though I wouldn’t put the A-side at the end of one disc and the B-side at the start of another) and present the artwork in a nice booklet. Have something that will please completists (who can use this material to “re-create” the singles for themselves) and ordinary fans.

    BTW complaining about the Pet Shop Boys is a bit rich, considering they’d put out deluxe editions of their CDs year ago (the Further Listening ones) which already contained plenty of bonus material. Try being a Prince fan:
    – no remastered CDs (and god, do they need to be remastered, especially Sign O’ The Times),
    – numerous tracks that are vinyl-only,
    – a lack of live albums and videos (and the ones that exist are pretty bad),
    – a wealth of unreleased outtakes (plenty of them circulating thanks to bootleggers, fortunately)
    – whole album projects that remain unreleased,
    – lots of songs given to other artists that are scattered all over the place,
    – impossible to find CD versions of albums he ghost-wrote (Apollonia 6, Vanity 6, The Family, Jill Jones, The Time,…)

    I’ve been saying for 20+ years that he needs to take care of this, curate his back catalogue, monetize it. More than a year ago we got the vague promise of a remastered and deluxe Purple Rain when he re-signed with Warners, instead we got two more albums to put on the huge pile of “listened once and will never bother to listen to again because it is below par muzak” post-1995 Prince releases — albums that Prince didn’t care about at all, considering the utter lack of promotional effort (but hey, what’s new).

    About a week ago a tape started circulating of a 1987 aftershow at Park Café in München, Germany. It starts out as a Madhouse gig, and halfway through it becomes one of those legendary aftershow gigs from back when they were legendary (and not just mere rehashes of the same setlist as the main show, except with even more back-up singer involvement). Two new songs were played (one of which we knew in part, but now we know it wasn’t just a jam but an actual song that has an actual title), and Prince’s father plays along on another song. Amazingly: for years we had no details about this show, its existence isn’t even mentioned in Per Nilsen’s excellent books, and now we have a soundboard(!) recording of it circulating (though it seems to have originated from a lossy source).

    That’s just one example of the kind of treasures that are rotting away in Prince’s vault. And if he genuinely doesn’t care about its contents — which he claims, he says he isn’t interested in the past, yet most of his gigs from the past decade consist mostly of songs from Purple Rain and thereabouts, whereas the music he’s released post-1995 is merely featured once or twice — then he should get out of the way and let others access its contents and curate it. But that would expose his current output for the irrelevant mediocrity it is (at best), and thus we aren’t getting it. Or perhaps it’s because nobody wants to pay Prince the insane amount of money he imagines it is worth.

  10. angeliczg says:

    There is better way to find out about interest of buyers. Pledge Music or Kickstarter campaign. Money in advance before tapes are on remastering table. And then you know is it worth it.

  11. Jakob says:

    I would 100% buy an extravagant singles box from PSB—perhaps the only band I would. But I would kind of resent them for it. A super mega bonus ultra deluxe box of ‘Please’ I’d buy without a trace of ire.

  12. Craig Hedges says:

    I’ve put together a track listing for a first box of their 80’s singles. all of these would fit onto a cd each. If they just put this together to start with and see how it sold they could consider further boxes although they probably know this one would sell the best. I’ve only included the mixes that were made commercially available at the time so please don’t jump on me over the missing mixes of Left to my own devices, track from Disco etc.

    Opportunities (1st release)
    Opportunities (1st 7″)
    In the night (7″ mix)
    Opportunities (Dance mix)
    Opportunities (Version Latina)
    Opportunites (Dub for money)

    West End Girls
    West End Girl (7″ mix)
    A man could get arrested (7″ version)
    West End Girls (Dance mix)
    A man could get arrested (12″ version)
    West End Girls (Shep Pettibone Mastermix)
    West End Dub
    West End Girls (10″ mix)
    A man could get arrested (Bobby Orlando version)

    Love comes quickly
    Love comes quickly (7″ mix)
    Thats my impression(7″ mix)
    Love comes quickly (Dance Mix)
    Thats’s my impression (Disco Mix)
    Love comes quickly (Shep Pettibone Mastermix)
    Love comes quickly (Dub Mix)

    Opportunites (2nd release)
    Opportunites (2nd 7″)
    Was that what it was?
    Opportunities (Shep Pettibone mastermix)
    Opportunities (Reprise)

    Suburbia
    Suburbia (New version)
    Paninaro (7″ mix)
    Jack the lad
    Suburbia (the full horror)
    Love comes quickly (Shep Pettibone master mix with early fade)
    Suburbia (Club Vocal)
    Suburbia (Arthur Baker Dub)
    Suburbia (Pt 2)
    Paninaro (Italian Remix)

    It’s a sin
    It’s a sin (7″)
    You know where you went wrong
    It’s a sin (Disco Mix)
    It’s a sin (Ian Levine remix)
    You know where you went wrong (rough mix)
    It’s a sin (Phil Harding latin vocal)
    It’s a sin (Phil harding latin Dub)

    What have I done to deserve this?
    What have I done to deserve this?
    A new life
    What have I done to deserve this? (Extended mix)
    What have I done to deserve this? (Disco Mix)

    Rent
    Rent (7′)
    I want a dog
    Rent (Extended mix)
    Rent (Dub)

    Always on my mind
    Always on my mind (7″)
    Do I have to?
    Always on my mind (Extended Dance mix)
    Always on my mind (Remix)
    Always on my mind (Reprise)

    Heart
    Heart (single version)
    I get excited (you get excited too)
    Heart (Disco mix)
    Heart (Dance mix)
    Heart (12′ remix)
    Heart (dub mix)
    I get excited ..(longer version)

    Domino Dancing
    Domino Dancing (7′)
    Don Juan
    Domino Dancing (Disco Mix)
    Don Juan (Disco Mix)
    Domino Dancing (Alternative mix)
    Domino Dancing (Base Mix)
    Don Juan (Demo)
    Domino Dancing (Demo)

    Left to my own devices
    Left to my own devices (7″)
    The sound of the atom splitting (extended version)
    Left to my own devices (Disco Mix)
    The Sound of the atom splitting

    It’s alright
    It’s alright (7″)
    One of the crowd
    Your funny Uncle
    It’s alright (extended version)
    It’s alright (Tyree mix)
    It’s alright (sterling void mix)
    It’s alright (alternative mix)
    It’s alright (extended dance mix)

  13. Ulrich says:

    I don’t think the record company need to worry about sales, if they do a PSB singles box set. A Pledge Music campaing as Angeliczg suggests, would be the perfect way to do it, and a lot of die-hard fans will buy it. The Further Listening sets are very good, but it’s a shame they didn’t include more never-released-on-CD mixes. Disc 1 only contains the original album, so 25-30 minutes of space is wasted. And as a result, Always on my mind (12″ remix) etc. is still vinyl only.

  14. Si says:

    I would certainly welcome more complete CD single boxes, as there are so many mixes, esp 12”, that are becoming hard to find. The compilations often tease out on or two lost ones.

    Overall, for those that missed them first time around this is a chance to buy. For example PSB, or Madonna complete CD singles would be great. One big box might be a bit much, but staggered into 80s/90s/00s might be an idea with major artists over the decades.

    Music technology is changing so fast, that it would be a great way to reissue singles as they were intended first time around. For posterity a last chance to have all the mixes (hopefully from the master tapes with original mixes), 7”/12”/dub, etc, etc all in one box. So the fans get one more chance to get the full picture, as alot of the 7” and 12” of the time are gone, or commanding alot of money.

    I appreciate some artists singles back catalogue are going to be bigger sellers than others, so it’ll be interesting if this Bananarama box is the start of a series of single boxes or a one off? Only time will tell.

  15. Francesco says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t care about Bananarama, Pet Shop Boys or similar artists. I’ve been a fan once when I was a teenager but now…a good compilation with al the famous hits is more than enough for me. The Prince remasters instead would be a great idea. I’m still waiting for a Purple Rain superdeluxe box set. It depends on him if it will see the light of day or…not. Let’s see what happens. Even remastered editions of all the protegees would be nice at least there was him behind them all! Sorry for my bad english, greetings from Italy.

  16. Dean says:

    The solution to such an undertaking would be to make it digital only.

    I don’t yet do digital music myself, but it seems to me that it would bring production costs down, and given the state we’re in with physical media, is more realistic.

    • Darren says:

      what do you mean by “the state we’re in with physical media”?

      • Dean says:

        The CD format has entered it’s final phases. CD’s will be replaced by a combination of digital download, Pure Audio, and Blu-Ray. Hence, huge boxes like these are going to a thing of the past.

        • Darren says:

          You’re completely wrong. CD isn’t going anywhere, except for the people who are swayed like sheep towards the latest craze. Digital downloads will be replaced by streaming music ad hoc, rather than having the music file on the device.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      A whole load of digital files really doesn’t appeal to me.

      • Dean says:

        I hear, ya, Paul. I’ve not been able to make the switch away from physical product yet either. May the day never come….. The record companies could easily fit the entire Bananarama box set on a single Blu-Ray disc – but of course they make far more money this way. I mean, the entire Led Zeppelin catalog easily fits on one Blu-Ray….. Oh well.

        • Carlton Fisher says:

          I don’t pirate music, ever, but if we went to a world with no physical releases and all that was available were miserable MP3s, I’d turn to pirating. I’m not going to shell out good money for -third-rate sound quality files that I might lose the minute they either get corrupted, my computer crashes, or some company decides they no longer want it “out there” and yank it out of everyone’s cloud.

      • fran says:

        Nitzer Ebb did a digital-only reissue of all their singles a few years back and it was a complete mess: dodgy sound, lots of needle drops and apparently no serious remastering, botched track titles and metadata. I don’t think we’re in a place yet where digital-only reissues are done with a lot of care.

  17. Pablo says:

    Indeed releasing smaller box sets with all the singles but separated by album maybe (…or decade, or whatever) will be a wiser and better option than releasing a monster 50 singles box all in one. For sure there’ll be different buyers for different boxes, and that´s the point. The price will be more affordable for smaller boxes, and everybody will get what they want, and don´t get what they don´t. And of course, there could be a nice discount for the complete set ¡of all the boxes for the people who wants to buy all..I´ll not refure that! ;)

  18. Paul Edwards says:

    Darren – I’ve seen your posts on a couple of threads now. If you’ve got nothing sensible to add why bother?

    • Darren says:

      You may not think what I say is sensible and you’re entitled to that opinion. But remember it is only an opinion you have, not fact. It is only that you don’t share my views, which is fair enough.

  19. Soren says:

    Rolling Stones released a 45 CD-single box

  20. Paul W says:

    I think I already have every CD released in this country by PSB and I am probably just missing a handful of promos, but PSB are one band that I would buy any superdooper box sets for. I would prefer that they split any singles boxes up though, as people above have suggested, because, whilst I would look to buy a complete box at a few hundred pounds, I wouldn’t fancy the conversation with the missus that would precede it.

    Although, to be honest, I think I have managed to track down digital versions (some better quality than others) of just about every different mix of every song they did, from a variety of sources, along with a stack of unreleased stuff. Being a PSB completist though, I would imagine any box sets they release would be of high quality, as just about everything they have released looks as good as the music sounds.

  21. James says:

    I have often wondered what would happen next after the reissues of the first 6 albums. It’s always seemed unlikely that the Further Listening theme would be continued which is a great shame as it does leave a greater focus on their more commercially successful material and also I thought those sets were so well done. The remastering was mostly good, there were some interesting unreleased tracks, some pleasing anomalies (some tracks with longer fade outs for example), sympathetic artwork and great interview booklets. I also really appreciated that there was no attempt to make the additional CDs complete in any way, just a solid disc of good material worked on by the Boys themselves (so no third party mixes) in chronological order.

    Whatever the reissue project is I’m bound to want it but a complete singles set with all mixes is an odd proposition to me. I’ve spent years and years collecting the singles on a variety of formats, imports and promos and I’m not sure I want all those replaced with a single release. I would rather a thoughtfully compiled, highly listenable package instead.

  22. Ian Harris says:

    I’d say whatever happens with archive releases from bands from the remix era (so mid 80s on) is run the track listings past some knowledgable fans before going to full production. A very easy way to avoid the wrong mix, wrong edit, not proper 7″ version or whatever appearing. And I bet people would do this quality control for free to make sure the right stuff gets out there.
    I dread whoever owns the Human League catalogue now doing something like a CD singles box set, and just pulling the Dare masters off the shelf so you don’t get the proper single versions of The Sound Of The Crowd or Love Action (as happened on the Very Best Of CD that came out with the new remixes after Secrets).

    • David says:

      I too have all UK PSB cd singles,but would love any sde they did as they always release quality stuff.
      Re Human League,they would be my dream artist for a proper reissue programme,but I doubt it would ever be done properly as it seems no one cares enough about their back catalogue.
      Dare is the cash cow which has been milked dry,badly may I add.
      There is so much more to them and a Box set be it singles,albums or comprehensive stand alone album box sets is well over due and much deserved.I don’t know if it would be of any interest to the band unfortunately.

  23. Joey says:

    Every big artist eventually has every released scrap re-released in some form. I remember as a teenager seeing a massive collectin of Billie Holiday, containing rare acetate and alternate recordings, virtually every studio recording, and wondering if I would have to wait unti I was 60 before I got the complete goods on my favorite bands. Sad to say that is usually how it works out. I’m sure your grandkids will have a better chance of an extensive collection of rare and unreleased recordings of PSB than you do…. As for PSB I have it all, I really am interested in what is in their unreleased vaults, as they are extensive.

  24. Kiki says:

    I always wondered why majors always want to f** us with their s** ing compressed mp3… Now I get it ! People doesn’t like music but only want throwable music… mp3s you can delete at any time… As I may have said somewhere else: Who would dare to collect mp3s??? to me, mp3 or any “digital” things doesn’t exist at all and have absolutely NO value… As Moby said some years ago, Internet is only a big radio where you can listen to everything you want. Getting a CD or a LP is not the same approach…

    Now , back to the PSB, As many of their remixes were promo only or restricted to a specific format, this is the only and last chance to put them together…

  25. Daniel Lalla says:

    Bring it on, the more choice the better. I wish more bands of this era would revisit this trend. Depeche Mode had those great 6 disc boxes, they were very well done. If you have any pull with the labels , and we know you do ! ;-) Tears for Fears could also use a singles box. I know they’ve had 2 great Super Deluxe sets now thanks in no small part to you, but to recreate all those great singles and B-Sides and artwork would be sweet.

  26. Daniel Lalla says:

    Simple Minds also had the ‘Themes” boxes with beautiful artwork and the case design was unique with the discs folding out in all directions. Good creative possibilities

  27. Sam Lowry says:

    Looking at my vinyl 12 inch collection I still see many mixes from “mainstream” artists that still have not been released on CD or digitally, not to mention unreleased versions that we do not even know about.

    A some point out, fans of PSB have quite a large selection already of mixes released on CD and there are other artist that have not really seen any proper release. Prince is already mentioned and I would like to add a few more giants: Madonna, no special editions with mixes, demos and unreleased stuff; same for Michael Jackson. David Bowie also has some very nice mixes.

  28. Joey says:

    Honestly 1 bluray disc would do the trick for most bands for cd quality. That and a nice book with full dedicated pages of the art for each format referenced. The book would be large and there could be more room for commentary from the people who made the records. The volume of discs with 4-5 songs can be a bit overwhelming and run the focus away from the reason we are buying this in the first place… The music.
    Eventually all of it being available for download for fans who don’t need everything.

  29. AlexKx says:

    I have never understood why people are not able to comprehend or perceive that the public would not be able to grasp the idea and concept that a Blu-Ray Audio that has more features on it than the original studio l.p. or multiple l.p.s on it that the price would be adjusted as where needed or however is desired and not based on how many discs there are. I would also imagine certain prices of such sets would at some point come down to some level and extent over time. I think that is what prevents more artists from doing more extensive Blu-Ray Audio sets and or whatever format is the concern that the “bulk” of their catelogues would some how be devalued.

  30. Renato says:

    In all honesty, I’d only buy a certainly very expensive super deluxe box if every single track from the era, in every form, was included. All the rare remixes, all the promo-only stuff, radio sessions, possible outtakes, TV performances, videos, etc. And no, personally I wouldn’l care very much for useless trinkets such as backstage pass reproductions, pins, badges and the like, or loads and loads of marginally different pictures in a huge hardcover book. Give me ALL the music and video, a decent in-depth essay on the album, a new interview with the band about the remastered release and possibly some reprints of texts from when the album was originally released, maybe a reproduction of the tour programme and I’m sold.

  31. Renato says:

    As for a complete singles boxset, I’d definitely buy it – IF there were absolutely no tracks missing. I also think it’d be much better to have multiple sets – three or four boxes instead of just one. All the officially released singles, promo and DJ-only remixes, maybe some unreleased ones and please, all the original artwork (including all the different covers for each single – in a booklet, perhaps?). This would definitely make me happy :)

  32. Stephen K. says:

    Listening to the new Frankie Knuckles compilation with the Royal Piano mix of Left To My Own Devices is a revelation over the version from the 90’s Radio 1 CD. The sound quality is miles above the older release. I can certainly use more PSB material of this quality!

    I wonder what new fans honestly think of the older mix work of Pet Shop Boys? You often hear people dismiss 80’s mixes as boring and repetitive. And 90’s mixes and later, containing limited amounts of the artist’s material, are so much of their era. Do you need to listen to 9 examples of 90’s house remixes as exhibited by a single track?

    The answer is, yes, we, the diehard old Pet Shop Boys fans do (to an extent). But do other people? As you say, Pet Shop Boys are an EMI crown jewel. There is no doubt that their material can sell and turn a profit. And as you say, if every mix was released today, what would EMI sell in the future?

    But, back to my 2nd paragraph, is there any point in holding such a release back any longer? The people who want this material aren’t getting any younger, and I don’t see young students getting turned onto the Pet Shop Boys remix catalog the same way as discovering a Billie Holiday song for the first time. I don’t think that remix catalog is waiting for a new generation to discover it. If anything, as my tastes grow more sophisticated, or perhaps after hearing the same mixes over and over, I find I have less interest in listening to all these mixes. I want to own them and hoard them like a dragon jealously guarding its gold, but I don’t know how listenable all of this actually remains (in terms of all the similar sounding late 90’s mixes… not very).

    The Further Listening discs are delightful in terms of the track-by-track commentary and the beautiful archive photos. Nothing is going to replace these!

    A 50-disc set of PSB singles is silly. I’m not a fan of the bulky mega-sets that can’t be displayed with everything else because they are a fixture unto themselves (get his 50-disc set lavishly presented in a cedar chest that sits at the foot of your bed!).

    Card sleeve (like the Actually singles) or slim jewel cases (like the Behaviour singles) are fine for collecting the Please singles that never had a CD-single release. I mean, why not? Even if you were going to be a Scrooge about releasing every mix, you could put out a simple CD5 that would mirror the contents of the original 12″ (as the Actually CD-singles did). At least you would finally have a CD for every single. However, I would propose this:

    A Further Listening-type release, without the album (who needs another copy of the album?). The booklet would include the sleeve art for the various iterations of the singles. How else would you release something like Suburbia, with its different covers (2 with Neil, 2 with Chris, 2 with both, probably some others, too)?

    Actually, in a desire to preserve the artwork, maybe each single should get its own regular jewel case release, with a booklet devoting a page to each cover.

    You could box these up 5 singles at time, similar to Depeche Mode’s or Erasure’s singles boxes where the only logic to the sorting is a chronological presentation of material. Of course, once you get that first set with its 5th disc of It’s A Sin, how could you stop there? You’d have to pick up the next set, too! I considered boxing these by album, but what do you do with singles like DJ Culture, Was It Worth It, and Paninaro ’95? Better this way.

  33. Stephen K. says:

    Also, we know there is plenty of never-released material in the PSB vaults. Give us our remixes now, I say! But, 10 years down the line, when EMI/Parlaphone wants to do another release, go ahead and put out Please again on CD… but the bonus disc can be demos, instrumentals, unreleased mixes, and… again, if EMI wanted to be stingy, save up the US-only remixes for some future release. But at least give me the UK material now.

  34. Louis says:

    I dreamed a true box singles of PET SHOP BOYS.
    We can dreamed. I will be ready to put 200 euros to have a box with all the extended, B-side, remixes and instrumentals and other rarities. Remastered perfect. Original master tapes. Why not edition limited… Me I buy 2 box. I DREAM ! ! !

  35. David says:

    I love 80’s mixes and I don’t think PSBs ones are particularly boring.I prefer the extended mixes to The 90’s ones which are generally dull soulless dance music.Generally down to which remixer was popular at the given time.

    • Gareth Pugh says:

      I very much agree with David above, with very few exceptions the PSBs 80s era remixed were of very high quality, musically. They too suffered from the general, industry-wide parting of the ways between mainstream pop culture and dance mixes around the turn of the 90s when the ‘extended mix’ treatments of singles became much rarer, with artists either giving up on doing remixes (a-Ha for a time, Howard Jones, and many others who had previously excelled at the art) or moving to more dance-culture reworkings by DJs rather than the remixes springing so much from their (and the original track’s) own musical ‘world’. But they, along with a few others like Erasure, still frequently had a couple of good worthwhile mixes per single. Looking at Craig’s excellent list (thank you!) above makes me realise just how much I have already got. As a ‘thing’ (what a very disappointed Queen-loving fan called their singles box sets called them when they ended up containing much less than the launch blurb from EMI originally promised), I would still jump for a really nicely done PSB box even if it limited itself to gathering up all the commercially released tracks and mixes and did something great with replicating the artworks. But I’m not sure that something different, like SuperDeluxe boxes per album, might not now be the better way to go for the die-hards…

  36. DJ Control says:

    The Nana’s singles box is a dream come true for me. I was about to start filling the holes of my collection but now Demon Music have done it in one box. I’m glad it’s not like the Kylie 25 singles box. What a rip that was and I’m pretty sure Robbie Williams did a singles box set with only one track on each disc a few years back. I hope this new Bananarama set finds a market and we see more comprehensive sets like it. My list of artists that I would like one from is almost endless.

  37. JuzzyB says:

    PSBs CD Singles Box? No thanks – I’ve already got boxes of CD singles and I never play them.
    Deluxe Reissues? Yes please, so long as they contain interesting or rare stuff, not just mixes that we all have already, and don’t forget the 5.1 mixes (can you imagine Two Divided By Zero in surround sound?)

  38. Marcel Rijs says:

    As a completist, a singles box can be joyous (the Depeche Mode cdsingles-boxsets were beautiful if a little expensive) or a nightmare (I still haven’t bought Queen cdsingles box sets no. 2 onwards since no. 1 was so disappointing with only 2 tracks each and covers taken from all sorts of countries). When put together in the right way – such as this Bananarama set – it is almost heavenly.
    Personally, I would almost kill for Kate Bush and Kim Wilde cd-singles box sets. I have settled for the next best thing and created the Kim Wilde set myself, depending on various cd’s and some vinyl rips to pull this off. But there’s something about an ‘official’ release that makes this modern-day hometaping seem awkward still. I understand not every artist is popular enough for a set like this, but come on… Pet Shop Boys and Kate Bush would sell like crazy. And EMI were famous for releasing more compilations than there were official albums for any band or artist (another Duran Duran compilation, anyone?). So I guess it’s also down to the artists, as both PSB and Kate Bush are famous for their complete control over everything.

    Am I rambling? In short: fans will always want cd-single box sets, other people not so much. Personally, I think I will buy the Bananarama set if it come below the £50 mark. Even if I think only the first half of their career was really interesting.

  39. Joey says:

    Yes a deluxe PSB reissue sounds best. Again a bluray or two for each album that has everything… Album, bsides demos promo mixes 7″ and 12″ possibly videos, but that may be a seperate project, mixes and a nice book with interviews and details of the art and all of the various rare pressings, like the PSB catalogue book…. And there you have a good tidy package that does not take up so much space you need to sleep outside. Mind, these are relics of a forgotten era, pre-cd, and do not garner the tireless respect of aging hippies, or bored hipsters, a Comprehensive PSB project is due, much like the new Phil Collins reissues. Besides once this treasure trove is sold, it would cost WB next to nothing to offer the music for download for the less discerning fans, But keeping what is there left to rot unreleased is unwise and a waste of good resource. Deluxe reissues are a niche market, It isn’t like there will be more people in ten years who want all of this stuff, and even if there are, it isnt like people arent going to buy it in the future because the stuff is released now, or because it is old…. Add a new fresh coat of paint and a 2025 remix a hologram of neil and chris and people will still buy West End Girls.

  40. Pughie says:

    Erasure fans have been crying out for some sort of b-side compilation for many years,this year being their 30th Anniversary Year the need for any sort of retrospective b-side release to co-inside with this milestone in their career is getting beyond a joke it’s coming up to half way through the year and as yet no real concrete evidence of any release apart from a possible vinyl album re-issue.
    A straight forward b-side release may not cut the mustard but maybe some sort of remixed affair like Madonna did with the Immaculate Collection is in order?
    Erasure always seem to be the poor relation next to the PSBs as far as critical acclaim goes,but people can’t deny their lasting legacy to the synthpop genre and at 30 years surely something special should be planned,how many of today’s acts will still be around making great music after 30 years?

  41. Ray judson says:

    I’m a sucker for singles box sets! As a big fan of 45’s and 12″ singles, it is very cool when they maximize each CD single replica disc to include all of the various tracks found on all worldwide releases of each single. Depeche Mode did a great job with this and actually, for the most part, the last Stones singles box that covered the 70’s through today rounded up almost all of the Non-LP tracks and remixes from the period. Yes, I want all 7 remixes of Mixed Emotions! The “Further Listening” Pet Shop Boys reissues from years back were great for what was the deluxe theme of the time: a 2 disc set with a disc of extra tracks and in the case of the PSB, excellent liner notes from the guys. It just wasn’t the norm back then to go all Super Deluxe and include everything associated with ta particular project. Today, after some great reissues lately including the TFF sets that Paul was involved with (which are fantastic and a model for every artist), we as fans rightfully expect more! The recent Song From the Big Chair set was pretty much what I want in a reissue: All associated bonus tracks from the era with great explanations of where each track came from and what the various differences in the track are (which is great info if you do not know every remix and edit inside and out!), the album proper in Hi-Res stereo and 5.1, interviews with band members, producers, managers, etc…, and all promo videos and live footage from the era. If you want to throw in a replica poster or backstage passes or a deluxe book like the McCartney series and the like I am fine with that too….just not in favor of including what is most important…THE MUSIC! Do these reissues correctly and the fans will buy them. Simple as that. Some other recent honorable mentions (production mistakes aside) are the Simple Minds Sparkle in the Rain set, Bryan Adams Reckless, and the Jethro Tull series. All great value and fun to go through.

  42. I definitely would like to have all the PSB-singles on CD with all the different versions commercially released (and perhaps some from DMC in addition, including the Ben Liebrand remix from What have I done to deserve this?). But I think it will cost too much for ‘normal’ people who have a family to feed. I should say, go on with the further listening series, but then with 3CD-boxes and include as much remixes and rare tracks as possible. The B-sides aren’t neccessary, because they are released on ‘regular’ CD’s. And put extra music on the first CD (the ‘standard’ album).

  43. Simon F says:

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the really excellent Girls Aloud singles box set from 2009. Twenty one CD singles containing every B-side, remix, promo/DJ mixes, stuff from rare 7″ and 12″ singles and even some cuts that were originally only available as downloads, along with videos and even some computer games! Plus a rarities disc and a karaoke video disc, and booklet penned by Mr. Pop himself Peter Robinson all packaged in a metal miniature flight case with lock, and two keys! If the Nana’s set (which I have on pre-order_ is half as good as this, it’s gonna be an utter delight!

  44. Robert Atkin says:

    Interesting that all the Fish Marillion singles were issued as a box-set of separate CD’s and now can be obtained as a complete three disc set for as little as £4.99 as of yesterday on Amazon.co.uk

    I notice they did not do the same for the Steve Hogarth Marillion singles box-set.

    Food thought.

  45. Melvin says:

    PSB’s collections including the Further Listening sets, disco 1-4, singles compilations and live albums etc are good enough for me combined with the original singles and 12″s. Only thing I would really like from them is to compile some of the more exclusive mixes from rare promo’s. Or something like “30 years of dance” including some of their best remixes and offering their take on the way dance has developed. Something like that would be fun. PSB were never about doing what anyone else does. And let’s hope and pray they keep control over their own catalogue and don’t let the numerous reissue companies create something below standard.

  46. Mike says:

    I agree with Simon F, the Girls Aloud box was great and being flogged off at £25 a pop after 6 months – which is a lesson for Demon for the Bananas….

    • Darren says:

      Comparing Bananarama with Girls Aloud is like comparing The Saturdays with The Spice Girls. You have to compare like with like to make a valid point.

      Besides, I don’t believe the Girls Aloud box was being sold at £25. It was going for crazy money on eBay and genuinely very difficult to get hold of until they did a second run. Are you talking about some time late in the day when things had calmed down? It is plausible that some remaining stock was sold off cheaper at the end of that second run just to clear out the remaining stock quickly and move on. But I never saw that. Where and when did you see this?

      • Simon F says:

        I bought my Girls Aloud box from Universal in late 2012, and having checked up it was £25! Great value. I’ve just had a look at the Universal site but it’s vanished now since the site has undergone a major revamp along with a whole load of other stuff.

  47. Darren says:

    Anyone who takes notice will be aware that CD single boxes by top artists only escalate in price. Some are now impossible to find in decent condition for a reasonable price, because the demand far outstrips supply. So anyone waiting for the Bananarama CD single box to fall below £50 is living in a fantasy world.

  48. Carlton Fisher says:

    What might make more sense, from a financial standpoint and avoiding “retreading ground” might be to continue the Further Listening line and adding in some collections like the Depeche Mode remix collections for the non-PSB mixes, since those are not included on the Further listening discs. With the further listening discs, we get all of the b-sides, plus the PSB remix versions and outtakes. Then the remix collections could focus on the non-PSB material, maintaining the focus they have established within the Further Listening series while still providing something for the completeists.

    And I really, really, really want the Closer to Heaven tracks that were recorded by PSB. I have downloads of them, but I would like official, mastered, proper versions.

  49. Matt says:

    NO LIVE MATERIAL, please (ha!). They just take up space and add to the cost.

  50. Vinny Vero says:

    Fun fact! I was developing a singles box with PSB when I worked at EMI. This would have been released around the time of “Alternative”. After a change in the upper management at EMI in the US, the newly hired execs decided they didn’t see the point in a box set. They thought no one would buy it. One of the few times I thought about begging and pleading on hands and knees to make it happen. I’m sure I still have the tracklistings and design ideas in my files. I am a (tidy) hoarder.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      That sounds like a good feature idea… the PSB singles box that didn’t happen! Fancy sharing? :)

    • dominic says:

      I’d love to hear about that Vinny. I was actually hoping you were working with the boys on whatever the forthcoming reissue project is. An outsider’s perspective, especially a fan’s is always helpful.

  51. billyboyz says:

    I would love a remastered series of singles. One can dream.

    I have a chicken or the egg question!

    One thing Ive noticed with the Actually Further Listening is that Heart disco mix is 8.40 running time. However the CD single is 8.30.

    Was Actually further listening slowed to make it run at 8.40? Or was that the original speed & the CD single sped up?

    Was the edit of this also sped up on Discography as its the same bpm as the cd single?

  52. Gregory Chervier says:

    @billyboyz: to answer your question I have put both Heart tracks in Samplitude software side by side to compare. The “Actually Further Listening” version is slowed down indeed, hence the extra 10 seconds. I don’t know which one is supposed to have the correct speed. Both tracks are based on the same version.

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