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Five Things About . . . Outrageous Box Sets

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bowie and paul Five Things About  . . . Outrageous Box Sets

David Bowie and friend, 1985 (Getty Images/Dave Hogan)

Fascinating facts, pivotal events, odd connections … what you don’t know about the people who make the music may surprise you! Each week, J.A. Bartlett of The Hits Just Keep on Comin’ digs up Five Things about rock’s legendary past and present …

Most of us own a few CD box sets, but we have admired many more without taking them home from the store because we’re not made out of money. For those who are, we present Five Things About . . . Expensive (and Extensive) Box Sets.


Station to Station Deluxe Edition by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]David Bowie[/lastfm]. An over-the-top edition of Bowie’s 1976 release, featuring the original analog master, two discs covering the oft-bootlegged March 1976 Nassau Coliseum show, a disc featuring the 1985 CD master (which supposedly sounds better than subsequent CD issues), a disc containing the single edits of tracks on the album, and a DVD-audio disc containing the original album, a 5.1 surround mix, and an entirely new stereo mix. If you’re counting, you get five different versions of the album over six digital discs — plus three vinyl discs featuring the original album and the Nassau Coliseum show, and a whole bunch of memorabilia. It’s yours for $127.44.

Next Stop Is Vietnam: The War on Record, 1968-2008. Featuring 13 CDs and a 304-page companion book, this set is loaded with iconic songs and news clips from the Vietnam Era and beyond, from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” to “Give Peace a Chance,” but also songs about Vietnam and its effects written and recorded in the years after the war. From the compilation fiends at Bear Family Records, and probably worth $262.77 if you’re a scholar of the 1960s. (Full track list here.)

Apple Records Box Set. Features non-[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Beatles[/lastfm] work released on Apple, including four albums by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Badfinger[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]James Taylor[/lastfm]‘s self-titled debut, and Is This What You Want by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Jackie Lomax[/lastfm], which features contributions from [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]George Harrison[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Paul McCartney[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Ringo Starr[/lastfm], and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Eric Clapton[/lastfm]. Includes two discs of Apple tracks not released on albums. Given the rarity of some of this stuff, paying $247.52 doesn’t seem outrageous, although discs can also be purchased individually.

Exile on Main Street: Stones Touring Party Deluxe Road Case Box by the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Rolling Stones[/lastfm]. This set features the deluxe remastered edition of the album on CD and vinyl, a framable lithograph of poster art from the Stones’ 1972 American tour, a coffee-table book featuring photos from the tour, a replica of the T-shirt Mick Jagger wore on tour, replica ticket stubs, backstage passes, and badges worn by members of the band, and even a replica hotel key from the “Riot Hyatt” in Los Angeles, where the band stayed. All of it comes in a hard case with metal locks, hinges, and handle. It’s yours at Amazon.com for $435.54.

The Beatles. I’m including this because given the declining popularity of the compact disc, here comes the future. It’s an apple-shaped USB flash drive loaded with the Beatles’ 14 stereo albums, all the artwork, rare photos, expanded liner notes, plus mini documentary films about the albums. Audio is provided in FLAC and MP3 format. Priced at $267.10, it won’t cause any storage problems on your music shelves, although it does come with a potential “where the hell did I put that flash drive” problem.

Know something more about any of these Five Things? Add them to the comments below …

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