SDE’s best reissues of 2020

Keen though we all are to move on from 2020, allow SDE to take moment to look back at some of the best reissues and box sets from this year…

Tears For Fears / The Seeds of Love 
(4CD+blu-ray box set – UMC)

It’s curiously appropriate that the reissue of Tears For Fears‘ 1989 album took four or five years to reach fruition, echoing the drawn out process of the original recording sessions over 30 years ago.

The 4CD+blu-ray super deluxe edition started by bringing together remastered album and a (comprehensive) collection of B-sides, remixes and edits before moving into another gear for the final three discs, all of which offer entirely unreleased audio.

While rumours of a ‘scrapped album’ proved unfounded, the box set reveals all sorts of interesting diversions and challenges during recording. For example, it’s pretty clear that someone wanted ‘Year of the Knife’ to be a single but despite endless attempts to whip it into shape for the pop charts, that never happened. We FINALLY get a taste of the legendary ‘Langer/Winstanley’ sessions, only to collectively conclude that TFF were probably right to follow their gut instinct and go it alone. Best of all, we are offered the role of ‘fly on the wall’ as the Tears For Fears (really just Orzabal by this point) worked a band of expensive session musicians very hard in London’s Townhouse studios – with a certain Oleta Adams on piano and vocals to inject that all important soulful authenticity.

The icing on the cake is a lossless Steven Wilson 5.1 surround mix on blu-ray (which took the best part of a year to bring together) and an extensive ‘in their own words’ booklet with new interviews with virtually everyone, and you have a fine examination of the creation of the memorable eight-track album.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video

Prince / Sign O’ The Times (8CD+DVD & 13LP+DVD box sets – Warner Music)

In reality, a photo finish with The Seeds of Love. The Tears For Fears box set only pips the Sign O’ The Times super deluxe edition(s) to the post thanks to its wallet-friendly price tag and that Steven Wilson surround sound mix. Make no mistake, this Prince set was undoubtedly a major highlight of 2020, from a reissue point of view.

It’s hard to beat (and indeed will the Estate ever better?) what is probably the purple one’s FINEST ALBUM, massively expanded to a dizzying eight CDs or 13 vinyl records. The Sign O’ The Times CD and vinyl box sets offer SO MUCH audio content it’s bordering on ridiculous. It’s the audio equivalent of continuing to stuff your face at a restaurant, when you know you should probably hold back. In this instance, Michael Howe is your maître d‘ and recommends you start with the remastered album, move on to every conceivable seven-inch edit, 12-inch mix and B-side and then finish with three CDs (or six vinyl records) of unheard ‘vault’ material – with many unreleased tracks, alternates, unheard remixes and an early version ‘I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man’ that Prince conceived when he was still in the womb, by all accounts (slight exaggeration).

It’s an absolute audio feast. An superb over indulgence. We become Monty Python’s ‘Mr Creosote’ with headphones. Just when you think you’ve really had enough, the set tempts you with the ‘waffer thin mint’ of an unreleased concert on CD and DVD. Do we need this much? Probably not. Do we want it? But of course! Phew, I’m stuffed.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video

Ultravox / Vienna (5CD+DVD deluxe edition – Chrysalis)

The Seeds of Love, Sign O’ The Times and the Vienna box sets were the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic of 2020 album reissues. There were in a league of their own, for single album box sets.

Chrysalis opted for a large format approach for their 5CD+DVD package of Ultravox‘s 1980 album which shows off the original artwork to great effect, but it’s the content that really impresses. This box brings together the original album, a new Steven Wilson stereo remix, a CD of rarities (12-inch mixes, live cuts, B-sides, single versions), a disc of cassette rehearsals and live performance at St. Albans and on top of that a Steven Wilson 5.1 mix on DVD.

Some fans expressed disappointment with a fairly light contribution from Midge Ure in the otherwise decent large-format booklet and the SDE’s preference is always for a blu-ray over a DVD when it comes to surround sound mixes, but no matter, this was excellent value at just over £50 and the box set successfully documented all aspects of this celebrated album.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video 

The Divine Comedy / Venus, Cupid, Folly & Time (24CD box set – Divine Comedy Records)

SDE described this 24CD Divine Comedy set as ‘flawless’ back in October, when the unboxing video was published, and that opinion has not changed. Curating generous two-CD sets of all the albums is a task in itself but it’s the presentation and attention to detail that really lifts this package and it remains one of the very best career-spanning packages we’ve ever seen.

Every double-CD album comes in a Japanese-style high quality gatefold wallet, with inner sleeves and a booklet with new notes from Neil Hannon. This then slots into an outer slipcase featuring new cover art illustration. These slipcases are the genius element that makes this package so visually appealing, since they cleverly bring the albums together while maintaining their individuality (they all slot into a rigid box). A 100-page book of lyrics completes a package which is the new yardstick by which others will be judged.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video

Richard & Linda Thompson / Hard Luck Stories (8CD box set – UMC)

Andrew Batt – who put together the 2018 Bobbie Gentry The Girl From Chickasaw County box – is credited with the ‘concept, compilation and tape research’ (as well as the mastering) for this Richard and Linda Thompson box set, so expectations were high.

The eight-CD collection didn’t disappoint, with remastered albums and a generous selection of largely previously unreleased bonus tracks. This was all exquisitely presented in a 10-inch package which comprised two folios of CDs and a 74-page hardcover book (with excellent sleevenotes by Patrick Humphries and Mick Houghton).

While the product was undoubtedly excellent, it’s a shame that UMC’s manufacturing and/or QC processes rather spoiled the party with some fans grumbling about CDs not ‘ripping’ (and in some cases not playing) properly. It was widespread enough for the label to eventually offer replacement discs, but the “hand-packing error” explanation raised an eyebrow or two and the problems took ages to sort out.

It was a disappointing situation for both fans and for the team that had put this fine set together. By the time the dust settled, Hard Luck Stories was all but out-of-print.

Read more about Hard Luck Stories

Lou Reed / New York  (3CD+DVD+2LP deluxe edition – Rhino Records)

I was always hoping Warner Music would get around to reissuing Lou Reed‘s 1989 album and the deluxe of New York really surpassed expectations.

If you can forgive Rhino for doing their usual thing of including vinyl with their CD deluxe editions (I know some people can’t) then there was so much here to enjoy. The album is of course remastered, and the DVD includes The New York Album concert performance which was previously only available on VHS or Japanese laserdisc. This was Lou ahead of his time performing the album in full and in sequence to a Canadian audience.

But what really impresses is the thought that has gone into the content. Some deluxe editions give you a concert on DVD then repeat the audio on a CD. Not here. CD 2 is the full album as performed live on the same tour, but is made up of completely different performances, none of them are from the Canadian show on the DVD. Also, the non-New York encore performances (‘Walk on the Wild Side’, ‘Sweet Jane’) are escorted to the ‘odds and sods’ disc (CD 3). This was a good move and preserves the integrity of New York as a live performance.

That same disc (CD 3) also offers ‘work tape’ and ‘rough mix’ versions of many of the songs. This provides and intimacy not really expected and ‘puts you in the room’ with Lou and guitarist/songwriter Mike Rathke as they work through the material.

The vinyl is included as a 2LP set (for the first time) and the new liner notes written by David Fricke are great. A truly excellent overview of a great album by a much missed artist.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video

Thin Lizzy / Rock Legends (6CD+DVD box set – UMC)

We are of course all familiar with some unreleased tracks being included with archival reissue box sets – it’s now par for the course and all but expected. But the Thin Lizzy Rock Legends set impressed by the sheer volume of material that was never before available.

74 of the 99 tracks across the six CDs had never been released before making this a veritable treasure trove of unheard demos, session tracks and live material. Even the disc of familiar hits at the beginning made a point of including rare radio versions, to make sure fans got the maximum out of this seven-disc celebration.

This package was also enormous and came with a big book of tour programmes, a volume of lyrics and more. It’s no surprise that this superb box sold very well and is now out-of-print.

Watch the SDEtv unboxing video

162 responses to SDE’s best reissues of 2020

  1. LMF says:

    I agree that the Sign Of the Times “extravaganza” is veeeery expensive, but I can’t even begin to imagine how you can compare it to “The Seeds of Love” which, for me, is doubtlessly inferior in every possible way. I seriously don’t get it.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Well, Seeds of Love had a Steven Wilson lossless 5.1 surround sound mix. There was no 5.1 surround sound mix with Sign O’ The Times. Remind me how Tears For Fears is inferior “in every possible way” again? Bearing in mind we are comparing reissues not albums.

  2. Ex-Oligarch says:

    Sadly, I find myself reading Paul’s list and the comments about sets I haven’t heard, let alone purchased, in 2020. I usually by my physical music in retail stores or from artists at shows, rather than over the internet, and that hasn’t been possible this year due to gubernatorial fiat in my state.

    I’m a little surprised to see that the Harmonia set only got one mention, given the number of lovers of electronic music that frequent this site. I’m even more surprised that the Focus “50 years” set hasn’t been mentioned at all, since it looks to be nicely packaged and inexpensively priced, with an abundance of new material for fans, and inspired a lot of discussion here. Those two and the Ultravox set would be at the top of my list.

    I’m only a little surprised that the ongoing official live concert releases from the Grateful Dead haven’t been mentioned, perhaps because they’ve been doing them so long and in such quantity that we take them for granted. But they sound great, are beautifully packaged, feature detailed notes, are are overall solid products. I only fault them for their high price and comparatively low limitation, which given the band’s enormous fan base sees them go out of print quickly.

    If McCartney completists think their hobby will stretch the budget, pity the poor Deadhead, to whom 2020 brought a 15 CD box, a 5 LP box, two 4 CD boxes, two 3 CD boxes, and a single LP, all with unique live content. That doesn’t count the 50th anniversary editions of the studio album “American Beauty,” available as a 3 cd deluxe set and as an LP in 180g, red and mixed red/white/blue vinyl variants. It also doesn’t count the dozens of unofficial issues of radio concerts that have run past the copyright limit, including a string of multi-CD sets, many of which are also attractively packaged. Whew!

  3. Albert says:

    Who is running the u2 show after Paul McGuinness left?

    The All That You Can’t Leave Behind reissue was a waste of time. Not their best anyway and nothing new or exciting.

    When are we going to get a deluxe bells and whistles reissue of Rattle and Hum and the Lovetown tour? Is Rattle and Hum permanently disowned or to be ignored forever?

    And when is that reissue of Autumn Stone coming out? Rob Caiger and the Small Faces legacy has become a running joke and not a very good one.

    • Burt says:

      It’s Guy Oseary, who is also Madonna’s manager. I think think he got into the music business via his Dad. I have the impression from what I’ve seen he is a music fan but don’t know why that U2 box was found to be wanting so badly.

  4. Gary Tilford says:

    Paul, I would like to say a big Thank You to you and the team for this brilliant site. Thanks to you guys I have got hold of some great reissues over the last 6 months and if it wasn’t for this site I would definitely have missed out on some of them. I was lucky enough to get the Vienna 4 lp clear vinyl box set and it sold out in a few days. Like someone has already said, it looks like most of these went to genuine fans but 2 have sold on Discogs for £100+ and one is on Ebay now for £125. If it wasn’t for your service I would have missed this. Thanks again.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Cheers Gary!

    • MichaelM says:

      I was lucky enough to get the 4 disc clear vinyl as well. My son also bought me the CD+DVD boxset for Christmas. And to round it off, I also managed to get a copy of the Electronic Sound magazine with the free 7″ Herr X/Alles Klar clear vinyl single as well.

  5. John Berry says:

    Thanks Paul, interesting list!

    Wildflowers, Tom Petty, was the standout reissue for me. Uniquely, the unreleased cuts are as strong as the originally released material. Sign of the Times was brilliant too but I find that huge amount of new material both over and underwhelming: In the case of the Petty album ,more is more, Princes’ release is a case of less is more, for me.

  6. William Kates says:

    Thanks Paul, I would include the Joni Mitchell box set also. Interesting that the same guy who mastered the Richard and Linda Thompson box set also mastered the Bobby Gentry set. I returned the Bobby Gentry set to Amazon due to skipping problems on several discs. Nice work on your discussion of the British singles chart.

  7. jayson says:

    Very surprised that UFO “Strangers In The Night” or the two Porcupine Tree boxes didn’t make it! Not sure how that could be..especially the UFO which was mastered well and very reasonable price wise!

    The Porcupine Tree boxes were had great content, presentations and mastering also..though they were a bit more expensive for sure.

  8. CJ says:

    Hi Paul,

    Saw this yesterday evening, and thought you’d be interested to know, considering your involvement in the set. Bluray.com placed the TFF set in one of their Top Ten of 2020 critics lists, which links to a review I hadn’t seen before, where the box earned a 5/5 rating. Congratulations on the recognition! Fingers crossed for next year’s Grammy announcements!

    Critics list: https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=27935

    Review: https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Tears-for-Fears-The-Seeds-of-Love-Blu-ray/275116/#Review

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Really interesting, thank you! I hope to persuade Universal to actually submit the TFF box for next years Grammys, because I rather doubt it will just ‘happen’ automatically. Bit of a long shot of course, but in it to win it, etc.

  9. Steve says:

    For anyone interested, there are a few copies of the Richard and Linda Thompson “Hard Luck Stories” boxset available on Amazon as of this writing. (I’ve checked both the U.K. and U.S. sites.)

  10. Michael E. says:

    The Heaven 17 Box “Another Big Idea” was very good too…..

  11. David Roest says:

    For me there was only ONE boxset release last year that got me really excited and that was Sign ‘O’ The Times by Prince. Hands down. That boxset had it all and is even nominated for a grammy.

  12. Dajong says:

    Not a boxset or a reissue, but Chris Rea ERA 1 (1978-1984) was a fantastic compilation of rare stuff, including single-versions, mixes, b-sides and a complete unreleased album from 1981. Over 3,5 hours of music, great remastering and a nice packaging at a good price. I’m waiting for more ERA compilations.

    • Klaus says:

      I can assure you that the people at the big South American river sell this as a box set, albeit a cheap one.
      I streamed it first and then ordered me a copy on New Years Eve for 11 £.
      I agree that it’s really good value for money.

  13. MICHAEL PEMBER says:

    BEATLES wise LET IT BE ? Hopefully a McCartney re issue from his 70’s back catalogue. Hopefully ‘back to the egg’ with a DVD included featuring promo videos as the rockestra sessions.

  14. Blakey says:

    The Seeds of Love reissue was superb.
    The Free Design box set is also well worth having. Criminally overlooked.

    Reissues or deluxe sets I would like to see in 2021

    Humble Pie – As Safe As Yesterday Is, Town & Country and Humble Pie (vinyl)
    Frankie Goes To Hollywood – 12′ singles box set (vinyl and CD)
    Small Faces – The Autumn Stone (after yet another no-show)
    Duran Duran – debut album (with proper remastering)
    U2 – Rattle & Hum
    The Stone Roses – Second Coming and Silvertone 12’singles box set
    The Beatles – Let It Be (or Get Back)
    Curve – box set (all albums, singles, EPs, B Sides)
    Wings – London Town
    Inspiral Carpets – Beast Inside
    John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
    New Order – Low Life
    George Harrison- All Things Must Pass

  15. Albert says:

    No Goats Head Soup?

  16. Uncle Meat says:

    An average year I’m afraid. Some mentions:

    MUDHONEY – Real Low Vibe, The Complete Reprise Recordings 1992-1998
    MINA – The Queen Of Italian Pop, Classic Ri-Fi Recordings 1963-1967
    MINA – Tintarella Di Luna
    VARIOUS ARTISTS – Records, Records, Records
    VARIOUS ARTISTS – Fast Jivin’ Class Cutters High On Booze
    FRANK ZAPPA – The Mothers 1970
    FRANK ZAPPA – Halloween ’81, Live At The Palladium
    APPLE – An Apple A Day…
    CREAM – Goodbye Tour Live 1968 (The “honorary award” goes to the production team of this set. For more than 50 years I’ve always thought that Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce played their guitars only right handed. Now setting the record straight the book included shows that they occasionally played left handed as well (pages 17, 18 and 41)!!!

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      Those Mina CDs are fantastic manifestations of classic, spirited 60s pop, but neither is a box set, is it?

      In the US, she is virtually unknown and unappreciated, despite the millions of records she has sold over in other markets over her long career.

  17. Joel Moalem says:

    Some of the European Amazon sites are listing the Richard and Linda Thompson box as being available again later this month. Maybe Universal did another batch due to initial releases problems?

  18. Jeff G. says:

    Steve Wynn – Decade (Box Set)
    Jimi Hendrix Experience – Live In Maui
    Marillion – Script for a Jester’s Tear (Deluxe Edition)
    George Coleman – Live in Baltimore
    Blue Nile – High (Remastered Deluxe Edition)
    Van Duren – Idiot Optimism/Are You Serious?
    Replacements – Pleased to Meet Me (Deluxe Edition)
    Neil Young – Homegrown

  19. Brixet says:

    It’s been a bad year for so much in the music industry and those that support it, but for those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home some or all of the time, it’s been a good opportunity to plough through box sets which can lie unexplored (and then buy more).

    Top 5s in no order:

    SDE reissues:
    * New Order – ‘Power Corruption & Lies’. Though should have had the singles and b-sides included as 12″ and/or CDs.
    * Porcupine Tree – ‘The Delirium Years’. Faultless content (though oversized box; see TFF!).
    * Porcupine Tree – ‘In Absentia’. The start of the rest of the PT albums in a similar format?
    * Prince – ‘Sign O’ The Times’. Setting a new bar; surely the estate will need to do Purple Rain properly now?
    * Tears For Fears – ‘Seeds of Love’. Worth the wait, thanks Paul.

    Reissues (tried to go for the less obvious):
    * Cherry Ghost – ‘Beneath This Burning Shoreline’. Unexpected reissue from this forgotten singer-songwriter (who actually writes loads of famous songs).
    * The Distractions – ‘Nobody’s Perfect’. Almost an SDE with the amount of bonus material alongside a full remix of the original 1980 LP.
    * Gentle Giant – First 4 LP reissues. Great sounding, reasonably priced pressings.
    * McCarthy – ‘The Enraged Will Inherit The Earth’. Second disc of bonus material from this political band that it’s OK to adore.
    * Various/Les Disques du Crepuscule – ‘From Brussels with Love’ – DJ says it best below.

  20. DJ Salinger says:

    For a year that started slowly and then completely ground to a halt in spring, 2020 ended up delivering some fantastic reissues and box sets. All my key nominees are already acknowledged by the SDE faithful on this thread, but there’s another two worth mentioning for those that like that sort of thing…

    The 40th anniversary hardback 2CD version of this ’80s fetish object is a rather lovely thing and a richly illustrated record of a time and place. Early New Order, Thomas Dolby, Durutti Column and lesser known acts rub shoulders with the likes of Brian Eno, Harold Budd and Michael Nyman. The whole thing still stands as a manifesto for music as art and this edition is a real labour of love. A similar lavish treatment for the seminal 1981 Some Bizzare album would be welcome…

    Billy’s folly it may be: a chaotic indulgence and a frustrating listen that’s all over the place at times but… it has ‘Breakfast’ on it. No home should be without one. Hats off to Cherry Red for collating many of the 12″ mixes and b-sides (some for their CD debut here I think). Satisfying sleevenotes and discography too. MacKenzie was an absolute one-off talent and he’s still sorely missed round here.

    • Ex-Oligarch says:

      These two had completely escaped my notice. “From Brussels with Love” is an old favorite, and the Associates were never less than intriguing. Thanks for mentioning them here.

  21. Pingback:This Week’s Box Set and Reissue Deals | superdeluxeedition

  22. DANIEL says:

    Two of note from Athens, GA: The Pylon box set is amazing, and the Love Tractor debut LP reissue sounds incredible!!

    • Art Fin says:

      The lavish Pylon box set is great but it seems incomplete to me without their 1990 album “Chain” on Sky Records. I like the B-side of that album which reminds me of their first album but with cleaner production (maybe too clean). I also got the Ultravox and VA-From Brussels with Love sets but choose the CD format because of the extra tracks. I am glad the CD sets are in near-LP sized packaging so they rack with my vinyl. Also got Killing Joke (s/t with silver cover), XTC (Drums & Wires w/ bonus 7″) and Young Marble Giants-Colossal Youth 2LP. The Devo box was from 2019 but I got it in 2020. I didn’t realize until now that I bought so much 80s stuff last year.

  23. James A Gates says:

    My Top 5 for 2020

    1. PRINCE – Sign Of The Times (8CD/DVD)
    2. UFO – Strangers In The Night (8CD)
    3. THIN LIZZY – Rock Legends (6CD/DVD)
    4. DEPECHE MODE – Mode (18CD)
    5. SNOWY WHITE – Lucky Star (6CD)
    6.PORCUPINE TREE – Delerium Years (13CD)
    7. DEF LEPPARD – The Early Years (5CD)
    8. WHITE LION – All You Need Is Rock N Roll (5CD)
    9. RATT – Atlantic Years (5CD)
    10. PRINCE – Up All Nite (4CD/DVD)

  24. KevinS says:

    Some nice selections from everyone.

    Just to add, Supergrass – The Strange Ones 1994-2008.
    The box was a mixed bag, almost the complete package, but with hotly debated picture discs for the vinyl section of the box.

    It is probably the box I played most last year and to my battered and gig worn ears, the picture discs sound fine on the whole.

  25. Richard Harris says:

    Joni Mitchell Archives volume 1 has been a real treat for me. Looking forward to further volumes covering the 70s.

    For those on here who like me have slated the U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind reissue for its uninspired content, worth noting that according to u2songs.com sales “exceeded expectations”, so either expectations were very low to begin with or there are not as many discerning U2 buyers out there as there are on here and who were happy to buy a beautiful looking package that had precious little new content to tempt the long term fan.

    Will 2021 finally be the year that Springsteen releases Tracks 2?

  26. David says:

    Klaus – I’d have more sympathy for the other three members of the band if they hadn’t welcomed him back in and reformed after his release from prison. (And I say this as a previous fan of the former work – ‘Le Vent Me Portera’ is a super song if you can get past the singer.)

    Also – “had a fight” makes it sound like self-defence. They had an argument, and he punched and killed her.

    • Klaus says:

      David, thanks for replying.

      I had no intent of defending him. You and me both weren’t there when it happened and should therefore be careful in judging what happened that night. I read that they were both heavily drunk at the time and that, combined with jealousy usually doesn’t bring out the best in people but the press was clear about him hitting her severely.

      I just wanted to explain the background of your first post because i don’t think that many SDE-readers knew what you were writing about.

      In the end like i already wrote it comes down to being able to differentiate between the person and the music.

      Let’s agree to disagree on that topic.

  27. Liam Bastick says:

    Actually, I take back my comment about Our History still being available. Two of the sites say they have it, but when you try and order it, they then state it is “Sold Out”. Mea culpa.

  28. blaahh says:

    Howard Jones’ Cross That Line was certainly one of my favourites this year. Well priced, a wealth of unissued versions and mixes and certainly a benchmark that others would do well to follow. The first Fine Young Cannibals one would also fit that bill.

    • blaahh says:

      I would also add a late one I have listened to a lot this week, Chris Rea’ ERA 1 1978-1984 is a fine and (I think) comprehensive set, good balance of familiar and rare – well priced too. I hope there is an ERA 2 following.

  29. Beechlander says:

    For me Vienna was the best overall in terms of price and content – love that album. Yet to get a chance to unseal and listen to SOTT and the TFF boxes so reserving judgement but expecting good things. In terms of 2021 – looking forward to George Harrison “50th” anniversary of All Things Must Pass which is on the cards plus the new Bowie set.

  30. Burt says:

    Another SDE which is worth a mention & not for all good things either: Simple Minds “Street Fighting Years”. Yes, its a great album that fully deserved the SDE treatment & It was good to have the live stuff & some of the edits. But, it fustrated in equal amounts. Where was the visual content? a concert & the videos? Can’t be that difficult to do & the Prince Estate clearly know how much the fans ( Yes, we who actually buy these things! ) value these things & know to put them in. Also the lack of a 5.1 mix. This album, more than any of their albums lends itself to this more than ever!! I hope one day they see fit to make amends for these shortfalls. I know these points were made at the time here but they remain very valid comments & I hope the Record labels take note of fan discontent.

  31. GTR says:

    2 from me:

    1. ‘The Secret Migration’ by Mercury Rev. 5 disks which shine a light on an underrated album. The 3rd disk of Jonathan Donahue’s guitar/piano demos is like a lost Neil Young album. The 4th disk, a live show, had a problem and didn’t play the final song. Cherry Red sent me a replacement disk so good on them for sorting this out.

    2. The first 2 Robert Forster albums on vinyl. Great sound quality, packaging, signed lyric sheets…the works. Please do the same for his other albums and Grant’s solo stuff too.

    Am hopeful we’ll get an SDE of INXS’s ‘X’ this year.

  32. Bren says:

    Glad to see The Divine Comedy’s Cupid, Venus, Folly & Time set getting such recognition. As a fan from 1994/Promenade, the set has been an absolute gift; all of those B sides and non album tracks being given a mastering as great as the albums themselves, so many wonderful unreleased tracks and packaging to die for. If I’d been asked to put together my dream TDC set beforehand, I couldn’t have conceived and come up with anything better.

    Paul’s Flaming Pie deluxe set is my runner up of the year’s purchases. Yes the price tag was silly, but once I got past the one time sticker shock and the contents were fabulous. And an entirely welcome ‘last chance to see’ Linda’s photography, the highlight of previous Archive deluxe sets as well as the SDE of Abbey Road.

    And despite not being anything more than a casual fan, the Sign O The Times box set was a thing to envy. Beautifully put together, both audio and the book, I’ve not read a single word against the set here or anywhere else. If only everyone’s favourite artists could have their catalogue handled in such a comprehensive, reverent and well presented manner,

  33. Tim Goodacre says:

    I am not a particularly avid Elton fan but the Elton John Jewel box has to be on the list. Great song by song historical journey of Elton and Bernies’s career (and other Elton collaborators) with detailed notes on each song by Elton. The song selections are in themselves interesting and in context. The extras and outtakes are also interesting and carefully chosen. Unlike many other elaborate box sets this set is a thoughtful and personal autobiography with all elements worthy inclusions rather than the filler associated with many other sets. For me the set was a real surprise and perhaps the best set of many I have.

  34. -SG- says:

    Tears For Fears definitely goes to the top of my list, but as I look at the other sets, it is a bit obvious that this boxed set is a product from a different time. The fact that it was not an oversized 12X12 with a hardbound book with a live disc, (I know live soundboard recordings exist for that tour because I have heard some), shows how since this set was made, the SDE has really morphed into a monster over the past five years, the compact-ish 5 disc set under $100 is quaint by today’s standards.
    I think in regards to TFF one of the biggest surprises was that there were not more songs recorded even in demo form, or for that matter not more record company mandated remixes or alternate mixes of album tracks. I recall reading years ago, Roland talk about Sowing the Seeds of Love being further remixed and those being ultimately rejected, It is also surprising that there was not even a scratch vocal mix for the ‘Langer/Winstanley’ recordings, which in all fairness were a totally inappropriate sound for TFF and had this been their new sound, would have really damaged their credibility as a group, perhaps some warts were wisely left unseen here. No complaints though, it is a well done box of one of my favorite albums.
    Beyond that, the Divine Comedy is really an amazing set, which I have only just begun to explore. It is really interesting to also realize there that despite it’s depth a lot of material was left off. Speaking of which, some may be interested to know the vinyl reissue of Promenade contains a download of a newly remixed/revised version of the album, all in HD.

  35. Dere says:

    Covid meant that a lot of retailers wouldn’t ship to Australia, or the costs were prohibitive, so I didn’t buy so much this year.

    My favourite SDE was the 2cd of compilation of Adam Gibson’s work: There’s A Name For This Feeling. Spoken word/poetry to music, detailing life in Australia.

    • John Drayton says:

      Dere, I feel your pain. Amazon Oz is a disgrace. But check out Burning Shed and Rough Trade – they both ship to us pretty affordably.
      I’d happily support SDE but the shipping costs are just too high. Hopefully that will change.

  36. Brett says:

    What a pity that everybody ignored Elvis In Nashville.

  37. p britten says:

    Thank you for this review, Paul. I agree with most of your choices, though I don’t know much about Ultravox.

    So, here’s my grain of salt about the best 2020’s reissues and/or SDE :

    – July: The Complete Recordings
    – Apple: An Apple a Day… (I guess I’m a sucker for anything psychedelic from the sixties, and these two semi-obscure bands (for me, at least) didn’t disappoint)
    – Tasmin Archer: Sweet Little Truths – The EMI Recordings 1992-1996
    – The Distractions: Nobody’s perfect
    – John Lee Hooker: Documenting the Sensation Recordings 1948-52 (JLH was always at his anarchistic best when he was alone on stage or in a studio with just a guitar and his right foot, and here’s 71 (19 previously unissued) tracks proving this)
    – Prince: Sign ‘O Times & The One Nite Alone Collection (a little bit underrated, this last one, I think)
    – Mansun: Closed for Business (Maybe one of the craziest/maddest box sets ever made : 25 CDs devoted to a not-so-well-known band having released 3 or 4 albums in its lifetime… I tried resisting, but I failed.)
    – Richard & Linda Thompson: Hard Luck Stories
    – John Prine: Crooked Piece of Time
    – Shoes: Elektrafied – The Elektra Years 1979-1982 (This Cherry Red box set offers each of the band three Elektra albums in its remastered official form and in demo form, and the demo version is often as accomplished as the official one, but with more edge.)
    – Bob Mould: Distortion (…but what we really need now is a «Hüsker Dü – The SST Years» box set including outtakes, b-sides, etc. as well as their reading of Ticket to Ride from that 1986 NME vinyl freebie, because my copy is scratched.)
    – PJ Harvey: Dry & To Bring You My Love Demos

    I have many wishes for 2021, but one of them would be that Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge record and release a full album. Imagine: the XTC leader and the Soft Boys frontman joining forces. If that’s not a marriage made in heaven, I don’t know what is. Their Planet England EP was an absolute psychedlic blast, as good as anything by the Dukes of Stratosphere IMHO, but it was (as EPs tend to be) way too short.

    Happy new year Paul and everybody.

  38. Kauwgompie says:

    First, kudos for keeping it real. Paul, it looks like you cannot be “bought” by the labels. That so increases your credibility and saves this entire website. Keeping “Flaming Pie” out of the list was the right thing to do. Wayyy too expensive. I’m assuming that is also why “Goats Head Soup” didn’t make the list. $140 for 3 cd’s and a dvd, even if it contains a 5.1 mix, the price is a joke if you compare it to The Seeds Of Love.

    Sign O The Times tops the list for me. Together with 1999, it’s the only super deluxe edition EVER that has truly not disappointed as it relates to entirely new vault material (not outtakes, alternate versions and remixes but entirely new songs). Until now, after listening to any vault song by any artist, I almost always thought that song should have staid in the vault. With Prince however, that is not the case. 3 discs of high quality new songs, it’s marvelous and the creativity is dazzling. I strongly recommend this box set. It’s all high quality music and no marbles, prints or other BS. I wish all box sets were like his but that would be entirely impossible. There is only one Prince.

    The TFF Box Seeds Of Love is my 2nd choice. Brilliant album, brilliant bonus material and a fabulous 5.1 mix for a more than decent price. It was a long wait but it was worth it!

    Other top SDE releases:

    -Tangerine Dream – Pilots Of Twilight
    -Nick Kamen – The Complete Collection
    -Divine Comedy – Venus, etc
    -Donna Summer – Encore
    -Elton John – Jewel Box
    -INXS – Live Baby Live
    -Ultravox – Vienna (incredible value)

    Worst reissue (come on guys, this is your chance):
    -U2 -All That I can’t Leave Behind (lack of unreleased material and 5.1 mix)

    • Kauwgompie says:

      Under worst SDE’s, I forgot to add ”Street Fighting Years” by Simple Minds. The lack of a 5.1 mix (all their other box sets had one) and the bonus material is very minimal. That box is a waste of space in my collection.

      • Paul E. says:

        @Kauwgompie – I agree about your two “worst” reissues: U2 “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” + Simple Minds “Street Fighting Years”. In not purchasing those two sets, it marks the first time I haven’t purchased SDEs released from the bands – I even caved on U2’s 30th for “The Joshua Tree” but didn’t find it necessary for the 2020 “ATYCLB” SDE as I had all the fan club issued tracks, CD singles, “full” Boston DVD, etc.

        Seems both bands botched the live concerts in their corresponding sets that would have motivated me to purchase. The time to abbreviate a concert’s track listing is NEVER in a box set…rather, that’s the perfect time to expand on things or include the full show at a minimum. In the case of Simple Minds, if they didn’t have quality audio in the archives for Verona, they should have reconsidered it’s inclusion or found an alternate fans deserved.

  39. Paul Mac says:

    Weird for me to see three reissues that I bought this year make the Best Of list (TFF, Lou, Lizzy), I think this was a very good year for re-issues (as there a few more I hope to pick up eventually, as well as some great deals on older sets acquired this year as well, thanks Paul) and bugger all else!

    Happy 2021, everyone

  40. Michael says:

    I wanted the TFF box, but my preorder was not fulfilled and by the time I realized it was not coming, everything was out of print already and I did not want to pay the scalper prices, so for now I have stuck with the 2 cd set, which is great in itself. I love disc 2.

    If I was a bigger Prince fan, I would love the big SOTT box, but I stuck with the cheap 3 cd set, which is also nice. I like the remastering and some of those extended mixes. I gotta save money somewhere.

    Apart from that, I skipped the Simple Minds box for the reported problems on some tracks and the lack of any video or 5.1 content. A missed opportunity there.

    But I will be looking forward to see what comes out in 2021. Perhaps the Japan Quiet Life box will be of interest… and the restart of the Bowie era boxes should be of some interest, too.

  41. Nick says:

    Berlin reissues on Rubellan Remasters
    Visage reissues on Rubellan Remasters
    Ric Ocasek reissue on Rubellan Remasters
    Laura Branigan “Self Control”
    The Beloved “Where It Is”
    The Beloved “Happiness”
    The Human League “Octopus”
    Ultravox “Vienna” Super Deluxe Edition
    Tears For Fears “The Seeds Of Love” Super Deluxe Edition
    Neneh Cherry “Raw Like Sushi” (for the Massive Attack & Smith’n’Mighty Remixes)

    • Don Cooper says:

      Thanx for Ric O heads-up.ats.

      • Nick says:

        Thx – yes superb album & fantastic remaster with great bonus tracks as always from Rubellan (a bit underrepresented on SDE?). Also got into “The Side Of Paradise” again after unexpectedly hearing “Emotion In Motion” on the Radio during Christmas time.

    • CJ says:

      Love Neneh Cherry, and liked the reissue, but am still disappointed that “Buffalo Blues” was left off the CD version. I know it’s only one track, but what a track! I do have the original single for it, but it would be nice to have had it included with the rest of the material from that era.

      • Nick says:

        Yep they had messed it up a little which of course is a pity.. luckily “Buffalo Blues” is a track that is easily available on CD (though I agree that the sense behind “deluxe editions” is not exactly having to get older issues ;) Still very happy to have the tracks from the excellent and quite unusual Manchild Remix 12″ in great digital sound quality. I remember well hearing the Massive Attack Remix for the first time on a Greek radio station during a holiday and I was blown away by it because it was so unique.

    • Michael says:

      Yes in terms of single disc reissues those Visage and Berlin discs are great! I love the Rubellan remasters I have gotten so far. The Human League Octopus set is very nice as well!

      I just did not go for the Ultravox set because I feel the ladt 2cd set has enough for me. But am I missing out on greatly improved sound quality?

      • Nick says:

        Hi Michael. The Vienna set is well presented, the demos are a nice extra that one wouldn’t listen to on a regular basis. Steven Wilson remix is fine but the original 1980 analog master is the actual highlight. Trackwise the 2CD “Definitive Edition” already has everything on it that is essential.

  42. Michael says:

    Tears For Fears is wonderful! I also received John Lennon “Gimme Some Truth” as a birthday gift, which turned out to be even more impressive than I originally thought. Since my music storage space is getting quite a bit crowded, I have to be really selective about which of all these other great box sets I can have.

    But, aside from what was released in 2020, I was disappointed John Lennon “Plastic Ono Band,” The Beatles “Let It Be,” and Paul McCartney “Back to the Egg” & “London Town” didn’t make it on the calendar for 2020. Maybe in 2021?

  43. Alan Blevin says:

    My lists divide archival releases into different categories.
    Disclaimer.Based on what I have streamed from his web site my Archival Release Of The Year would be Neil Young Archives Volume 2.However while I was one of the 3000 who got an order in Greedy Hand Canada have given a 3 month delivery estimate so I will be lucky to get it before general release in March.Will be on my 2021 list.
    Archival Release Of The Year-Neil Young -Homegrown.Stunning album.Harvest from the ditch.
    Career Spanning Box
    Winner.Hard Luck Stories-Richard and Linda Thompson.Like you said above it was a pity that production quality control took anything away from the acclaim this magnificent set deserved.
    Runner Up. Joni Mitchell Archives Volume 1.As good as this was the next 2 volumes should be amazing.
    Winner.Wildflowers And All The Rest-Tom Petty.My budget only stretched to the 4cd edition.Even without Finding Wildflowers this is a treasure of unreleased music.
    Runner Up.Sign O’ The Times-Prince.I am not a mega Prince fan but this was always by far my favourite Prince album.You sum up the box perfectly and I have particular praise for the book which actually adds a lot to the reissue.
    Archival Live
    Winner.Detroit 88/East Rutherford 81/Atlanta 78-Bruce Springsteen.Because they get distributed through Nugs these sometimes get ignored.These 3 are all time great concerts by Bruce and all in excellent sound quality which has been an issue with some of these releases.
    Runner Up.Goodbye Tour Live 1968-Cream

  44. Mark says:

    I’m going to give a shout out to the Rubellan Remasters label for a strong year of spectacular reissues, and the best sounding ones too.

    Visage, The Anvil and Fade to Grey – The Special Dance Mix Album
    Berlin, Pleasure Victim and Love Life
    Fingerprintz, Bullet Proof Heart – The best of
    Divinyls, Desperate and they just reissued What a Life with ten bonus tracks and unreleased songs

    They also just released their first box set with all three Missing Persons albums from the 80’s. That’s a great start to 2021!

    • Steve Thorpe says:

      Agreed re. Rubellan Remasters in 2020 as above Mark – I bought both the Berlin releases which were a real treat to hear remastered finally, as well as the bonus tracks coming from the original masters too.
      I also have their reissue of the first Visage album and ‘The Anvil’ which have never sounded better, and the Fingerprintz ‘Best Of’ compilation is a revelation – especially as they haven’t been on CD as an official release before. Looking forward to the full Missing Persons catalogue releases imminent in January / February :-)

    • Craig says:

      Agree here…those Berlin reissues are things of sonic beauty!

  45. Ken says:

    Soft Cell’s Cruelty without Beauty 2 disc reissue was fab.
    Since I got it last month I have been playing it non-stop. A very under-rated LP.Excellent songs with classic Marc Almond lyrics,plus some live tracks,5 very good extra tracks,and some excellent brand new mixes by the great Mr Ball himself.A trully perfect reissue of Soft Cell at near their best.Lots of good songs on this collection too.Well designed and quality packaging.A trully excellent reissue for a very good band.Last Chance,Caligula Syndrome,Together Alone, and Darker Times are classic Soft Cell gems up their with their heyday bests.

  46. CJ says:

    Excellent choices, both in Paul’s write-up and in the comments. The only SDE I haven’t seen mentioned that I’d put in a mention for is the Depeche Mode box that came out in January (which seems like five years ago at this point). I know much of it is redundant in terms of the studio albums, but having all those b-sides was a treasure trove for me. Would have loved remixes as well, but very happy with what we did get.

    My wishlist for 2020 (nothing that I’ve actually heard any rumors about, just what I’d love to see):
    A box like Donna’s Encore set for Olivia Newton-John–complete albums, b-sides, remixes, all remastered
    Expanded albums for Madonna or a box set of outtakes and b-sides
    Expanded albums for Kylie starting with Light Years (since we’ve covered the SAW and Deconstruction years already)
    Resumption of the Tori Amos expanded albums, picking up with From the Choirgirl Hotel, which is the next one in line
    Prince: Parade, Around the World in a Day, or Lovesexy (I know the rumors are that we’re getting Diamonds and Pearls, but I’m having trouble getting excited about that era)
    Shakespears Sister Solo Years (#3, Songs from the Red Room, Cosmic Dancer, the fanclub only releases, remixes, and outtakes)
    The Beatles: Rubber Soul (I know Let it Be is next in line, but RS is my favorite of their albums, and I’ve been hoping they would back up and do that album at some point)
    Michael Jackson: Dangerous, expanded with the tracks originally intended to be included before the original two-disc reissue was cancelled
    U2: Pop expanded SDE
    Stevie Wonder reissue/remaster campaign, starting with the 1980s albums, including the extended versions and b-sides
    George Harrison: re-release of the Apple Years box, which has been out of print for awhile and is fetching ridiculous prices on the resale market
    Marilyn Manson expanded SDE album reissues
    Tina Turner: Break Every Rule SDE, including the “One of the Living” mixes that were left off the Private Dancer reissue and the other b-sides and extended remixes from the era
    Grace Jones: Living My Life SDE, or a career retrospective box set with rarities and remixes, or a Donna Summer Encore style complete box set
    Pet Shop Boys: Further Listening editions for the Stuart Price trilogy
    David Bowie: Next chronological box set
    Laura Branigan: Hold Me / Touch / Laura Branigan / Over My Heart expanded reissues

    I could probably keep going, but there probably isn’t much point since these are all just wishes. Maybe someone out there with the power to make some of these happen will see it though.

  47. DiscoDave2000 says:

    Can’t agree more with TFF and Prince as the top 2. Ultravox and The Divine Comedy really do look great too, I’m just not a super fan of either. I would have purchased Lou Reed if it was available as a CD/DVD set only.

  48. Paul Kent says:

    My 2020 reissues:
    Prince – “Sign O’ The Times” SDE
    Tears For Fears – “The Seeds Of Love” SDE
    The Divine Comedy – “Venus, Cupid, Folly & Time”
    Bob Mould – “Distortions 1989-2019”
    Grateful Dead – “Workingman’s Dead” 50 th Anniversary 3 CD
    Marillion – “Script For A Jester’s Tear” SDE
    Prince – “Up All Nite With Prince”
    Simple Minds – “Street Fighting Years” 2 CD
    Paul McCartney – “Flaming Pie” 2 CD
    Rush – “Permanent Waves” 2 CD
    Rolling Stones – “Goats Head Soup” 2 CD
    The Residents – “Cube•E Box” 7 CD
    Grateful Dead – “American Beauty” 50th Anniversary 3 CD
    Crass – “Best Before 1984” 2020 Crassical Collection 2 CD
    Douglas Adams – “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Albums” 3 CD

    Happy New Year, all!

  49. Jim Vandegrift says:

    It is a improvement on the original. And the original was already was incredible. Extras are 1st class.

  50. No mention (anywhere on SDE) of Jewel’s 25th Anniversary box set of Pieces of You, a real treat, and beautifully laid out. Some hidden gems within the demo versions, and the purity of the work really shines through.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It was noted on ‘Out This Week’ the week it came out. I agree it’s a good set.

    • James W says:

      I got this. I like this set very much. I really enjoy all the coffeehouse recordings, especially the song “Adrian”, It gave me “chills”. Much more “spooky” than the album version.

  51. Tim Joseph says:

    Glad to see people mentioning Elton John (a massive surprise, and although not complete, totally successful) and King Crimson (usual superlatives and still the benchmark). Although Prince was the obvious winner for me.

    But I’m also pleased to see someone mention the recent UFO box. But this leads to my main point: several of these boxes are already long out-of-print (TFF, Richard & Linda, Marillion, UFO and Prince 1999 for that matter). Plenty of people still wa t to buy these without paying the ridiculous Ebay/Discogs prices.

    Are record companies really underestimating the markets for their released? Or are they afraid it might destroy their statement that only streaming matters nowadays?

    • Big Rin says:

      I love reading this type of comment – can you point me to the record company statement you refer to regarding only streaming mattering? Most of the pre-eminent box sets here (not all, I know) where released by the majors and large indies, who will continue to release SDEs and box-sets as long as there is a market. Judging quantities is difficult given the costs and in the case of vinyl, long production times. If you get it wrong and are left with a couple of thousand units, that could be all of your profit (likewise, making mistakes) but if you underestimate , you can be accused of trying to manipulate the market. It’s a very difficult line to straddle! It strikes me we had a very busy year for SDEs last year and there seems to be a lot planned for this year. Record companies often deserve a kick up the arse, but don’t under-estimate the amount of music lovers within them!

  52. Will H says:

    What no Robert Forster?

  53. Richard S says:

    The Tears For Fears one was a great one to get. It was the icing on the cake of finally getting the other two when they were re-released earlier in the year!
    The Ultravox one has to be my favourite, a really nice box set with decent content at a great price.
    It was also great to get add the next 2 DM 12″ boxes to my collection. Pricey, but nicey. Especially since they seem to be very unavailable now.
    The New Order PC&L box set. Again, a bit pricey, but they are really nice box sets.
    I am actually running out of space, I don’t know how many more I’ll be able to buy in the future :o

  54. Magoo says:

    Purchased these.

    Richard linda Thompson Hard Luck.
    King Crimson 1969
    New Order Movement
    Beatles Abbey Rd
    Tears for fears Sowing the Seeds
    McCartney Flaming Pie
    Fleetwood Mac 1969 – 1974
    BBC radiophonic workshop box set

    Hoping for these

    Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup
    Prince SOTT
    Lou Reed New York
    Kinks Powerman
    Elton John Jewel Box

    I’ve missed this
    Thin Lizzy legends unless it’s repressed.

    Any help Paul will be greatly appreciated.

  55. JonBcn says:

    No-one can deny that Sign O The Times set a new benchmark for how box sets should be done.

    Disappointed not to see Shakespear’s Sister mention. The ‘Our History’ box is one of the best SDE’s I’ve ever bought; excellent remasters, brilliantly curated, [almost] no glaring omissions, tons of extras. 10/10.

  56. Nicholas says:

    For my wife it was
    Big Country: Out Beyond The River – The Compulsion Years Anthology, 5CD/1DVD Boxset (Buffalo Skinners)

    Tears For Fears
    U2 No Line

    I was amazed how many were issued during 2020. Some bands (which are still together) like to go on the road to promote them. Goldfrapp, for example with Felt Mountain, which tour and reissue were cancelled.

    Interesting to see, whether anyone has any insight would is going to be released in 2021.

    Paul, rub your magic crystal ball, and tell us what you see!!!

  57. Yani P says:

    I know Linkin Park might not be to everyone’s taste on this site but the expanded Hybrid Theory was excellently done and high quality..hoping for the same treatment for their other albums.

  58. Chumil says:

    And another update, sorry.

    SDE’s best reissues of 2020.
    Bobby Bare: “Bobby Bare sings Shel Silverstein plus”
    Hank Williams: “Pictures From Life’s Other Side”
    Elvis Presley: ” From Elvis in Nashville”
    Shakin’ Stevens: “Shakin’ Stevens Fire in the Blood The Definitive Collection”
    Donna Summer: “Encore”
    Prince: “Sign O’ The Times”
    The Rolling Stones: “Goats Head Soup”
    Kinks: “Powerman Lola versus and The Moneygoround Part One”

  59. Chumil says:

    SDE’s best reissues of 2020.
    Bobby Bare: “Bobby Bare sings Shel Silverstein plus”
    Elvis Presley: ” From Elvis in Nashville”
    Shakin’ Stevens: “Shakin’ Stevens Fire in the Blood The Definitive Collection”
    Prince: “Sign O’ The Times”
    The Rolling Stones: “Goats Head Soup”
    Kinks: “Powerman Lola versus and The Moneygoround Part One”
    John Lennon: “Gimme Some Truth”

    And Dear Paul Sinclair please let me update my “Best Album” of 2020 list…

    Best Album 2020.
    Bob Dylan: “Rough and Rowdy Ways”
    Taylor Swift: “Folklore”
    Taylor Swift: “Evermore”
    Half Waif: “The Caretaker”
    Dua Lipa: “Future Nostalgia”

    Thank you so very much, now I can get a good night sleep.

  60. Larry Davis says:

    Hey Paul, only 7 SDEs on your list?? There were a literal ton of em released in 2020!! Of your 7, only got 3…TFF, Prince & Richard and Linda…of the other 4, I intend on getting em all…Lou Reed first, then TDC & Lizzy, and Ultravox last…here are the others of note I purchased this year…
    Absolute Beginners soundtrack
    Bob Mould signed
    Replacements (booklet an eye-opener, heavy use of the Fairlight in assembling the tracks)
    Elton John Jewel Box
    Shakin’ Stevens (massive, top 10 box easily)
    Chris Rea Era 1
    Bob Marley (best deal)
    Pale Saints
    The Catholic Girls
    Kinks Lola
    Stones Goats
    Amy Winehouse
    Bobbie Gentry Delta Sweetest
    Jerry Jeff Walker
    Kiki Dee Fontana Motown set
    Donna Summer Encore
    Sister Sledge
    Def Leppard Early Years 79-81
    M People
    John Prine
    Alabama 3
    Sheila & B.Devotion
    Ace Of Base
    Andrew Gold
    Kursaal Flyers
    Fleetwood Mac 69-74
    Manic Street Preachers
    The Beloved
    New Order
    Shakespears Sister
    Paul Young
    Depeche Mode
    Dire Straits
    Tom Jones
    Wham Japanese singles
    John Lennon
    Neil Young
    Paul McCartney
    Style Council
    Spandau Ballet
    Tasmin Archer
    Ash Teenage Wildlife
    Brian Wilson Van Dyke Parks
    Elvis Costello Armed Forces
    Johnny Cash Mercury Years 86-91
    Mylene Farmer
    Joni Mitchell Archive 1
    Mojo Nixon Mojo Manifesto
    Tom Petty
    Cradle (Quatro sisters band)
    Shoes Elektrafied 79-82
    Little Steven
    Lemonheads Lovey
    Shania Twain

    I admit, didn’t buy them all yet…but I did buy between half & three quarters of them…

  61. Mark D says:

    Assume Armed Forces was excluded on the grounds of having the American rather than UK original track list, cost and/or vinyl only, although an excellent time capsule of Costello in the studio and live.

  62. Burt says:

    For me, the SDE of the year hands down is the Prince “SOTT”. So much great audio content, a great book too AND Visual content, a great concert and the Videos so Visual content can be done when those in charge want to do it, they can do it!! Record Companies: Just do it! It completes everything just nicely & the fans Love it!! What was missing from this box? (Apart from the film but that was a Rights issue so I understand that ) Absolutely nothing! Hats off to all involved, brilliant job.
    2nd Choice is the TFF ” Seeds of Love”. box. Never really was too bothered by it 1st time & yes there is a bit of AOR Chaff on there but who can argue with “Woman in Chains” & “Bad Man’s song”?. Brilliant. What I found very interesting was the book & what the key players think of it all, so many years after the fact. Very well put together & an enjoyable listen though I’m still working my way through the extra discs for both of these. Would have been even better with the California live concert mind!

    I also bought the Stones “Goats Head Soup” but have’nt had a chance to play it yet but it looks good. Last year I somehow ended up spending 450 quid more on these things & CD’s compared to 2019. Ooops. I’m blaming Paul for some of this!!

  63. Shaun says:

    Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” should also be added, along with Marillion’s “Script For A Jester’s Tear” and UFO’s “Stranger’s In the Night”. The Thin Lizzy and Ultravox boxsets are stunning and hopefully further Ultravox albums will get this treatment. I enjoyed TFF immensely despite it being my least favourite album of theirs. The Police cd set must be the best vfm product of 2020. Hopefully next year we will get Metallica “The Black Album” box set along with one for Motorhead’s ” No Sleep to Hammersmith “. But what I’d really like is for all of Slade’s albums to be reissued on vinyl.

  64. David says:

    Francois, below: Noir Desir … just no. No.

    (Interesting that their wiki entry has been … scrubbed by someone.)

    • Klaus says:

      Short explanation for those not familiar with Noir Desir: They were one of the best-selling and critically acclaimed French bands during the 1990s and early noughties until their singer had a fight with his girlfriend during which he hit her so severely that she fell in a coma and died a few days later.
      He was convicted to eight years in prison which were after four years set out for probation regarding the rest of the sentance.

      I guess that’s why David comments here “Just No.” though i’m not sure what Wiki-entry he’s writing about because both the English and the German entry have several paragraphs about crime and trial, be it the entries for the band or for the singer.
      Of course this raises the question if you can diverse the personal life of musicians from their art but also got me thinking that the band was a four-piece and if the other three members aren’t entitled to try and make some money out of their earlier work…

  65. Victor says:

    Sadly the TFF “Seeds” box is looking like being sold out completely and I’ve missed it in time. The Ebay/ Discogs prices are unreasonable… Does anybody knows if there’s going to be a new pressing?

    • John Archbell says:

      If you’re in the U.K. and have a local HMV, take a look in store. My HMV have 3 copies left priced at £59.95. They were in store before lock down so I assume they’ll still be there. There are none left available for mail order though!

      You won’t buy cheaper than that.

    • Spiderbite says:

      I want to know this as well. I never got around to picking up up and had no idea it was going to be a “limited” release. The others were re-released. What’s going on with this one, Paul?

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        I heard ‘talk’ that it could happen… but nothing confirmed that I know about.

        • Jason says:

          Good Lord this is ridiculous. They haven’t even met the demand for the box the first time around. Did anything ever say this was going to be limited, and how difficult is it to make duplicates of CD boxes these days with the amount of money they are leaving on the table? I feel like shit promising box sets to a few of my American customers when it never even entered the door at the biggest distribution company in the country. I hear about it from them every single week. Appalling campaign compared to the amount of good marketing that went into it. Are Roland and Curt listening? Your management is screwing your fans over FYI…

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            Sales departments in record labels seem very risk averse, sometimes. They underestimate demand for GOOD things and then press far too many of something mediocre.

          • CJ says:

            I’m not 100% certain how it works with music, but I know in book publishing, the bigger issue on a product like this might be the box itself. The books and CDs a pretty easy to print/press, but the boxes are more of an issue to manufacture. The boutique press that I’ve been purchasing some limited/edition Stephen King books through over the last few years had an issue with one of their items not because of printing the book itself (which, for them, takes longer, because they do stitched hand binding, but permabound books like the ones in the TFF book can be reproduced with more ease) but because of the slipcases they include with the releases. So a repressing of the box as a whole might be more complicated than simply repressing a standard album, not because of the content, but because of the container.

    • Hendriks Léon says:

      Still available at http://www.bol.com

  66. Grahame Andrews says:

    Always interesting to read others choices, so I’ll just add my tuppence worth.
    King Crimson – Complete 1969 (Superb value, comprehensive).
    Porcupine Tree – Delerium Years CD SDE (Immense).
    Porcupine Tree – In Absentia SDE ( After the Blu Ray issue sorted!).
    Prince – Sign o The Times (Probably his best, excellent SDE).
    Lou Reed – New York (Excellent remaster).
    Macca – Flaming Pie.
    Tears For Fears – Seeds Of Love (Worth the wait).
    Tangerine Dream – Pilots Of Purple Twilight (Great companion set to In Search Of Hades).
    SDE’s I want to see this year:
    Let It Be variants.
    Pink Floyd – Animals, The Wall 5.1.
    Jethro Tull – Benefit/A.
    Bowie – Next box set.
    Moody Blues – Next few!
    Marillion – Again next few.
    Oh and dare I say Macca – London Town/Back To The Egg/Give My Regards To Broad Street.
    John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band.
    A happier New Year to all and Paul thanks for all your work on the site, something to ok forward to everyday to help keep our sanity in these difficult times.

  67. Wayne K says:

    My selections include Paul’s plus:
    Elton John-Jewel Box
    Paul McCartney-Flaming Pie
    The Replacements-Pleased To Meet Me
    Bob Mould-Distortions

  68. Davedogfacedboy says:

    Big up The Divine Comedy set – flawless as you say. The vinyl reissues also of a high quality and worth the wait.

    Talking of which I am loving the PJ Harvey vinyl reissues – wonderful sound and attention to detail and selling the demos separately rather than asking people to double dip.

  69. Geoff Dubois says:

    I’ll second adding the Lennon set to this list. Yes it’s just a greatest hits (but what a greatest hits!) but the sound, presentation (except for an arrow) , and inclusion of a blu ray make it an excellent set

  70. Mister Stick says:

    Only wanted to chime in if it seems something was overlooked, and I’d like to run up the flag for Decade by Steve Wynn (of The Dream Syndicate). 11 CDs from Steve’s 1990s work, tons of extra tracks, autographed, available from stevewynn.net for 85 bucks, US. It won’t break your wallet or your shelf, but it will bend your mind.

    Can’t agree more with the praise for the Prince and Bob Mould boxes. Still lamenting the Tom Petty set, not for the quality of the music, but for the way it was presented, which was not as a true double album, as Tom originally wanted.

    Best for the new year, everybody. Just because the calendar flipped doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. Looking forward to the next BeB0p Deluxe set and Stage Fright, and hope to see some hints, hopes, and predictions here soon.

  71. John Archbell says:

    It’s been a pretty good year for ‘expanded’ boxsets.

    I bought both formats of Ultravox Vienna and I note the vinyl box sold out in days and it’s never once appeared on eBay – which means it was snapped up by the fans.

    I’m not really an Elton John fan per-say, but there was something about green that was hypnotic and drew me in. I eventually succumbed and purchased the Rolls Royce equivalent – the complete boxset on CD. I doubt it’ll get played often but it’ll be educational at the very least!

    I’m not sure I can agree that Sign o’ The Times is Prince’s greatest works – personally I think Purple Rain holds that accolade and I was disappointed with the lack of offerings when it was remastered a few years back. However, SOTT remains an important part of Prince’s legacy so I only plum’d for the exquisite CD boxset.

    Tears for Fears’ Seeds of Love is as close to perfection as any artist would achieve and for many of us, it was a wait worth waiting for! It was by far the best album of 1989 and in my humble opinion, the band’s finest hour. So I’m naturally pleased the long overdue boxset came to fruition.

    I also extravagantly opted for the Dire Straits ‘repressing’ vinyl boxset. Surprisingly I didn’t own a Dire Straits album on vinyl, yet I love many of their songs. Weird. So that oddity has been rectified – but why didn’t the label include Alchemy live?

    It has been an expensive year in all honesty as I immediately preordered the John Lennon ‘Gimme Some Truth’ CD boxset. I’m a sucker for hard back books – and the one included is not just a pretentious load of rubbish that is full of images and illustrations. It’s very good reading with plenty of anecdotes and information. Everybody needs at least one album by John Lennon in their collection.

    Saving the best til last is the magnificent Shakespears Sister multi format boxset, ‘Our History’. I get the arguments about ‘well I’ll never play the vinyl so what’s the point?’ The point is though, if you’re a fan and you want that all important 3rd CD disc of unreleased material then that was your only opportunity. It’s a beautiful bespoke design, curated with the connoisseur in mind. The interior is made of felt and the compartments are a perfect fit for everything included – and yes, there’s the all important large, coffee table sized book! Limited to just 1000, it was an essential buy for me.

    I’d like to convey my thanks to Paul for his efforts and hard work over the last year. His job must be a real drag but somebody has to do it!

  72. David says:

    The only slight disappointment for me with the Ultravox Vienna box was it not including blu-ray remasters of the promo videos of tbe singles – the Vienna video in particular being surely an important artistic component of what they were about. If then film negs for this kind of thing are still available, they could look orders of magnitude better than the PAL video life they’ve endured up to now.

    Tangerine Dream’s 2nd Virgin boxset (Pilots of Purple Twilight) was also very welcome, although a shame it had no surround sound mixes.

    • Craig Hedges says:

      HD remastered videos for this period of Ultravox have been put on YouTube by the band, they aren’t worth going to the trouble of of putting on blu ray for this quality. It’s unlikely that they could be improved further, unless the original negatives still exists, then it’s down to money and painstakingly reediting the video.

    • Tom M says:

      For me the disappointment was no hi-res surround mix. I’ll be watching if they ever do Rage In Eden like this. Other box sets that came out later in the year (December) like Tom Jones and the Harmonia CD box were also my favorites.

  73. Charley Rodman says:

    More of these useless “best of” blogs. This is Paul’s choices but I’m sure there are plenty of re-issues out there that are better than these.
    Cream’s Goodbye Tour [parts of this were previously issued elsewhere]
    Marillion’s Script for a Jester’s Tear
    Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Are you always as charming as this?

      • Dean says:

        Paul – I don’t want to rain on your parade at all, nor do I want to offend you in any way. But, have you ever considered hiring (by which I don’t mean a paid role) someone with different music tastes than your own? I know you love your 80’s and 90’s pop, but as you know, tastes vary. A lot of great music (like the aforementioned Tangerine Dream set) isn’t in your list, which just feels wrong. For example, no Tull? Perhaps an alternate list from someone with a different focus could benefit things? (I’m not talking about in the comments here, I mean as an article).

        Just an suggestion.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          Erm, Dean… Tangerine Dream wasn’t on the list because it didn’t deserve to be. That recent set wasn’t half as good as the earlier one and there were loads of other *better* sets issued this year.
          Also, I own both Tangerine Dream sets, posted about both Tangerine Dream sets on SDE and sold both Tangerine Dream sets on the SDE shop. But obviously, I probably dislike Tangerine Dream… because they aren’t in a best box set list for 2020. I always post about Tull on SDE too. You seem to be complaining because YOUR favourites weren’t in the list!

        • Quante says:

          The comments section provides the forum for everyone’s choices to be aired and read by all; so there’s no need to employ other writers or worry that Paul’s choices may not match ours. At the end of the day it should be a bit of fun.

          I’d much rather read the selections of regular music fans on this wonderful website than a poll conducted by a select few music writers.

      • Wayne C says:

        Paul’s Choices seem very good to me match mine to be honest, as always he knows his stuff, but I guess you can’t please everyone all of the time so it seems.

      • Fred holmes says:


    • Liam says:

      Maybe start your own SDE website. Try and make it as balanced as this one.
      Good luck.

    • Ian Ellis says:

      Well Charles, you are rather rude, to put it charitably. The thing is, Paul’s list was very good and few would disagree with it. Plus he went into considerable detail about each set and made them all sound hugely interesting and essential buying. Your own list is just that. A list. A list of just three items. You had nothing to say about them and thus you raised no interest in me. I’m afraid that the voting from this jury is nul points. Do try harder.

    • Derek says:

      I always avoid criticising other people’s tastes in music or books or movies – because that’s exactly what they are – other people’s tastes.
      There are some releases listed here and in the best new stuff of 2020 posts that I would never listen to, but I enjoy reading what other people like and are passionate about Sometimes it encourages me to try something, or to re-examine something.
      Thank you Paul and all the positive contributors.

  74. Paul E. says:

    This can’t be right… I’ve only purchased 8 SDEs in 2020? I have some work to do THIS year.

    Here is my list in no particular order- I’ve enjoyed all of these:
    Prince – “Sign ‘O The Times” Super Deluxe Edition
    Tom Petty – “Wildflowers & All The Rest” Tom Petty Store 5 CD SDE
    Tears For Fears – “The Seeds Of Love” SDE
    The Replacements – “Pleases To Me” Deluxe Edition
    New Order – “Power Corruption & Lies” Definitive Edition
    Bob Mould – “Distortion” Amazon Signed Exclusive
    Wilco – “Summerteeth” Deluxe Edition
    Twin Tone: The Albums 40th Anniversary Box

    My wish for 2021 would be a giant Big Audio Dynamite box set that contains everything Mick Jones and his various line ups did (especially remixes, extended versions, and b-sides). That would be BAD!

  75. Christophe says:

    This year i “only” bought:
    The complète 1969 box set by KC
    The Dire Straits studio albums cd
    The complète Amy recordings 5 cds box
    Flaming Pie 2cds
    Street Fighting Years 2cds
    Goats Head Soup 2 cds
    With no 5.1 dolby atmos system that ok for me.

  76. Disco Robot says:

    Thank you for including The Divine Comedy. The box is extrordinary, both in content and design, yet it seems to have been ignored in most end of year lists.

  77. Prince Fan says:

    Does the remaster of New York sound any different from the already superb sounding original release?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      I’ve never heard the original, but it’s been remastered and pressed onto four sides instead of two and it sounds amazing. In one of his last interviews he said he was revisiting his back catalogue and making use of the new technology that wasn’t available originally. This obviously wasn’t one he supervised but I’m sure it would’ve met his standards.

  78. Hedley says:

    Best career SDE of the year.
    HARD LUCK STORIES – Richard and Linda Thompson.
    An extraordinary box set that has barely left my airwaves since making it to Detroit for $67 without any of the quality issues others experienced. If you see a copy grab it

    Runner up
    DISTORTIONS -Bob Mould
    A signed edition for less than $100 and some 24 discs to explore. Quality

    Best SDE Single Album expanded
    SIGN O THE TIMES – Prince
    For me his finest moment and there is nothing in this SDE to disappoint. Presentation, book, extras and the incredible sound. Best not only in 2020 but for the last few years.

  79. Hans lindskog says:

    Hello,, I would like to add two box sets to the excellent list from Paul. First the book of Iona set by Iona, a very good set with 8 original studio cds and for each cd an additional disk of material aswell asan additional cd making this a17 cd box. I Will also recommend archives 2 by Neil young, very expensive but an absolute necessity for me. I purchased The box from USA and received In perfect condition 5 days after release. Bubbing under american beauty by grateful dead. Best regards hans

  80. Aaron says:

    Flaming Pie?

  81. Rob says:

    Tears For Fears, Lou Reed, Ultravox and Prince were my favorites.

    A curious trend I noticed with some (but not all) of these is that the music videos are absent. The TFF and Ultravox albums had some very iconic music videos but they’re not included. In the past, the relevant music videos would almost certainly be included in such a reissue. Do you think this is a trend for the future? Do the record companies just assume we can watch all the videos on YouTube?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yeah, some labels think that “everything is on YouTube, so what’s the point?” And the other factor is there’s a lot of faff and expense and legal minefields in DVDs and not every product manager is going to be comfortable or familiar with the issues and procedures. So there can be good intentions which turns into “sod it, let’s not bother..’

      • Erik says:

        My issue with that is that I want GOOD versions of these videos and Youtube can be…iffy at times (some of my favorites like Level 42’s “Something About You” and Lily Frost’s “Silver Sun” are absolutely dire quality on YT), not to mention the ability to watch them without commercial interruption. I, too, have been disappointed at the lack of videos on recent box sets and in some cases has influenced me in whether I pull the trigger on a box I’m unsure I should shell out the money for. So if anyone has the ear of someone in a position of importance…

  82. Colin Harper says:

    Although they can’t compete with the scope and deluxe-ness of your choices, Paul, here’s a shout out for two superb sets – beautifully presented and containing masses of hitherto unheard content – just released last month from Repertoire: Colosseum’s ‘Transmissions: Live at the BBC’ 6CD set, with essay/band interviews by Chris Welch, and British jazz legend Barbara Thompson’s ‘Live at the BBC’ 14CD set (with essay by the great writer/playerDave Gelly). The restoration and mastering on both is by the extraordinary Eroc – a German multi-instrumentalist and, to my ears, one of the very best audio restoration maestros out there. The value for money aspect with both is amazing.

    Cream buffs might like to know that the Thompson set, which covers her broadcasts 1969-90 in various contexts – her own bands and those of others – includes a 1969 broadcast with Dave Gelly as leader in a tribute session to doomed pianist Mike Taylor (who co-wrote three Cream tracks), which includes Jack Bruce fronting Taylor’s ‘Jumping Off the Sun’ as a trio with Jon Hiseman on drums and Howard Riley on piano. It’s wonderful stuff – like an outtake from ‘Wheels of Fire’ or Jack’s ‘Songs for a Tailor’.

    Interest declared – I was involved with both, to different degrees, but I would certainly have bought both had I not been.

    • Quante says:


      An advert in record collector for this set broke a memory block, and now your post has reminded me that I saw Barbara Thompson in concert in the early 80’s at my school. She was brilliant, but for donkeys years I couldn’t remember her first name. One day I’ll endeavour to purchase this box set, dependent upon finances and competing box sets. How limited is it?


  83. Martin says:

    The Ultravox elease was agreat example of affordability and supplying an excellent product – I picked up both the standard SDE snd the Vinyl for around £70 for both and they are laegely faultless.

    I am also with others in that the Stones GHS was a great release

  84. DaveM says:

    SDE’s of the year
    Thin Lizzy – Rock Legends. Absolutely fantastic and as noted the amount of unreleased is staggering. Fair price point as well.
    Elton John – Jewel. The most unexpected release of the year for me. Loads of unreleased, but the icing on the cake was the B sides I have been waiting for 35 years to get on CD. An old school style Christmas present I got tummy tickled excited about.
    Paul McCartney – Flaming Pie. The usual superb quality from an archive but a ridiculous price and the Hog Mill narrated disc is a waste.

    Budget Boxes
    Fleetwood Mac- 71 – 74. Superb release of the greatest era.
    Mercury Rev – The Secret Migration. Cherry Red at its best.
    Eric Burdon and the Animals – When I was Young. My favourite Burdon era superbly boxed and curated by Cherry Red
    Bob Marley – The Island Albums – unbelievable sound quality and the material is fabulous.
    Dire Straits – Studio Albums. LOG is the standout and personifies CD at its best. Shame about the other LOG in the room, Lack of Glue.

  85. Prince Fan says:

    – The BBC Radiophonic Workshop – Four Albums 1968-1978
    – Wilco – Summerteeth
    – The Free Design – Butterflies Are Free: The Original Recordings 1967-72
    – The Meters – Gettin’ Funkier All The Time: The Complete Josie / Reprise & Warner Recordings
    – Prince – Sign O’ the Times
    – Mort Garson – Music from the Patch Cord

    Various Artists:

    – A Stranger I May Be: Savoy Gospel 1954 – 1986
    – The Gospel Truth: Complete Singles Collection
    – Deutsche Elektronische Musik: Experimental German Rock And Electronic Music 1971-83
    – Spiritual Jazz Volume 12: Impulse!

  86. James W says:

    My three favorite reissues of 2020 are:

    Prince: “Sign O’ The Times” (A wonderful reissue/ archival set)
    Tom Petty: “Wildflowers & All The Rest” (I’m surprised not to see this on your list)
    Paul McCartney: “Flaming Pie”

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Wildflowers didn’t make the list for the ‘sin’ of saving a groovy bonus disc for an expensive D2C edition, and at £200 Flaming Pie was far too expensive (especially when compared to TFF and Ultravox, which had similar, or better, content).

      • James W says:

        True, I got the 4 CD edition of the Tom Petty set. But, it’s very good, even without the 5th disc. And I only got the 2 CD and 3 LP of the Paul McCartney. The 2 CD edition is a very nice reissue.

  87. RJD says:

    UFO – Strangers In The Night
    Great content and great value

    Rory Gallagher – Check Shirt Wizard
    Not sure if this meets the criteria as it was previously unreleased. Fantastic release nonetheless.

  88. Robert Laversuch says:

    Glad to say that I rather greedily went for all the above releases and whole-heartedly agree with all the things said about them. I would add Mansun and Bob Mould because of the sheer size and content of both. Although all different in size and amount of content I dare say they all make the fan – casual or otherwise – go weak at the knees. Sadly super limited often means just that and the sets go out of print far too quickly. Only to end on eBay for ridiculous sums of money. Sign of the Times, as Prince said, indeed. As to the future, hopefully there will be more, maybe also as an antidote to streams and downloads where you physically have next to nowt. I dare say the bubble will burst eventually but while it hasn’t yet- enjoy. You won’t regret it. Moreover, thanks to Paul Sinclair steering us through the stormy seas of decision-making with excellent suggestions and equally entertaining unboxing videos that often help to totally win over the weak-willed like myself who were almost convinced already and were sold after the video session. Thank you for that. Keep them coming

  89. Martin Rawles says:

    I loved the The Langer/Winstanley “Bad Man Song” mix. Late 80’s Pop/R&B at it best. Shame it took so long to see the light of day, as I thought it would of been perfect for the US market.

  90. Paul Fitzgerald says:

    I would add the “Flaming Pie” Archive re-issue by McCartney and the Lennon “Gimme Some Truth” compilation as great 2020 releases.

    Hoping for “London Town” and ” Back To The Egg” Archive re-issue in 2021 together with “Plastic Ono Band”, ” All Things Must Pass” and “Let It Be” SDE release.

  91. Francois says:

    An SDE of Lovesexy/Black Album/Camille and “pré Batman” would be very more welcome than a Diamonds and Pearls one, second to that would be “Parade”..
    As for 2021, the Lou Reed and the the Prince are the two boxsets I am listening to the most.
    In my top 5 are also the “Noir Désir l’intégrale” set which is a perfect, well price and beautifully presented boxset.
    1. Prince Sign O The Times SDE
    2. Lou Reed New-York SDE
    3. Noie Désir l’intégrale SDE
    4. Porcupine Tree Delerium Years CD SDE
    5. The Rolling Stones Goat’s Head Soup SDE
    6. Elton John Jewel Box
    7. Marillion Script For a Jester’s tear SDE
    8. Tears For Fears The Seeds of LOVE SDE
    9. King Crimson 1969
    10. Tangerine Dream Pilots of the Purple Twilight

  92. Dirk says:

    Perfect list to which I would only add The Replacements deluxe edition of Please to meet me. Great selection of additional tracks and I liked that the vinyl included is not the regular album, but rather an album with alternative track listing of the rough mixes (which sound fantastic). Looking forward to the continuation of The Ramones 40th anniversary editions in 2021 with an expanded version of End of the Century that will also cover the Rock ‘N’ Roll High School soundtrack.

  93. Jeremy says:

    These are all, I’m sure, great box sets Paul and I have really enjoyed your on point and entertaining unboxing videos for these releases (they’re way too compelling!). But ‘best’ is of course a highly subjective term. Best value? Best packaging? Best track selection? I didn’t actually buy any of these box sets, but I did buy a handful of very good new box sets this year by artists including Shakespeares Sister, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Cockburn, Najoua Belyzel, and Elton John. These, I guess, were my ‘Bests’. Looking forward to a whole new batch in 2021. Happy New Year!

  94. Gary Tilford says:

    I think Vienna is a great set and superb value for money. Its just a shame there was no video content. Vienna is such an iconic 80’s video.

  95. Otto says:

    Prince Sign o the times is the boxset to end all box sets.
    No crap, only a wonderful book an a ton of amazing music.

  96. G.D. Wilde says:

    I bought the top 5 – so I (mostly) afgree :)

  97. MARK LEVY says:

    My favourite re-issue of the year has to be The Who’s Odds & Sods.

  98. Stuart says:

    Although it’s hard to disagree with your list Paul, I’d petition that it’s expanded with the 2 great sets released by Bob Mould and Mansun this year.

    The Bob Mould CD set contains so much great music with barely any repetition over its 24 discs. Great price at just over £80 for a signed set.

    The Mansun box truly is warts-and-all. Some of the live discs do repeat a ‘few’ tracks a few times, but if the intention is to showcase their whole body of work, then the set succeeds. This set is backed up by 3 very comprehensive books, art cards and a signed lyric sheet adding to the value.

    Two great sets in still enjoying in addition to Prince, TFF, Divine Comedy etc

  99. fredpostman says:

    I will second your endorsement of ‘Sigh Of The Times’ Paul, its beautifully conceived and the music is jaw dropping, his masterwork no doubt about it.

  100. Don says:

    I’m the happy owner of the first three sets in this list. This was a great year for expanded editions… for me, at least. There were also TWO Howard Jones expanded editions released in this past year.

    There are hints of great stuff to come in 2021. Smashing Pumpkins’ “MACHINA” SDE, the last studio label Howard Jones SDE (“In The Running”), and if rumors circulating through the Prince-fan-ether are true, an SDE of “Diamonds & Pearls”. (Not my choice… I’d rather have “Around The World In A Day”, but when it comes to Vault material, I’ll take whatever I can get…)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *