Saturday Deluxe / 8 August 2015


Alison Moyet and the politics around the deluxe reissue

Alison Moyet this week announced some deluxe reissues. I was going to be cheeky and title the post “Alison Moyet reissues – just not the ones you want” but I thought that was a little bit harsh on Cooking Vinyl who have put the work into the new two-CD sets of  Hometime, The Voice and Turn. I’ll admit to having lost interest in Moyet’s work at this point in time (meaning the noughties), but maybe I need to revisit because there seems to be a fair amount of love for Hometime with a few of you declaring it to be ‘a masterpiece’.

The ‘Sony4’ as the early albums were amusingly dubbed in the discussion about the new deluxe editions, remain unreissued, with Alf’s 30th anniversary been and gone! We are told by team Moyet that “work has been done on curating these albums and their associated tracks” which rather suggests we are slowly approaching the end of the reissue rainbow and when we get there, we may well find a pot of gold made up of remixes, B-sides and the like. Or maybe we won’t. On AM’s facebook page whoever writes the posts did add the rather annoying and disingenuous line “Does that mean it will happen? Who knows”. Well Alison Moyet knows, that’s who!

I can more or less guarantee that a major label like Sony or Warners’ default position is that they would love to reissue big selling classic albums such as Wham‘s Make It Big, Fleetwood Mac‘s Tango In The Night, Sade‘s Diamond Life…. and Alison Moyet‘s Alf. So if any of those albums aren’t reissued (none of them have been) it will be because either the artist has to approve it and they aren’t interested, or the artist doesn’t have approval but it is in the label’s long-term interests to build a relationship with their ex-artist, so they perhaps hold back in order not to annoy them off and hope things change over time. In general, they aren’t going to license out this kind of A-lister material to the Cherry Reds or Edsels of this world.

I guess you can’t blame some acts for being reluctant to re-engage with former labels – there could be all sorts of unresolved issues. They might be still bearing a grudge for that ‘under promoted’ album that the label didn’t get behind or a decade of ill-thought out ‘greatest hits’ compilations they had no knowledge of. On the flip-side of that coin the label may consider the artist ‘unrecouped’, where a flop album didn’t earn enough to even payback the advance, so the label were left in the red. Or it could be a lot worse than that – such as the situation with Holly Johnson and ZTT Records where he had to sue them to release himself from his contract. Why is he suddenly going to help his old label promote a reissue? (he did actually do some promotion for Universal’s Frankie Say compilation, but that was purely in return for seeing some of his solo albums back in print).

Then there is the I’m-a-multi-millionaire-now-so-why-am-I-bothered factor. Sting is probably a member of that club. He has sold billions of records, he’s on a world tour that will earn him tens of millions of pounds and he likes to spend time on projects close to his heart like The Last Ship. But please could he stop everything to get involved in a reissue that might sell 30k copies and earn him next to nothing. Er, no thanks. Hence we haven’t seen a 30th anniversary Dream of the Blue Turtles reissue and none of The Police‘s albums have ever been celebrated with individual deluxe or super deluxe sets.

Everyone’s different. Paul McCartney is richer than Sting (and just as busy) but he perhaps feels like some of his past work is either misunderstood or under appreciated. So he wants to spend time and effort on re-presentation. 1971’s RAM was famously dismissed by Rolling Stone as “the nadir in the decomposition of Sixties rock” but 40 years later when lovingly reissued as a 5-disc deluxe set critics were a hell of a lot kinder too it. He’s about to do the same thing again with Tug of War and Pipes of Peace.

So all in all, there could be a multitude of reasons why certain albums haven’t been reissued. Broadly speaking though, if the artist wants the album re-released they should be able to make it happen, through persuasion, negotiation, and cooperation. If they don’t want it reissued then the persuasion and negotiation may come from the label’s side! Howard Jones was canny. He didn’t want to sit back and wait for someone else to muck around with his legacy (or perhaps not do anything with it), so he was hands-on and actively re-licensed his old material from Warners and put out remastered box sets on his own dtox label.

We will wait with interest to see what happens to Alison Moyet’s Sony4!

104 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 8 August 2015

  1. Robert says:

    I dont understand the artists reluctance to re-issue. They all seem to carry some bitterness towards their old record labels but that shouldn’t be geared towards their fans by denying them of special editions of previous work. After all the labels wont make much off of these deluxe versions so they are towards the fans. I always found it ironic that one of the artist that has been treated the best with his catalog is Bob Dylan. It seems all the releases from Columbia and Asylum have been re-released along with numerous box sets. If Dylan can do it then no one should be beyond it.

  2. Robert M says:

    I would love to see reissues from the following. I know some had reissues already, but I’m sure they could be improved on:

    Laura Branigan
    Olivia Newton-John
    Jody Watley
    Fleetwood Mac
    Jane Wiedlin
    Bonnie Tyler
    Toni Basil
    Sheena Easton
    Pat Benatar
    Hall & Oates
    Irene Cara
    Dead Or Alive
    Pet Shop Boys

  3. Carl says:

    I have been hanging out of Deaf Or Alive’s albums to be reissued for years.
    A few years ago Sony Japan tried to re-release some albums on CD in mini replica album sleeves. That was stopped just before release.
    A compilation of 12″ mixes was also to be released and cover art is still found online with a google search. This too was stopped just before release.
    Pete Burns sold all rights to the Dead or Alive back catalogue over 10 years ago.
    Somehow he still has control in releases.
    The closest we ever got was a slightly expanded ‘sophisticated boom boom’ which was mastered from the original japan CD and additional tracks were from vinyl.
    Their biggest album ‘Youthquake’ is now over 30 years old. This is well overdue for deluxe treatment.

  4. Heinerich says:

    I agree with Robert M.. I look for the 12″ versions on reissues as well… And I especially love the 12″ mixes from the eighties.

  5. Robert M says:

    I grew up in the 80s with the 12″ single. I love them. Grant it some weren’t that great, but most were very good. I look for the 12″ versions on reissues. It seems odd to see a group like FM or an artist like Bruce to have some on their albums, but they were released and they did make them money. They should be part of the package. I might be outnumbered here, but it’s part of the collecting of the artist.

  6. Ed says:

    In addition to much discussed already, I’d like to see more Def Leppard remasters. Just three so far, and ‘Pyromania’ didn’t half need it. The original album always sounded terrible. I’d love to see the first two albums, particularly ‘High’N’Dry’, plus the non-album tracks that they probably find really embarrassing now! :-)

    However, last I heard was they were at war with their former label (and re-recording new versions of old tracks for iTunes), so I’m not holding my breath.

  7. gary C says:

    Maybe we are just gonna have to do without…
    I could find it quite crushing as an artist if I put out a remastered version of an album, with some vinyl only b-sides on CD for the first time, only to have them ignored while people gripe about the lack of remixes and extended versions that I have bugger all to do with.
    Don’t get me wrong, all part of the catalogue etc and I love some of those remixes, but using The Boss as an example, he will never put all those Kevorkian remixes on a Born In The USA deluxe edition, and even the most discerning 80’s obsessive will agree that a lot of them are pretty poor.

  8. RJS says:

    I can’t really see any Prince set getting a release within his lifetime.

  9. bob says:

    I can’t really see the prince set getting a release this year.

  10. PAC says:

    That’s Cherry, Neneh Cherry !

  11. Foxee says:

    Loads of great points made in these threads, but picking up on the Fleetwood Mac reissues, I agree that the 12″ mixes of the ‘Tango’ singles have probably passed their sell-by date now (I think the worst is actually the ‘Everywhere’ 12″), but remember that there were lots of demos, especially from Stevie Nicks, for this album which have never been officially released – e.g. ‘What Has Rock and Roll Ever Done For You’ and ‘Joan of Arc’ – and a complete recording of the ‘Tango Tour’ show, of which there has only ever been a 60-minute edit.

    As for ‘Mirage’, how long have we waited for a decent remaster of the legendary 1982 show, and in its full edit??? Plus, there is the set they performed at the ‘Us’ festival that year too, of which only highlights have been released. ‘Mirage’ will be short of bonus completed studio tracks, but again there are a wealth of demos for this one too.

    I note the comment on ‘Buckingham/ Nicks’ – Stevie and Lindsey actually own this album themselves, and have talked about a deluxe edition of it for a few years now (plus a tour). One might assume that ‘issues’ in their relationship might be part of the reason why this still hasn’t gotten an official release, and now with a reformed FM and new album in the works, it seems highly unlikely a BN tour will ever happen.

    Finally, I have to put a word in for Stevie Nicks’ solo albums – especially the classic 4 from the 80s. Everyone knows that the amount of bonus material is massive – both audio and video – for these, including fully recorded complete concerts from each of the supporting tours. Nicks is in the process of completing studio recordings of many of her old demos, which might be why some may be held back, but it seems crazy that for such a successful and prolific artist there is NOT ONE remaster or deluxe edition of these multi-playinum albums!!!!

  12. Darren says:

    Speaking of Prince, I finally decided to buy the “1999” album on CD. I only had the vinyl before. The CD sounds awful, particularly “Little Red Corvette”. It sounds fine on “The Hits/The B-Sides (3CD)” though. So clearly there are better quality masters available. I can’t believe that such a major album from one of the 80’s biggest stars is served with such a poor CD. What is even more shocking is that out of 25 reviews on Amazon, most are 5 star reviews. Granted the music is great, but the recording sounds awful.

  13. Derek Cornish says:

    Oh, and don’t get me started onPrince. He promised us a 30th anniversary of Purple Rain last year. There could be a 3 or 4 disc version with all the stuff he has in the vaults from this era. Would love to hear “when doves cry” with the bass he had removed

  14. Derek Cornish says:

    Even when an artist gets reissued the right way sometimes hey leave things off….for example..ZTT has done a great job with Frankie and the art Of Noise, but even with 2 or 3 discs of bonus material something may be left out. For example, AON’s Into Battle did not include the 7″ mix of Beat Box

  15. Ellie says:

    I think sometimes with the Deluxes, it does help if the band reform, produce a new album. people suddenly become interested again in their back catalogue. A band springs to mind a-ha. I might be very cynical, but if they did none of the above, what would the chances of crying, East and memorial beach being deluxed.

  16. RJS says:

    I’m not at all fussed about remasters – they’re vastly over-hyped, over-priced and overrated but I would love to see an expanded edition of Tango In the Night and expanded editions of Prince’s albums, from Dirty Mind to Lovesexy.

  17. Eric says:

    I might be biased due to it being one of the very early CDs I ever bought in 1987, but Tango In The Night has always sounded fantastic to me. It has a pristine sharpness, without too much ear-fatiguing bass or treble.

  18. PAC says:

    A serious Cherry survey compilation,+ deluxe versions, is another case of being way overdue.

  19. Darren says:

    One way to satisfy the fans requests for 7″ and 12″ mixes if the artist isn’t keen would be to do a limited edition CD that is available only for a short time. Make it clear that it is a limited edition and once gone, that’s it. It would enable fans who have been waiting 25+ years to finally get what they’ve been hoping for all this time and it would be excellent P.R.

    It’s pretty shoddy when artists block something just because they don’t like it. Marilyn’s “Despite Straight Lines” is a good example. He blocked the inclusion of “Pray For That Sunshine” which was not only one of the original album tracks but had also been one of his singles.

  20. Paul Edwards says:

    Agreed re Born In The USA but the remastered version from the recent albums collection box sounds fantastic and a very different album! The River was also improved hugely.

    As for Prince he’s a prat. He doesn’t make it easy for fans to buy his new stuff. I won’t sign up to tidal, I’ll end up getting it off a torrent. I have his classic albums on record and CD and buy most of his stuff but I’m not chasing around and signing up to services I don’t want!

    I just don’t get the idea of streaming

    • Darren says:

      I agree with you Paul. Prince is being very short-sighted. Apparently Tidal has about 15 million paying subscribers currently. Of those 15 million, how many like Prince and want his new music? Also, how many Prince fans that might be interested in the music are not interested in signing up to Tidal. I’m not. I have no interest in it whatsoever.

      • Carlton Fisher says:

        I’m not paying a subscription fee to “stream” an album I’m never going to actually be able to own. Give me a CD to buy, in a store, with artwork. I don’t like the idea of paying for the imaginary ownership of data that’s “somewhere out there.”

  21. RocketManLA says:

    I worked in the music business for 25 years. All good points above. A couple things that haven’t been mentioned. 1. sometimes the artist has no interest. I did the reissues of an artist located in the UK (I’m in Los Angeles) who wanted nothing to do with the reissues of his catalog in the US. He would’t give me anything, no artwork, no tracks, no input. I mastered the bonus track from my own records, which ended up sounding TOO good and had to be “dumbed down” to work with the sonic quality of the albums. I did talk to him in person when he played here years later and he told me he wasn’t even interested in the album his tour was promoting, it was “old news.” and 2. sometimes the artist has no control over their catalog. I worked with a 70s act whose 6 album catalog (plus compilations) had never been released on cd, except for their first two albums in Japan only, very expensive and long out of print. But their record company (A&M) didn’t want to reissue their catalog on cd, even though they had 2 #1 hits, 5 Top 10 singles and several others. Eventually (in many ways, too little too late) a small label issued the catalog on cd, but that company didn’t last long and now, again, their entire catalog is out of print.

    PS Fleetwood Mac is probably my all-time favorite band, and the sound quality on the Tango in the Night and Mirage cds is TERRIBLE. I’m a DJ and I can’t play tracks from those cds because they sound so bad. Even if they just did a straight sonic upgrade I would be thrilled (don’t care much for the 12″ versions, but I have all those anyway in digital form.

    just saying.
    from Rod aka DJ RocketManLA

    • alan hansen says:

      and with the redundant risk of being redundant: the Tango In The Night 4 non-lp/b-side would be sweet as honey on a deluxe edition: “ricky,” “down endless street,” “book of miracles,” and the lovely “you and i (part 1)” – add those to disc one and leave all the sub-par remix material for disc 2. again, sorry for the redundancy again.

  22. Gareth Pugh says:

    Really good read, thanks Paul! I suppose one other angle is when the fans want something from a reissue project and the artist wants something slightly different. For instance, where the fanbase, understandably, wants a ‘scrape everything into the box’ approach of including all the remixes, dubs etc. (released and, where they exist lurking only on promos, unreleased), but the artist themselves see the project as being about presenting a rounded experience of the total body of work that was the album and *some* of the extra material that surrounded it. It can get a bit tricky when you get to 90s albums of synth-electronic based pop acts when there could be 7, 10, sometimes even more commercially released mixes of a single – to get all of those onto a deluxe can be tricky in terms of space and risks making the overall 2 or 3 disc listening experience a bit lop-sided.The Holly Johnson reissues (notably Blast!) are bit like that, with disc 2 being mainly made up of multiple mixes of the first 2 singles, near enough (still a good set to have, though, despite one or two awful quality vinyl rips creeping in!)

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I agree that once you get deep into the ’90s the remix situation is tricky. In the 1980s you might have one, two or at a push three versions of a key track but when stuff started to get outsourced to multiple ‘name’ DJs a decade later remixes start to feel rather ‘outside’ the core offering of B-sides, album tracks etc.

  23. Stephen E Cohen says:

    I am no expert on sound, but I think I have lived enough in the cd age to know what sounds generally good and what sounds bad. Some of the worst sounding cd’s that I own are “Make It Big”, “Alf”, and “Born In The USA” and the first few Dead Or Alive and Fabulous Thunderbirds discs, all released under the big Sony umbrella. Coincidence? I am not sure. Then again, I can own a nice album under the same umbrella, such as Steve Perry’s “Street Talk”, remastered quite well with 5 additional tracks, or something bigger and obviously, more profitable, like the Michael Jackson or Billy Joel discs, and be completely satisfied. Just a lack of consistency is what is frustrating to me.

  24. ken says:

    Looking forward to Phil Collin’s reissues and hopefully expanded.

    • alan hansen says:

      but PLEASE let them NOT be remixed like Genesis – or at the very least include a remastered original version alongside the newly remixed one – at least Paul McCartney was smart enough to that on the upcoming “Tug Of War” set.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’m looking forward to Phil Collins too!

  25. Gord says:

    Someone should give Madonna a call and tell her about these ‘Deluxe Reissue’ thingies…

  26. Daltronica says:

    As a huge Todd Rundgren fan I was delighted to see his entire output, and that of equally beloved Utopia, reissued as 3 fers recently. Slim on extras and not deluxe but I wasn’t complaining. But then less than a year later his solo bearsville stuff comes out in deluxe single disc editions with liner notes and extras. Who is going to shell out for these after the previous editions. (I usually don’t agree with changing album cover art but Another Live was a perfect exception.)

  27. Psv1 says:

    A good friend of mine worked for Sanctuary Records, the label that put out Hometime by Alison Moyet. At the time I asked him if there were any remixes going to be released and he said she absolutely did’t want it. That makes me believe that Alison is the one holding up these Sony4 reissues.

    I thought Hometime was not properly produced, way too underwhelming. I was hoping for some remixes that could fix that but I was told she wanted it that way and that there would be no remixes. The tracklist of the reissue confirms that there were no remixes done. Too bad. I understand an artist grows and evolves but there are also fans who brought the artist where she is today. Give them something too!!

  28. ken says:

    Is Tears for Fears working a box set for The Seeds of Love?
    Will there be one for Simple Minds Once Upon a Time or New Gold Dream?
    Paul I assume you would have the inside track on those.

    Others I would like to see one day:
    David Bowie Low and Scary Monsters
    The Beatles St Pepper and White
    China Crisis Working with Fire and Steel and Flaunt the Imperfection
    Crowded House anything by them
    Squeeze Eastside Story
    Howard Jones could you please do Humans Lib and Dream into Action with all the b-sides and 12″ mixes
    Pink Floyd Animals and Meddle
    U2 Rattle and Hum
    Kate Bush anything
    Sting first four solo
    The Police anything
    REM Automatic for the People

    I could go on……

    Duran Duran Wedding

    • alan hansen says:

      very nice list! DD needs to get on with their reissue campaign as well – i believe that Liberty is the next in line chronologically-speaking. the TFF i think will materialize by christmas and i’d auction-off a small body part for my favourite Simple Minds outing – New Gold Dream!

      • Wax Monster X says:

        My feeling for the Minds is that if they did Sparkle they will get to NGD. Gotta. It’s the cream of the catalog.

    • Gareth Pugh says:

      Good list Ken, and I remain baffled that they haven’t done a lot more with Kate Bush’s fantastic musical heritage than a slightly expanded Hounds of Love many years ago now (and, okay, the remaster of The Red Shoes, I think, that accompanied the deluxe of Director’s Cut?).

      But Howard Jones effectively did make his 12″ mixes and B-side tracks, remastered, available again, but he just slide the cake in a different direction, so to speak, than attaching them to their respective albums. So, Human’s Lib and Dream Into Action came with contemporary live tracks (some unreleased, one or two from old 12″ extra tracks of fan club 7″ pressings), and that did cause some outcry of ‘where are the 12″ mixes??’ These surfaced in a box set of their own, centred around his 2 mid-80s remix albums, remastered, plus a bonus disc of tons of his other 12″ mixes from the first 2 albums (and a free download of the one he couldn’t squeeze on). The 3rd box in the series, covering his last 3 Warners albums, had 2 bonus discs carrying most of the remixes from those eras (and again, the unreleased 12″ mixes prepared for the never-happened Powerhouse single, although frustratingly he left out the rare-as-heck ‘Institute Mix’ of Everlasting Love, from a rare 2nd CD single that was nigh-on impossible even at the time of release – I’m told he wasn’t that keen on it artistically). The Warners-era B-sides, all remastered and nicely polished up, are on the 2003 ‘Very Best Of’ bonus disc. So it’s all out there and – I think – all still available, you’ll just need to curate your own ‘expanded album’ playlists I guess.

  29. Tim says:

    I’ve stopped second-guessing with labels and artists, but then look how good both the Beatles and Stones reissues turned out after years of having to suffer with those first-generation CDs, which were frankly awful. It is puzzling that Alison’s early years are being overlooked, and as for Sting/The Police, there must be some extra stuff worth sharing. I’ll believe it when I see it, but I think it’ll happen eventually. Sting should ring up Macca and ask how it’s done!

  30. bob says:

    Apparently there will be Bowie deluxe 40th anniversary sets in 2017 and 2020, these are under the terms of his current contract.

  31. Johan says:

    I would very much like to see deluxe editions of Sting and Police albums beeing released, but I don’t expect that to happen in the near future. Sting has often stated he hates nostalgia so I don’t think it’s a financial motive or the lack thereof.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be…

    • Darren says:

      I’d like a Police CD to include the 7″ versions of “Walking On The Moon” & “Message In A Bottle”, both of which have never been on CD. I find the album versions go on too long with the repeated choruses. I find myself hoping they will hurry up and fade. The 7″ mixes are just the right length.

  32. Rob C says:

    A shame we are waiting for some artists to get the glossy treatment while others reissue to death.

    Take China Crisis – outside of their 5th and final album for Virgin (which was farmed out to Cherry Red as a 2-Cd deluxe) they haven’t seen any of their classic back catalogue reissued in any form. A bit of a head scratcher. Fans have been anxiously waiting – not sure if this is a band or label decision to withhold.

    Last years deluxe vinyl reissue of The The’s classic Soul Mining album didn’t even get a CD issue – problematic and frustrating for those of use who haven’t jumped on the vinyl revival.

    Some labels have by-passed the individual reissues entirely by issuing clam shell box sets of heritage acts – Edsel has done this for The Sound and Comsat Angels; Cherry Red for McCarthy, Eyeless In Gaza, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, etc and Beggars Banquet for Love And Rockets, The Fall, Icicle Works, Gary Numan, etc. For some more obscure artists this may be the solution.

    Paul, you mentioned A-list artists not farming out to Edsel – The Pretenders sold heaps of records in their heyday but still reissued their catalogue via Edsel. Universal finally did the right thing for Level 42 while Iva Davies (Icehouse) was directly involved in ensuring his back catalogue was curated and back in print.

    Depeche Mode madingly reissued their back catalogue but put the bonus stuff on DVDs, which I believe was a bit dismissive of what their fanbase wanted. The Cure started their campaign but have yet to finish reissuing their back catalogue – Wish, Mixed Up and their 90s and beyond works are left unissued. Finally, New Order saw their Factory back catalogue given the deluxe treatment but have neglected their 90s and beyond output.

    What I don’t understand is why we still don’t have remasters for such popular artists like The B-52s, The Cars, China Crisis, Scritti Politti or Oingo Boingo for example. Other popular artists like The Smiths, Kraftwerk, INXS, Midnight Oil, The Police and Public Image Ltd have had straight remasters with no bonus tracks – another cause of frustration for longtime fans. Finally their are some bands who can’t get reissued at all or have long fallen out of print – Real Life, Blancmange, The Snake Corps and heaps others fall in this category.

    It becomes incredibly frustrating when you know the artist themselves are behind the lack of movement regarding their back catalogue – this smacks of arrogance and quite frankly spits in the faces of the very fans who bought their work and ensure their legacy in the first place.

    While there is no perfect solution here it would be nice to see much of this music finally given the treatment it deserves while the artists involved are still living and before the fans turn their backs permanently.

    • Martin Lee says:

      Taking up with some of what Rob C has said. I have been a long time fan of Blancmange, the reissues from a few years ago aside, I think they are one of the bands well placed to have possibly a tears for fears type release.

      I have loads if 12″s and 7″s from back in the day. There are also al the videos along with TOTPs appearances, I have at least one live show and there must be interview material to include.

      Finish it off with a book of artwork and written interviews and maybe the work on West Indian Company/Pandit Dinesh, a packet of strawberry blancmange mix and I’m all over it.

      In terms of sales I think any Kraftwerk SDE would be a winner. They must have so much material to include, mixes, live performances, alternate language version…

      Would also be good to see the early projects too.

    • Darren says:

      It does seem strange that artists like Scritti Politti haven’t had any deluxe treatment. You can’t even get the full 12″ mix of “Boom! There She Was” on CD or the 7″ single version of “Absolute”. Crazy!

    • alan hansen says:

      @Rob C: just a short note of clarification vis-a-vis The Cars: the first 3 (4?) were quietly remastered and reissued by Elektra about 10-15 years ago – check for the HDCD marking on the back liner notes. additionally, “The Cars” = 2CD deluxe remastered edition on Elektra and remastered gold-disc on DCC, “Shake It Up” remastered gold-disc on MF, “Greatest Hits” remastered on gold (long OOP and i don’t have it, damnit! – the only place to get the remix of “i’m not the one”)… “Heartbeat City” remastered on gold on Audio Fidelity (the bloody fools left out all the original artwork/lyrics), and “Door To Door” is a standard remaster on Friday Music. CHEERS!

  33. Superharry says:

    Great article! This probably also explains why there still is no Purple Rain 30 edition, although announced last year when Prince released his two new albums on Warner. The Purple Midget probably backed out, as he often does. Such a shame!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yeah, probably. Prince has just announced a new album that’s exclusive to Tidal. Yawn.

      • Darren says:

        Who on earth is going to want a Prince album that is exclusive to Tidal? I was a massive Prince fan in the 80s. I bought everything and went to see him in concert numerous times. I’ve even got some of his later output, but I have virtually zero interest in him now because he is just another one of these self-absorbed assh***s now. Purple pain!

  34. Mark B. Hanson says:

    Concerning artist involvement, I am ambivalent. Some of the best reissue packages are done without the artist’s involvement (Van Morrison’s Moondance box), or after they are dead (George Harrision and John Lennon remasters). Being able to write an essay about the artist without having to avoid offending him / her often makes the historical portion of the deluxe package better.

  35. Brian says:

    Speaking of other well established artists, I thought Bowie would have done an 30th anniversary box set for Let’s Dance. Or Springsteen for Born in the USA (there’s still time for that one).

    The anniversary box set seem to have become such a standard thing to do now. Where did that all start?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      You do wonder what they are waiting for. The fans in their teens or twenties originally, are now in their forties and fifties! Presumably it’s advantageous if your target audience are alive to buy the reissues!?

      • Wax Monster X says:

        Right on! It would be nice to get certain deluxe reissue while we are still able to hear them. Although no one else cares I’m after deluxe remastered reissues of the China Crisis catalog. Ditto the rest of the OMD’s (correctly done, that’s you Junk Culture I’m looking at!). Batfish Boys on CD would be nice. Better THE THE, Pet Shops Boys and ABC. And like everyone else who grew up in the 70’s / 80’s I would love some good sounding Prince. I haven’t been able to listen to his catalog in years unless I drag out my LP’s. The red book CD’s are just an abomination.

        Seriously, the 40/50 year olds are the target audience. We got the money and the interest. Get busy while we are still young-ish enough to care.

        • Joe says:

          Well you are wrong that no one else cares about China Crisis. You have good taste. I care to the point that I would sell my children and mother into slavery to get Deluxe Two-CD Editions of the Whole Classic China Crisis Catalogue! No but all kidding aside I would love to see this vastly under-appreciated band get the recognition they deserve. They are brilliant! A lot of my friends would like to see Deluxe Editions of their catalog so Cherry Red Records …pay attention! You guys already delivered with Diary of a Hollow Horse….Now finish the job please!

    • Neil says:

      What would you put on a box set of Let’s Dance as there were no 12 inch mixes from that album or B sides apart from a remix of Shake It.

  36. alan hansen says:

    i would agree completely about the FM “Tango In The Night” 12″ remixes (mostly inconsequential), but the non-lp/b-sides are top-notch!

  37. Mike the Fish says:

    The 12″ mixes I’ve heard from Tango In The Night really don’t complement the band’s sound. I normally love the remixes being stuck on a bonus disc (and being complete *sigh – if only*) but Tango strikes me as an album that could really, really do without late 80s club beats and synth bass.

    • Mike says:

      Those 12″ mixes though were very innovative remixes and were huge club hits, so there is a whole different audience for Tango than just the album, which is also bloody amazing. The only mix set of that year which bested was ironically ESP – The Bee Gees, also Arthur Baker, cruelly ignored on the reissue last year.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I do agree with this. Even as a remix lover, some of Arthur Baker’s reworkings of Big Love make me cringe a little bit. Just in terms of how far away they go from the mood and intensity of the original song. Even if ‘Tango’ does get reissued in the near future, I can’t see them including a comprehensive round-up of EVERY mix for EVERY single.

  38. Charles Hodgson says:

    “Tango In The Night” – yes please!
    Can I just add another shout out for John Cale’s “Caribbean Sunset” and “Comes Alive” – and the utterly magnificent “Music For A New Society”.

    Or how about a Big Star “Third / Sister Lovers” complete 1975 studio & radio / live sessions box set?

    Or Van Morrison “Astral Weeks” expanded box set (as was done with “Moondance”). The “T.B. Sheets” tracks could be collected here also.

    Or The Mekons “The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strennen” expanded reissue.

    Or Kurt Vile, something to compile those rare early recordings released on micro limited self-released CD-R’s. (The tracks not included on “Constant Hitmaker” & “God Is Saying This To You”).

    Dream on…

  39. Darren Briscoe says:

    I love deluxe reissues but would rather the artist be involved.

    • alan hansen says:

      i agree that the artists should be involved whenever possible – noting that some are deceased. but i’ll settle for a great final product, regardless of involvement. (and on a side note, sometimes artists eff-it-up with wanting to REMIX and subsequently REINVENT the past – e.g. Richard Carpenter, Genesis, etc.)

      • Darren says:

        Oh yes Alan, I despise the reinvention of history. I don’t want some buffoon adding drum rolls and reverb (even if that buffoon is Richard Carpenter himself). Leave it alone! I want exactly what I had on vinyl to be put on CD without the crackles – That’s all. After that is done and we can buy what we remember then by all means tinker to your heart’s content. But don’t try to pass off things as original and then have us horrified when we hear what you’ve done. Thanks Jeff Lynne, but very few people outside of your immediate family wanted “Xanadu” without Olivia and even they were being polite.

  40. alan hansen says:

    artistic integrity aside, i believe that the record companies (and in tandem, many artists) are economic buffoons. the “easy money” right now in the music scene is a focus on remastering/repacking/reissuing. i don’t understand the focus on appeasing teenage girls with inane pop-pap, when the true disposable income in the market is in the hands of the 30/40/and 50-something crowd. let’s get-on with the deluxe campaigns for Fleetwood Mac’s “Mirage” and “Tango in the Night” (‘twould be a sweet 2CD set), and continue with the OMD series – not neglecting to mention Sting, Alison Moyet and a myriad of other artists. and how many wish-lists are filled with yet-to-be available on cd and long-0ut-of-print titles that beg to be given new life and light. hear us here on this, you fiscally daft powers that be, and give us what makes all parties happy: money, money, and great musical art. did i forget to say money?

  41. Saar Freedman says:

    Even in this golden age of reissues there are quite a few albums that have never been issued on CD

    if you mentioned Fleetwood mac, what about the
    “Buckingham Nicks” Album, that fans have been campaigning tho have remastered for Cd for ages
    and off the top of my head..

    3 cher late 70’s album ( Stars, I’d Rather Believe In You, Allman and Wonan)
    Emmylou Harris – Gliding Bird
    John Cale- Caribbean Sunset, and “Comes Alive”
    Jennifer Warnes self titled 1976 album (with “right time of the night)
    every Peter yarrow album (4)
    early Mr Bungle cassette only releases
    same goes for mary lou Lord’s “real” and “Tio Sir With Love” Cassette only releases ( the go to DIY release of the early 90’s)

    and legendary never released albums still waiting to see the light of day
    Wendy James – Lies In China town
    Juliana hatfield – God’s Foot ( The album Atalantic still holds but never released)

  42. Colin H says:

    Though this is, I suspect, less likely with 1980s artists on major labels, sometimes records are not released because an ‘owner’ label in the present day simply cannot confirm, to themselves, that they own certain records recorded X years ago. I’ve been involved in annotating a few reissues released by third-party labels where it took a while to establish whether this or that 1970s album was owned by a label which had since been subsumed into, say, Sony or Universal, or had been part of some kind of production deal whereby the rights reverted to the artist/production house after a certain number of years. Often the paperwork just isn’t there any more. Hux Records, for example, were recently very keen to reissue the first two De Dannan LPs, recorded for Decca in the mid 70s, but Universal declare that they can’t confirm ownership hence can’t license the material. The two mainstays of De Dannan, Frankie Gavin and Alec Finn, are currently operating separate versions of the band after a falling out (each version spelt slightly differently), so there is unlikely to be any solidarity from that quarter in trying to resolve the matter.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, good point. Although as you say this is much less likely with big mainstream acts from the 1980s on major labels.

  43. Simon says:

    Who helped to make mega rich artists such as Sting mega rich? The people who bought their early music maybe? Mega rich artists may do well to remember that. Album sales nowadays for such artists are probably rarely of the scale they were in their heyday.

    • Carlton Fisher says:

      While I can more or less understand the mindset on this, at the same time, how long do these artists “owe us” for having bought a CD thirty years ago? I did not personally enrich Sting by buying my single copy of each studio album on CD. He gave me good music; I gave him my money. That seems like it should really be the end of the “I owe you” right there.

      While I’d love to see better, bigger editions of these albums, I think we get a bit presumptuous when we start insisting these rock stars owe us because we put them where they are. It’s not indentured servitude. It sounds almost like they should also have to ask us if they are permitted to retire or not.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Haha I like the idea that they have to ask us permission ;) Although do rock stars really retire anyway? Okay, Billy Joel has (sort of). I suppose the pertinent point is that deluxe editions are the invention of the record labels and the key difference is when they release the album in the first place the artist is contracted to the label and the label has quite a bit of power – they can refuse to release it, they can insist on more ‘singles’ etc. This is often a very good thing. Prince’s Sign O’ The Times would probably have been a bloated 3CD set otherwise. But when reissues happen, normally the artist is long gone, which makes everything SO much more difficult. If the artist has to approve any release, their management can literally ignore emails from the labels and that’s the end of it.

  44. omar says:

    I have a gut feeling that AM’s albums will appear sooner than later. Maybe by xmas it’ll be announced for a 2016 release. Sting’s first few albums were remastered back in the late 90’s i think, but didn’t contain any bonus material and the sound was hardly noticeable from the originals. As for Wham, oh well….

  45. Art Moy says:

    Yes, Tango & Mirage. Why were the 1st 3 lovingly upgraded and not their last 2?

    • Craig Hedges says:

      Because Mirage and Tango (and a lot of these other albums discussed) didn’t do the business in the U.S. I guess a lot of reissues are for the international market and if the albums didn’t do well the larger markets the record companies won’t see the point.
      I’ve also noticed that a lot of artists don’t like the 12″ mixes that were put out in the 80s. They allowed them to be released at the time as marketing tools especially a band like Fleetwood Mac and aren’t bothered if the public hear them again. Sadly I think Paul McCartney is going to have this opinion when he remastered his other 80s albums.

      • Mike says:

        Except i think Macca has a lot of love for his remixes from that era, as he did a lot of work on them, Press to Play will be the proof though. Ian Peel’s excellent the Unknown Paul McCartney is well worth a read.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          He doesn’t have ‘a lot of love’ for the Say Say Say remixes. He’s left them off the Pipes of Peace deluxe!

          • Gareth Pugh says:

            I know, and they are not at all bad mixes IMHO. Of their era but faithful to the original content and intent of the base song, I thought, and quite enjoyable listens.

  46. Robert Hart says:

    It’s sad, when I saw the cover picture, I was hoping all the albums were being reissued in super-deluxe editions.

  47. Ian says:

    Has Wham’s ‘Make It Big’ never had the deluxe treatment simply because there isn’t enough in the vaults to make up a worthwhile release? Just wondering.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Admittedly you’d struggle to create a 6-disc ‘Songs From The Big Chair’ type box, but there are enough variants, instrumentals, and remixes to create a solid 2CD+DVD type deluxe edition. That’s without delving into demos etc. Although I don’t think George has ever released a demo of ANYTHING, so that’s probably unlikely :)

  48. Dale says:

    Good read.Tango In The Night does need a very good reissue package,everyone crying out for it.I been told that they FM have the final say over this album. Along with Alison’s albums as well they need a good reissue package and they would sell as well,so it’s annoying when you read on her FB page “will they or won’t they”.

    I am a big Nick Kamen fan and managed to persuade Warner’s to put all his albums on iTunes (don’t ask you don’t get) and now his first album is getting “Deluxe” treatment,which is good.

    I do believe that persistence is a good thing,not too much though lol and finding out where the tapes are. Thats another story …

  49. Tim says:

    Or you can just make your own deluxe editions. My music hard drive is loaded with versions I’ve made (they’re all labeled …. “Re-Made & Re-Modeled”).

  50. Gord says:

    Free the Sony4 !!!

  51. Darren says:

    Another factor in all of this is that some artists are in it for the love of music, so they are happy to see re-releases and get actively involved. Others are in it purely for the money so they have no interest.

    Also, for the mega-rich artists like Sting, life will have taken on a different dimension. When you have his bank balance then you are able to do so much more with your life and you’ve long left the world of caring about your late 70’s and early 80’s output. It is only us with smaller lives that have time for all of this…. and I say thank heavens for a smaller life. I’d much rather sit with my reissued 80’s CDs than go globe-trotting :)

  52. jan burnett says:

    Is it not often the case that the artist is waiting for the licence / deal to end so they can take the reissue to another label as a bargaining tool? It depends on their original deal of course, and how savvy the artist and lawyer was at the time.

    • Karen says:

      t’Pau springs to mind. Bridge of Spies. Carol Decker wanted it, Roy did. Went to various record company meetings, They were for it, then the record company pulled out. But at least Carol & Roy put on their own demos and DVD on their own label. The fans were grateful. Carol & Roy really really tried to get the record company on side for a deluxe. I don’t hold out much hope for Rage.

      Another person who is very very much hands on with his deluxe issues is Mike Oldfield. There have been fantastic Deluxes over the years from the great man.

      It will be very interesting to see if bands fro. The 90s/early 2000s get the deluxe treatment like The Corrs, and Kylie Minogues Light Years & Fever.

      We the fans can only hope, dream, pray and keep our fingers crossed.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        Bridge of Spies is coming out now as a 2CD+DVD in November. Although there are no details at present.

  53. Dave says:

    Great article. One artist that I believe should have had SDEs of his early work is Elton John. I know we recently got GYBR, but a book style SDE would have been nice, rather than the smallish box, because the artwork would have fitted that format well. I know he is another artist who seems reluctant to revisit the past, but that run of 70s albums was classic. The dream for me would be an SDE of Blue Moves, but it will probably never happen as even the standard issue seems to go in and out of print. Infact, in the early days of CD, the only version you could get was a truncated single disc which was only issued in the US. Massively underated in my opinion.

    • Billy Dojcak says:

      I bought all of the SACD versions and even the 2-track stereo mixes sound great. Apparently the next 8 albums were given the surround mix treatment, but this was just before the majors pulled their support for SACD. Perhaps another reissue company could release these versions?

  54. Robert Atkin says:

    Interesting reading. Such a shame that some artists are not available on lavish re-issues. Robert Fripp has done us proud on the re-issue of the King Crimson Back Catalogue. Looking forward to the Thrak Box-set due around the 16th October 2015 and available to pre-order from Burning Shed.

  55. Craig Hedges says:

    Great article Paul.
    After seeing ‘Love and Mercy’ I’ve started looking at the Beach Boys back catalogue and whilst the 60’s albums were reissued in 2012 their 70’s albums have been ignored. The album i’ve fallen in love with is ‘Love you’, the album with Brian Wilson and Moog synthesisers!!! Sadly the only way to buy this on cd is to buy the twofer with ’15 big ones’ which isn’t that good an album. I’ve read about this period of Brian’s life when he was cojoiled/forced back into the studio and recorded other material around this time including the aborted ‘Adult/Child’ big band album.

    ‘Love you’ is a marmite album which really gathers strong options on fan forums which the main criticisms being Brian’s voice at the time as it was fairly rough opposed to his 60’s voice.

    Some of the other tracks have turned up on the box sets like ‘Made in California’, including an amazing version of ‘You’ve lost that loving feeling’ but it would be great to see ‘Love you’ get the deluxe treatment or a box set of all their album up to the end of the 70’s, after that point it really starts to go wrong.

    Final note – The 70’s albums were released in the States on vinyl last year including ‘Love you’.

  56. thegreatelephant says:

    you would think some artists would employ people personally to look after their heritage specifically. if they got big bucks to play with then surely it’s about preserving a legacy. even if they personally do not have the time.

  57. Jarle Lilledal Nyvoll says:

    A very interesting article. I have been waiting for the “Sony4” for ages, and would love to buy a good-sounding expanded version of all of them.

    And kudos for mentioning Howard Jones. I bought all three of his boxes, and they are great! He has total control over them, and he does them proud. Good man.

    • Billy Dojcak says:

      Howard Jones is a great example of the artist being in control of the music. The remastering sounds terrific. What sold me were all of the 12″ mixes, b-sides, alternate versions and everything else in the boxes.

      • Mike the Fish says:

        I disagree, some of the 12″ Remixes Remastered CD sounds over compressed with too much top end. Also there’s a progressive indexing issue whereby tracks start getting more and more clipped off at the very beginning, and actually starting at the very end of the previous track.

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