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SDEtv looks back / Sting 25 Years box

Nice box, shame about the content…

SDEtv looks back at the missed opportunity that was Sting‘s 25 Years four-disc box set from 2011. Watch the unboxing video…

The box set is only really worth buying if you like nice packaging. The ‘Best of 25 Years’ 2CD is not bad, there’s a laughable brief single CD edition – which still feels the need to include three live tracks – and there’s 2LP vinyl set as well.

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Sting

25 Years box set

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Sting

The Best of 25 Years - 2LP vinyl

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Sting

The Best of 25 Years single CD edition

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Sting

The Best of 25 Years 2CD edition

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Sting 25 Years / 3CD+DVD Box Set

25 Years 3CD+DVD box set

DISC 1

  • 01 If You Love Somebody Set Them Free (2011 Remix) 04:24
  • 02 Love Is The Seventh Wave (2011 Remix) 03:30
  • 03 Consider Me Gone (2011 Remix) 04:31
  • 04 Moon Over Bourbon Street (2011 Remix) 04:02
  • 05 Fortress Around Your Heart (2011 Remix) 04:53
  • 06 Bring On The Night / When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What’s (Still Around) (Live In Paris) 11:28
  • 07 Driven To Tears (Live – 2011 Remix) 06:29
  • 08 I Burn For You (Live – 2011 Remix) 05:16
  • 09 Be Still My Beating Heart 05:35
  • 10 They Dance Alone 07:12
  • 11 Englishman In New York (Album Version) 04:26
  • 12 Fragile 03:55
  • 13 We’ll Be Together (2011 Remix) 04:45
  • 14 Sister Moon 03:46
  • 15 The Secret Marriage (Album Version) 02:09

DISC 2

  • 01 All This Time (Album Version) 04:54
  • 02 Mad About You 03:53
  • 03 Why Should I Cry For You? 04:45
  • 04 The Soul Cages (Album Version) 05:52
  • 05 When The Angels Fall 07:48
  • 06 If I Ever Lose My Faith In You (Album Version) 04:29
  • 07 Fields Of Gold 03:40
  • 08 Seven Days (Album Version) 04:39
  • 09 It’s Probably Me (Album Version) 05:08
  • 10 Shape Of My Heart (Album Version) 04:38
  • 11 When We Dance 05:57
  • 12 I Hung My Head 04:40
  • 13 I Was Brought To My Senses 05:48
  • 14 You Still Touch Me 03:46
  • 15 I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying 03:56

DISC 3

  • 01 A Thousand Years (Album Version) 05:57
  • 02 Desert Rose (Album Version) 04:46
  • 03 Ghost Story (Album Version) 05:29
  • 04 Brand New Day (Album Version) 06:20
  • 05 Send Your Love (Dave Aude Remix Edit Version) 03:16
  • 06 Whenever I Say Your Name (Album Version) 05:25
  • 07 Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing) (Album Version) 03:56
  • 08 Soul Cake 03:26
  • 09 The Hounds Of Winter 05:45
  • 10 Next To You 02:29
  • 11 We Work The Black Seam 07:18
  • 12 The Pirate’s Bride 05:03
  • 13 Never Coming Home (2011 Mix) 05:19
  • 14 Russians (Live In Berlin) 04:51
  • 15 The End Of The Game (Live In Berlin/Without Intros) 06:00

DISC 4 (DVD)

  • 01 Message In A Bottle (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 04:51
  • 02 Demolition Man (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 05:42
  • 03 Synchronicity II (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 04:44
  • 04 Driven To Tears (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 04:32
  • 05 Heavy Cloud No Rain (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 05:02
  • 06 A Day In The Life (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 03:50
  • 07 Voices Inside My Head/When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What’s Still Around (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 06:11
  • 08 Roxanne (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 06:03
  • 09 Next To You (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 02:53
  • 10 Lithium Sunset (Live At Irving Plaza, 2005) 04:07

 Sting The Best of 25 Years 2CD

Disc 1

  • If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  • Love Is The Seventh Wave
  • Moon Over Bourbon Street
  • Fortress Around Your Heart
  • Englishman In New York
  • They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)
  • Fragile
  • We’ll Be Together
  • All This Time
  • Mad About You
  • Why Should I Cry For You?
  • The Soul Cages
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
  • Fields Of Gold
  • Seven Days
  • Shape Of My Heart

Disc 2

  • When We Dance
  • I Was Brought To My Senses
  • You Still Touch Me
  • I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying
  • Desert Rose
  • Brand New Day
  • Send Your Love (Dave Aude Remix)
  • Whenever I Say Your Name
  • Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing)
  • End Of The Game
  • Never Coming Home
  • Russians (Live)
  • Message In A Bottle (Live)
  • Demolition Man (Live)
  • Heavy Cloud No Rain (Live)

Sting 25 Years single CD edition (US version)

  • If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  • We’ll Be Together
  • Fragile
  • All This Time
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
  • Fields Of Gold
  • Desert Rose
  • Whenever I Say Your Name
  • Never Coming Home
  • Message In A Bottle (Live)
  • Demolition Man (Live)
  • Heavy Cloud No Rain (Live)

The Best of 25 Years 2LP vinyl

Side A

  • If You Love Somebody Set Them Free
  • Englishman In New York
  • Fragile
  • We’ll Be Together

Side B

  • All This Time
  • If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
  • Fields Of Gold

Side C

  • Desert Rose
  • Whenever I Say Your Name
  • Never Coming Home

Side D

  • Message In A Bottle (Live)
  • Demolition Man (Live)
  • Heavy Cloud No Rain (Live)

47 responses to SDEtv looks back / Sting 25 Years box

  1. Robert says:

    Hi Paul,

    Have you seen my question from April 18 ? I really would like to know if the single version of “Love Is The Seventh Wave” has ever been released on CD ?

    Thanks in Advance !

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not sure is the answer. Possibly on a compilation somewhere, although perhaps not! I’m sure a fellow SDE reader might be able to chip in…

      • Robert says:

        Thanks for your reply & answer. I hope that someday there will be an SDE of “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles”. It’s still his best solo-album.

  2. Gökhan says:

    I never understood why they included the Dave Audé Remix instead of the Album Version of “Send Your Love”.

    I’m also missing “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot”. Why would you omit a track that was the lead single of your studio album?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Sting is obsessed with bloody Dave Audé !

      • Gökhan says:

        Not only was “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” the lead single from “Mercury Falling”, it even earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

  3. Robert says:

    Paul,
    I have a question for you and I hope that you can help me. Has the single version of “Love Is The Seventh Wave” ever been released on CD ?

    I also would like to thank you for this great unboxing video.

  4. Glenn says:

    Another good example of a missed opportunity is George Michael’s Twenty Five 3 CD compilation where disc 3 was titled ‘For the Loyal’ yet included six tracks from the Patience album which of course ‘the loyal’ already owned.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      That ‘loyal’ disc should have at least had the Wexler Mix of Careless Whisper. As you say, it was very disappointing.

  5. Pete says:

    When it comes down to it, these legacy artists owe us nothing. They have given us so much over the years and deserve a rest without having to cater to our every expectation. And that’s coming from someone who loves buying sets of unreleased material. But I take what I can get and enjoy listening to what I have. Sure, this box set may be superfluous but it is what it is. Sting already has multiple homes bought with money his adoring fans gave him for years. I am sure there is little incentive in his career now to put out rare and unreleased songs that will probably go more to lining the record company’s pockets than his own. Or perhaps he is like Prince and believes the demos will sully his image. He has always been a perfectionist and good for him if he is. It is his art to share or not share and I am glad the record company hasn’t taken the control away from him and released stuff without his permission. I feel bad they are doing that now with Prince knowing he never wanted his demos released. The same goes with Van Morrison and he’s still alive! Sting owes us nothing. He has given us so many albums of well crafted songs and I have to say I loved his recent effort with Shaggy and his 57th and 9th album. Both were unexpected surprises. So, I see this package as a way to celebrate his 25 years of released material. It never promised to be anything more than that. And the large price tag simply derives from the cost that goes into producing the book and slip case which tends to be the thing that bears the brunt of the price on these projects. I did not buy this set and I probably never will but I have no problem with it existing for what it is – a celebration of Sting’s 25 years of output. Cheers.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      No one is saying they ‘owe’ us anything. But if you are going to do a box set, why not make it good? Presume you agree that 25 Years could have been (a lot) better? Also Prince said in public at least once that he expected the vault material to be released after his death.

    • Chris Squires says:

      I’ve been on both sides of this “argument” having been very defensive when people moan about Kate Bush’s productivity or lack of it. I am usually on the side of “They owe us nothing” we pay our money and get years of lovely music. But reading Paul’s Response made me realize the specificity of the argument. I was arguing for Kate’s right to do nothing. To release nothing and not to be working on SDEs of her albums. It is something to find yourself saying, as a massive fan of any artist, “I would rather they didn’t bother”. As me old Dad used to say, if you are going to do something do it to the best of your ability. And I think this is the argument people have with Sting, Collins, Gabriel et. al. It’s the half-heartedness of it all. The lazy half-arsed attempt at something that barely raises its head to the average. The question is for those who cry out for an SDE of The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Face Value, The Kick Inside etc. Would you rather have one like Hotel California or to a lesser extent “SO” / Sting 25? One that insults your intelligence at the same level it assaults your bank account or not have one at all?
      Thinking even deeper I don’t think most people begrudge a release of anything as long as it is honest about what it is and is priced accordingly.
      It is with increasing regularity that Paul’s articles have to pull up record companies and marketing agencies for making wildly inaccurate claims about a release.
      Back to Kate. I am still on the fence about the 2018 remastered campaign. Did it achieve what it set out to do whilst we incorrectly expected more than was promised or was aimed for. Or did it fall short as a campaign by missing the minimum expectations of what something like that should be?
      Certainly if you dress something up in a smart box and charge the best part of a ton for it I would expect more than a run-of-the-mill traipse through album versions of 50 tracks and a nice book. So yes Sting owes us nothing, but unfortunately whilst that is almost precisely what he gave us artistically, the cost was not.

  6. Glen says:

    Why are Christmas albums never included in these SDE?

    Stings “If on a Winter’s Night” would have been a nice addition to this box set.

  7. Daniel says:

    Thank you for these retro videos. In these times, they are much needed and much appreciated. This is a beautiful box in terms of quality and production values, but I agree the content is lacking. Fortunately, Sting is no stranger to his catalogue (witness My Songs and the vinyl re-releases of his solo works and the Police box, all within the past couple of years) so I’m hoping he’ll dip back into the archives and offer up proper deluxe editions of this individual albums. I have this remastered sets from 1998 that each included a music video as a bonus and I think those, while sounding great, could have had more extras. I love his 2 disc/1 DVD box of Bring on the Night, which could serve as a template for upcoming re-releases.

  8. Piotr says:

    I really hope that Sting and his team did not use this box set as some kind of a measure to gauge if there was interest in releasing box sets of individual albums. Because if they did, they would have been waaaay off. Many Sting fanatics and completists did not shell out for this box set, but would easily give up a kindey for Super Deluxe Editions of his albums.
    I really like the remixed tracks off of Dream Of The Blue Turtles, and would be very curious to find out if Sting had the entire album remixed or just the tracks for this box set.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      This is always the problem. The self-fulfilling prophecy. Reluctantly put out a box set because people are telling you there is a market for them. Then make that box set crap. Watch as it doesn’t sell. Then say triumphantly to those who encouraged you “I knew there was no market for this kind of product.”

  9. DaveM says:

    To quote Joe Jackson, when he was approached about a box set, ‘conventional wisdom dictates that this kind of boxed set doesn’t sell unless it contains a significant amount of unreleased material’ and in my case add to that the lack of B sides and it’s a no sale. I just can’t see that passive Sting fans picked this up at the price point for a boxed Greatest Hits and even rabid completists like me didn’t buy it. The market for this must have been miniscule.

  10. daveid76 says:

    To misquote Black Adder, this set is like a broken pencil…pointless.

  11. Thilo says:

    This box and the single or two cd editions were released in 2011, in 1997 we had “The Best of Sting and The Police”, in 1994 we had “The Best Of Sting – Fields Of Gold”.
    What’s the sense of the 2011 release if not making fans buying stuff they already had?
    Even “Spread A Little Happiness” is missing! –
    I loved Sting and The Police, but I got divorced in 1998…
    I had contact with a man who sold his Sting collection at that time. That guy told me he wanted to sell everything because he met Sting at an airport, and Sting was an arrogant “cold fish”.
    Stay safe, Valete, Keep well, State bene, Bleibt gesund

  12. Jason M says:

    Worst box set ever. Sting hates his fans even more than Peter No B Sides Gabriel and Phil No Man With The Horn Collins. At least those theives sort of pretend to care.

    • -SG- says:

      I sense a slight bit of bitterness… Thieves, is a bit harsh no one was forced to buy any of this. But as you list those names I think…. Sting’s tennis buddy is Peter Gabriel and they toured together, and well, Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel go way back…. so what does that all mean… well they all know each other and know their bread is buttered on the A-Side. I guess when you reach a certain point in a multi-million selling career, you really don’t care about the outtakes or even some of the a-sides. The b-sides serving the purpose of marketing the hit… but often go no further, ephemeral and of the moment, and to them, hopefully forgotten. My guess is that they don’t think such a collection would sell very much. It would be interesting if he got involved and actually talked about each song and gave us a story for each song, like the Pet Shop Boys have done for their catalogue. But I guess at this point I don’t really care if Sting ever releases a b-sides collection, because I don’t think he ever will. Seeing no reissue in sight and having heard that he has no real interest in revisiting that aspect of his recording career, over the years I sought out the odds and sods… so basically, I already have them.

  13. CJ says:

    I managed to get a used copy for a really decent price, otherwise I probably never would have bought this box. I do like the content, but, as noted, it’s nothing really special–certainly not the standards of an SDE.

    And the one album track that I wanted most–“Lazarus Heart”–isn’t even included.

    I hope someone will come along that can convince Sting to take his archive seriously and we can begin to see something in the way of proper reissues. I’m almost completely unfamiliar with most of his b-sides because I was a bit of a late-comer to his work.

  14. Iain says:

    The Best Of 25 Years 2CD Edition £136??? Is that the correct price for 2CD’s ??

  15. Glenn says:

    Bought the 2 CD version along with this box set (for the live DVD). Agree that the ideal would be to get deluxe editions of the albums with all remixes/b-sides accounted for. A complete singles compilation would be nice. A collection of his videos would also be welcomed (with commentary). Interesting to see the high prices for the 2 CD in your pricing widget Paul.

  16. Dan T. says:

    This reminds me – we need a DVD of the Rock, Paper, Scissors tour. I was there for the show in Denver and I swear they were taping. There were darkly dressed men and women with pro grade video cameras walking around on the periphery of the stage, and down below in the first two rows, shooting up. Wife and I sat just behind a huge console that had all the camera feeds on it; think split screen times 20 or whatever; it was overkill for merely putting shots on the big screen behind the stage, so we thought they had to be taping for a DVD. But outside of that, Sting’s songs were jaw-dropping, especially those he had rearranged for a more jazzy approach. Peter Gabriel was great as always too. And the songs they did jointly we’re one of a kind. Paul, not sure how much clout you have, but if the opportunity arises to push somebody to get a BluRay of Rock, Paper, Scissors tour released, hit that HARD. I’d buy three copies right now (one to watch, one to leave unopened for collecting, and one to give away as a gift).

  17. Steve Cleere says:

    Other than being a big Sting fan, I don’t remember why I bought this… maybe for the DVD? Over the years, I collected a lot of B side single stuff and some boots and produced, for my own use, four CD’s called ‘ Sting – The Non Albums’ (one of which was all live tracks) so when I put them into my iTunes, I pretty much had all the released stuff anyway… but, your point, pretty packaging…

  18. MelodicMusicIsTheBestMusic says:

    Finally decided to get the 2CD edition which is enough for me from Discogs new £7.94 incl p&p…Just missing the Amazon exclusive edition of “The Last Ship” then I have all his albums.

  19. -SG- says:

    I am loving these re-visit videos. When this set came out I was really put off, and had I not seen it going for about $40 I would not have bought it. It is however a great collection of music, and the flow of the songs are excellent. Definitely my go to best of Sting. But a $100 for what is essentially an expanded greatest hits set is a really strange concept,and makes me wonder who was the intended target audience of this set in the first place? It really does seem like an elaborate promotional tool that got a full release.

  20. bertielego says:

    I own both the 3xCD+DVD box set (25 Years) and the 2xCD edition (best Of 25 Years), and I must admit, I enjoy playing them for what they actually are… best ofs.

    Since it was more about packaging than rare content, I decided back then to go for the Japanese SHM-CD edition of the box set, with a wrap around obi and the obligatory additional leaflet. So next to being a nice looking set, the copy I have is getting valuable! https://www.discogs.com/Sting-25-Years/release/4735706

    But as others have pointed out on this and previous threads, it is about time to release proper SDEs of the best of the 80’s and 90’s albums. A “The Dream Of The Blue Turtles” box set à la Tears For Fears “Songs From The Big Chair” would sell like hot cakes!

  21. CJ Feeney says:

    The first box set I bought was 20 years of Jethro Tull back in 1989, which at the time set a new standard for the form. Around 3/4 of tracks were hard to find or previously unreleased, but it covered the best known stuff. It was curated by Tull’s Ian Anderson directly because he didn’t want a rip off edition with just a couple of tracks (or none) that were new to the fans.

    As anyone who visits this site knows, Tull continue to deliver in spades where other artists never get it right.

    Some artists care about their legacy (and their fans) more than others.

  22. Tim South says:

    Paul, the recent Police albums box with the extra cd of b-sides has sold well and been pretty well received so it wouldn’t surprise me if Universal music A&M records put together a similar box for Sting’s albums with perhaps a couple of cds full of b-sides such as “Another Day” from 1985 etc. Obviously the box would be larger as there are more albums to accommodate but i feel it would sell plenty and an asking price of around £20 would be an inducement to us collectors . Regarding the DOTBT track remixes , I would be interested in finding out if Sting and Pete Smith remixed the whole album…???

  23. martin farnworth says:

    enjoying these even if i’m not a fan of the artist. the one box set i regret not buying was the complete and utter dukes.

    • Timm Davison says:

      Hi Martin,

      I bought mine used off Ebay a few years ago for like 175.00. They do have one on there now for 225, which seems to be the cheapest price either there or discogs, if you need to spend some money!

  24. Chris Squires says:

    Let’s face it, bar the, admittedly decent, box, book and adequate (nothing more) DVD presentation it’s not much more than the 3CD Gold series which you can pick up under a fiver on a good day. In fact if they were to ever do a Sting Gold 3CD set it would probably be better or more interesting.
    I have no idea how much input Sting had in this and I am probably wrong but it wouldn’t surprise me that this is another example (see Collins, Phil) where the artist should be kept as far away as possible from the controls. Any one of a thousand Serious Police / Sting fans would have made a better stab.
    Lovely Creatures, for me, is the Gold standard retrospective. At half the price for the SDE.

  25. MelodicMusicIsTheBestMusic says:

    Interesting views on this release and one which I never got round to buying or even the 2CD version but I agree it’s a pretty bog standard uninteresting release and most people have all these tracks on the individual albums apart from the exclusive 3 live tracks, but are they really that essential?
    Box set nice packaging shame about the contents.
    Personally I think rather than release a comprehensive box set of everything which will obviously be expensive, I would prefer if they release what Chris Rea has recently done last year is re-issue and remaster all the studio albums in deluxe 2CD sets with the 2nd disc containing the relevant b-sides, 12” mixes and live tracks from around the time of that individual album, or even an expanded 2CD +DVD option just like the recent and ongoing Howard Jones re-issues, or even a book style like the value for money Jethro Tull ones or the Crowded House ones.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I’d love to do my Paul Young ‘CBS Years’ approach with Sting. A career multi-disc retrospective where virtually every track was some kind of alternate or rare version (but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of it) along with a generous seasoning of B-sides and rarities.

      • Jason M says:

        Paul, it seems more and more artists try to follow these rules: 1 No matter what you do, leave off some key tracks.
        2 Even though cds hold 79:57 of music, do whatever you can do to keep it under 70. Or even under 50 just to really stick it to them.
        3 Mislabel a track or two, or call it the single mix when it is the same as the album version.
        4 Make sure the cds are crammed in the box so hard you need an excavation crew to remove them
        5 Press up so few of the box set so people can sell them for the price of two car payments on Eee Bay, when they go out of print two weeks before the release date.

  26. Ken A.! says:

    I’m almost convinced this was a promotional tool/public reminder that with 25 solo years under his belt, he was now eligible for the Rock Hall.

    The best part of this set for me were the dry, ‘unmixed’ tracks from ‘Blue Turtles’. I wouldn’t mind hearing more tracks done this way from either DOTBT or NLTS.

  27. David Crozier says:

    Don’t see what the fuss is about really. It was supposed to be the best of Sting. Surely some obscure B side or vinyl only remix isn’t likely to be the ‘Best’ of Sting? What SHOULD happen is that they should re-release the Dream of the Blue Turtles (one of my favourite albums of the 1980s, incidentally) ,or whatever, with a second disc of relevant B sides etc. Then, if that Black Seam re-record had been missed off, you’d have something to complain about!

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      It was called ’25 Years’ not ‘The Best of Sting’. It doesn’t represent Sting’s 25 years as a solo artist very accurately and there’s an expectation when you are paying £80 for an expanded deluxe set that it would be aimed more at collectors, not people who wanted ‘the best of sting’. This is one of the worst career-spanning box sets I’ve ever come across. If you are a compiler, you can choose to make these things interesting (rare versions of familiar tracks, B-sides, etc) or just do the bog-standard ‘easy’ version which will take 10 mins. They did the latter. No effort at all to delight and surprise fans.

    • Reed says:

      And you can add a 5.1 mix disc to the Blue Turtles re-issue.

  28. Robert Laversuch says:

    Got this cheapish for about 40 Euros through EBay in almost mint condition – as you already stated -tasteful packaging with the debossed outer slipcase and the CDs picking that theme up in different colours. Other than the DVD and those 4 remixed tracks a total waste of effort. They should have looked at the Police Box set that had all the studio content plus B sides etc and had four CDs worth of B-sides, outtakes etc or like Bruce Springsteen all unreleased stuff. Shame – F for Fail

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