Entertainment Music

Bob Dylan, Queen, Bruce Springsteen top the ultimate CD box set guide

By Darryl Sterdan, Special to Postmedia Network

(WENN/Reuters file photos)

(WENN/Reuters file photos)

The album may be running out of steam, but the box set is still going strong. This fall brought another sonic tsunami — nearly 100 overhauled classics, archive-raiding anthologies and collectibles for completists. Here are the biggest, the best and most of the rest of this season’s readily available offerings. Some I’ve already reviewed elsewhere; many more will get their due shortly; others are self-explanatory. You can assume almost all are worth your time and money (all prices approximate). 


1. Bob Dylan & The Band
Bootleg Series Vol. 11: Basement Tapes Complete

Dylan and The Band’s storied sessions are finally released in a big way — with all their magnetism, mystique and majesty intact. DISCS: 6 CDs. DATES: 1967. DAMAGE: $125.

2. The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 2
Various Artists

Jack White does it again — by loading another custom-built cabinet with 800 blues and jazz treasures, plus books and more. DISCS: 6 LPs, 1 USB drive. DATES: 1928-’32. DAMAGE: $400.

3. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
CSNY 1974

The fractious folk-rockers seem to be in perfect harmony — onstage, anyway — in this superb-sounding live compilation. DISCS: 3 CDs & 1 DVD. DATES: 1974. DAMAGE: $50.

4. Pixies
Doolittle 25

Cue the waves of jubilation: Here comes Frank Black and co.'s landmark album, plus thrilling demos, la la live recordings and rarities. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1988-’89. DAMAGE: $42.

5. Queen
Live at the Rainbow ’74: Super Deluxe

There’s no shortage of killer Queen concerts available. But few are guaranteed to blow your mind like this barnburner. DISCS: 2 CDs & 2 DVDs. DATES: 1974. DAMAGE: $85.

6. Miles Davis
Miles at the Fillmore 1970: Bootleg Series Vol. 3

Four full shows (and more) from the maverick trumpeter and his all-star band weeks after his groundbreaking Bitches Brew album. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1970. DAMAGE: $50.

7. Wings
Venus & Mars | Wings at the Speed of Sound: Deluxe

The latest lavish volumes in Paul McCartney’s Archive Collection deliver another treasure trove of hits and memorabilia. DISCS: 2 CDs & 1 DVD each. DATES: 1975-’76. DAMAGE: $70.

8. The Jam
Setting Sons Collectors Edition

Hello-hurray, it’s Paul Weller and co.’s ambitious fourth album, augmented by singles, demos, live fare, video and more. DISCS: 3 CDs, 1 DVD. DATES: 1979-’80. DAMAGE: $200.  

9. The Beatles
The Beatles in Mono: Limited Edition Vinyl

You say you want a revolution. But in this case, you don’t. You want the Fabs’ nine U.K. releases in their original mono glory. DISCS: 14 LPs. DATES: 1963-’69. DAMAGE: $325.

10. Bruce Springsteen
Album Collection Vol. 1

Thanks to new technology, Bruce’s first seven albums have never sounded better. Chuck your old CDs (or LPs) and upgrade. DISCS: 8 CDs. DATES: 1973-1984. DAMAGE: $70.

THE REST (in alphabetical order)


The Studio Albums
Money, money, money. Little else could justify yet another box of all the Swedish hitmakers’ studio releases — this time on vinyl. DISCS: 8 LPs. DATES: 1973-’81. DAMAGE: $200.

Bryan Adams
Reckless: 30th Anniversary
Try Flawless — the Can-rocker’s hit-filled 1984 gem gets upgraded with a live disc, 5.1 audio and vintage video. DISCS: 2 CDs, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-ray. DATES: 1984-’85. DAMAGE: $80.

Allman Brothers Band
The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings
Call it the Full Fillmore: All five epic, jam-filled shows that were boiled down to the ABB’s legendary At Fillmore East set. It’s a peach. DISCS: 6 CDs. DATES: 1971. DAMAGE: $40.

The Beatles
Meet the Beatles: The Japan Box
Beatlemaniacs, completists and collectors will say domo arigato for this painstaking recreation of the Fabs’ first Asian releases. DISCS: 5 CDs. DATES: 1964-65. DAMAGE: $125.

If you missed the sleepy beauty of these Texas indie rockers in the ’90s, wake up and catch up with this anthology of all their releases. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1992-1998. DAMAGE: $50.

Beyoncé: Platinum
Still drunk in love with Yoncé’s self-titled surprise disc? This version upgrades it with an EP of new tunes and a live DVD. DISCS: 2 CDs & 2 DVDs. DATES: 2013. DAMAGE: $30.

Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression Singles Collection
Various Artists
A companion set to Richie Havers’ book of the same name, this overview covers the jazz label’s storied history and roster. DISCS: 5 CDs. DATES: 1939-2014. DAMAGE: $67.

Bon Jovi
New Jersey: Super Deluxe
Dig out your animal-print leggings, backcomb your hair and party like it’s 1989. You too, ladies. DISCS: 2 CDS & 1 DVD. DATES: 1988-’89. DAMAGE: $25.

David Bowie
Nothing Has Changed: Deluxe
Nearly 60 of the Thin White Duke’s glam-pop and art-rock classics, presented in reverse chronological order — but with few rarities. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1964-2014. DAMAGE: $22.

Captain Beefheart
Sun Zoom Spark
Maverick mutant Don Van Vliet’s first three post-Trout Mask Replica releases return — joined with a disc of previously released outtakes. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1970-’72. DAMAGE: $48.

Belinda Carlisle
Complete Studio Albums
Mad about the former Go-Go’s singer? Then perhaps you want all of her studio albums in standard editions in one simple box. DISCS: 7 CDs. DATES: 1986-2007. DAMAGE: $70.

Eva Cassidy
Vinyl Collection
A handful of the late jazz-pop songbird's posthumous releases are collected in this pricey limited-edition box. DISCS: 5 LPs, 1 12” single. DATES: 2000-’08. DAMAGE: $245.

Bruce Cockburn
Rumours of Glory
The Canadian folktivist retraces his rich musical journey in this 117-track companion set to his recent memoir. DISCS: 8 CDs & 1 DVD. DATES: 1966-2009. DAMAGE: $135.

Ry Cooder
Seven of the veteran guitarist’s cinematic efforts — including Long Riders, Paris Texas, Alamo Bay and Crossroads — in a no-frills box. DISCS: 7 CDs. DATES: 1980-’93. DAMAGE: $43. 

Cream: 1966 - 1972
No fresh cream — just the blues-rock power trio’s six live and studio releases on heavyweight vinyl in a slipcase. DISCS: 7 LPs. DATES: 1966-’72. DAMAGE: $150.

Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Complete Studio Albums
John Fogerty and his swamp-rock kings’ studio catalogue — from self-titled debut to ’72 swan song Mardi Gras — returns on vinyl. DISCS: 7 LPs. DATES: 1968-’72. DAMAGE: $190.


Daft Punk
Alive 1997 / 2007
Don your futuristic disco helmet and get down to this deluxe comp of the EDM duo’s two live albums, with book and trinkets. DISCS: 4 LPs. DATES: 1997 & 2007. DAMAGE: $145.

Miles Davis Quintet Featuring John Coltrane
All of You: The Last Tour
It’s a clash of the titans as post-bop trumpet god Davis and sax colossus Coltrane do musical battle onstage during their final tour. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1960. DAMAGE: $50.

Dream Theater
Studio Albums 1992-2011
Just what it says — nearly two decades of the U.S. prog-metal crew’s studio output in a bare-bones box — and nothing else. DISCS: 11 CDs. DATES: 1992-2011. DAMAGE: $71.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Inside the Pleasuredome
Relax. It’s only the U.K. synth-popsters’ 1984 album, expanded with umpteen different mixes and videos. DISCS: 2 LPs, 3 EPs, 1 DVD, 1 cassette. DATES: 1984. DAMAGE: $195.

Fripp & Eno
Live in Paris 28.05.1975
No pussyfooting — just 154 minutes of tape-looped guitar improv and ambient instrumental experiments from the avant-garde icons. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1975. DAMAGE: $36.

Peter Gabriel
Back to Front: Live in London
Trust Gabriel to make nostalgia feel new and improved with this typically striking show from his So 25th anniversary tour. DISCS: 2 DVDs & 2 CDs. DATES: 2013. DAMAGE: $48.

Rory Gallagher
Irish Tour ’74: 40th Anniversary Deluxe
Back in his stompin’ ground: The Irish blues-rock guitar hero’s landmark live set gets an encore with 43 unreleased cuts. DISCS: 7 CDs, 1 DVD. DATES: 1973-’74. DAMAGE: $72.

Peter or Phil? Doesn’t matter which you prefer; you get both (along with solo hits) on this career-spanning anthology. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1970-2012. DAMAGE: $28.

Grateful Dead
Spring 1990 (The Other One)
A long, strange trip indeed — eight complete shows (including a Hamilton gig) from one of Jerry and co.’s last great runs. DISCS: 23 CDs. DATES: 1990. DAMAGE: $250. 

George Harrison
The Apple Years
The quiet one gets the last word — finally — with this long-awaited upgrade of Harrison’s early post-Beatles output. DISCS: 7 CDs & 1 DVD. DATES: 1968-’75. DAMAGE: $90.

The Complete 45s Collection
Not their Motown classics — but nearly 300 songs the legendary tunesmiths produced, wrote and released on their own labels. DISCS: 14 CDs. DATES: 1969-’77. DAMAGE: $175.

Iron Maiden
The Complete Albums Collection (1980-1988)
Actually, it’s just the NWOBHMers first three albums on heavy-duty vinyl — in a big red box with space for the other reissues. DISCS: 3 LPs. DATES: 1980-’82. DAMAGE: $70.

Jethro Tull
A Passion Play: An Extended Performance
The prog-rockers’ concept album about the afterlife is reborn — and remixed in 5.1 — along with numerous outtakes. DISCS: 2 CDs, 2 DVDs. DATES: 1973. DAMAGE: $40.

Jethro Tull
WarChild: 40th Anniversary
The latest Tull reissue expands their seventh album with outtakes, new stereo and 5.1 mixes and extensive notes. DISCS: 2 CDs, 2 DVDs. DATES: 1973-’74. DAMAGE: $50.  

King Crimson
Closer to Bottomless: The prog gods’ sixth album is reissued with 19 live CDs, hi-res audio and rarities. DISCS: 23 CDs, 2 DVDs, 2 Blu-Rays. DATES: 1973-’74. DAMAGE: $200.

The Anthology
Tired of waiting for that reunion tour? Here’s something you can enjoy now: 100 hits and rarities from the U.K. rockers’ first act. DISCS: 5 CDs. DATES: 1964-1971. DAMAGE: $60.


Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin | Led Zeppelin II | Led Zeppelin III | Led Zeppelin IV | Houses of the Holy Super Deluxe
The songs remain the same (and the extras are meh) on Jimmy Page’s Zep reissues, but the packaging is new. DISCS: 2 LPs, 2 CDs. DATES: 1969-’73. DAMAGE: $150 each.

Nils Lofrgren
Face the Music
One of rock’s greatest utility players and unsung heroes gets some overdue star time on a 169-track set of solo cuts and rarities. DISCS: 9 CDs, 1 DVD. DATES: 1971-2011. DAMAGE: $125.

Manic Street Preachers
Holy Bible 20
A new archive of pain: The Manics’ grim 1994 masterwork gets upgraded with extras — incuding their final gig with Richey Edwards. DISCS: 4 CDs, 1 LP. DATES: 1994. DAMAGE: $75. 

John Mellencamp
1978 - 2012
Plainspoken as the man himself, this overpriced no-frills box contains virtually all Mellencamp’s studio discs — and little else. DISCS: 19 CDs. DATES: 1978-2012. DAMAGE: $100.

By Request
Metallica played 27 shows in 2014 — and let fans pick many of the set lists. If you want to own audio of all the gigs, here’s your chance. DISCS: 53. DATES: 2014. DAMAGE: $417. 

Millions Like Us: The Story of the Mod Revival
Various Artists
Gas up the Lambretta for this 100-track compilation of latter-day Mod bands like The Untouchables, Purple Hearts and Prisoners. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1977-’89. DAMAGE: $72. 

Joni Mitchell
Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to be Danced
Classic Joni — Mitchell spent years assembling this soundtrack to a four-act romantic ballet, using 53 songs from her archives. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1971-2007. DAMAGE: $60.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Total Rubbish: The Complete Collection
And now for something completely … well, complete: Nearly all the U.K. comedy troupe’s live and studio recordings. DISCS: 9 CDs, 1 single. DATES: 1970-’80. DAMAGE: $115.

The Moody Blues
The Polydor Years
If your wildest dreams include a box of the British vets’ ’80s and ’90s live and studio releases plus a book, you’re in luck. DISCS: 6 CDs, 2 DVDs, 1 single. DATES: 1986-’92. DAMAGE: $140.

William Onyeabor
William Onyeabor
David Byrne’s Luaka Bop goes all in, reissuing the full catalog of recently rediscovered Nigerian synth-funk recluse Onyeabor. DISCS: 9 CDs. DATES: 1978-’85. DAMAGE: $75.

Pink Floyd
The Division Bell: 20th Anniversary Deluxe
Floyd primed the pump for The Endless River with this pricey deluxe version of its predecessor. DISCS: 1 CD, 1 Blu-Ray, 2 LPs, 3 singles. DATES: 1994. DAMAGE: $120.

Iggy Pop
Gimme Some Skin
New and old blasts of raw power in single (coloured-vinyl) servings from the world’s forgotten boy. DISCS: 7 singles. DATES: 1975-2013. DAMAGE: $55. 

Elvis Presley
Elvis: That’s the Way It Is Deluxe
The way he was: Six concerts from The King’s first Vegas stand in 1970 — and the updated documentary they spawned. DISCS: 8 CDs & 2 DVDs. DATES: 1970. DAMAGE: $160.

Suzi Quatro
The Girl From Detroit City
Dig out your black leather jumpsuit and replay nearly five decades of hits and highlights from the pioneering glam-rock queen. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1966-2014. DAMAGE: $85.

The Polydor Years
The ultimate self-portrait: All nine studio albums (and the first live outing) from guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s post-Deep Purple band. DISCS: 10 LPs. DATES: 1975-’95. DAMAGE: $200. 

Single-minded R.E.M. fans won’t balk at the hefty price for this box with 11 of the band’s early 7” 45s in replicated cover art. DISCS: 12 singles. DATES: 1983-’88. DAMAGE: $115. 

Todd Rundgren
At The BBC 1972-1982
A trip to Utopia for the cult of Runt — in the form of several live audio and video performances from the Beeb’s vaults. DISCS: 3 CDs, 1 DVD. DATES: 1972-1982. DAMAGE: $65.


Simon and Garfunkel
Complete Albums Collection
The sounds of repackaging: The third S&G box ups the ante by combining their studio and live discs with The Graduate and Greatest Hits. DISCS: 12 CDs. DATES: 1964-2004. DAMAGE: $87. 

Frank Sinatra
Sinatra: London
Old Blue Eyes’ 1962 LP Great Songs From Great Britain returns, joined by outtakes, BBC radio fare and concert footage. DISCS: 3 CDs, 1 DVD. DATES: 1953-’70. DAMAGE: $57.

Start Together
Make that Restart Together — the post-punk trio’s career-spanning box also includes their first new song in a decade. DISCS: 7 LPs, 1 single. DATES: 1994-2014. DAMAGE: $125.

The Smashing Pumpkins
Adore: Super Deluxe
It isn’t easy to love the Pumpkins’ dark fourth disc, but those who do will be head over heels for this exhaustive reissue. DISCS: 6 CDs & 1 DVD. DATES: 1998. DAMAGE: $70.

Superunknown: 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe
The Seattle grunge kings’ fourth album gets supersized with B-sides, demos, live recordings and a 5.1 mix. DISCS: 4 CDs, 1 Blu-Ray. DATES: 1993-’94. DAMAGE: $50.

Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path
Didn’t get enough bonus tracks in the Superunknown box? Here are three more discs of obscure originals, covers and oddities. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1988-2014. DAMAGE: $50.

Michael Stanley
The Solo Years
The underappreciated heartland rocker reviews his last two decades with one disc of rockers, another of ballads and a third with rarities. DISCS: 3 CDs. DATES: 1995-2014. DAMAGE: $20.

Dog Man Star
The Britpopsters’ 1994 CD gets a multi-media upgrade, complete with books, artwork and more. DISCS: 2 CDs, 1 Blu-ray, 1 DVD, 1 cassette, 3 singles. DATES: 1994-2013. DAMAGE: $220. 

Donna Summer
Donna: The CD Collection
Hot stuff for Donna devotees: Seven of the late disco queen’s later albums are collected here in expanded deluxe editions. DISCS: 10 CDs. DATES: 1980-’91. DAMAGE: $155. 

Crime of the Century
Bloody well right, it’s the English rockers’ breakthrough third album, remastered on deluxe vinyl and joined by a previously unreleased gig. DISCS: 3 LPs. DATES: 1974-’75. DAMAGE: $36.

Tears for Fears
Songs From The Big Chair: Super Deluxe
The biggest Chair ever augments the duo’s 1985 smash with outtakes, live fare, 12” mixes, 5.1 audio and video. DISCS: 6 CDs, 2 DVDs. DATES: 1983-2005. DAMAGE: $100. 

The Tragically Hip
Fully Completely: Deluxe
This fuller, completer version of the CanRockers’ third album includes outtakes, a live album and a 1993 tour doc. DISCS: 2 CDs & 1 DVD. DATES: 1992-1993. DAMAGE: $48.

The Turtles
45 RPM Singles Collection
The high-quality vinyl versions of the pop vets’ pride and joy, etc.? Swell. The bare-bones packaging? Not so much. DISCS: 8 singles. DATES: 1965-’69. DAMAGE: $72.
dubnobasswithmyheadman: Super Deluxe
With four discs of outtakes, remixes and live fare, this 20th anniversary reissue from the U.K. techno trio is worth raving about. DISCS: 5 CDs. DATES: 1991-’94. DAMAGE: $67.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
Complete Epic Recordings
It’s not totally complete — but it does pack more than 10 hours of the blues-rocker’s pride and joy into a bare-bones box. DISCS: 13 CDs. DATES: 1980-’90. DAMAGE: $65.

The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe
Understated and underrated, the VU’s third LP returns here with three different mixes, a live gig and previously issued leftovers. DISCS: 6 CDs. DATES: 1968-’69. DAMAGE: $100. 

Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks
Some bands grow. Wilco evolve, as evinced on this compilation of demos, live recordings, outtakes, collaborations and covers. DISCS: 4 CDs. DATES: 1994-2014. DAMAGE: $50.

Music DVD Boxes

Depeche Mode
Live in Berlin
Two versions of Anton Corbijn’s stylish 2013 concert film, with full audio and a 5.1 version of Delta Machine. DISCS: 2 DVDs, 1 Blu-Ray, 2 CDs. DATES: 2013. DAMAGE: $32.

The Midnight Special Box Set
Various Artists
More than eight hours of clips from the pioneering ’70s music-TV show — most of which are already online for free. DISCS: 6 DVDs. DATES: 1972-’79. DAMAGE: $40. 

A retrospective of the Georgians’ live TV appearances, from Unplugged and Storytellers to Colbert and their Rock Hall induction. DISCS: 6 DVDs. DATES: 1983-2008. DAMAGE: $70. 

The CanRockers’ last five live DVDs — plus three hours of bonus fare, from a ’74 school show to their recent Rock Hall blah-blah-blah. DISCS: 10 DVDs. DATES: 1974-2013. DAMAGE: $100.  

Twitter: @darryl_sterdan

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