For all the things that went horribly wrong in 2020, it was a good year for deluxe box sets and album reissues! Here are some great gift recommendations for the music lover in your life– or treat yourself!
All That You Can’t Leave Behind, U2
This 51-track reissue has nine b-sides and outtakes that are mostly keepers– plus an excellent 2001 concert!
Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 to 1967), Joni Mitchell
A massive 5-disc set loaded with unreleased songs and several concerts. Includes a full three-set show from 1967. Hear Mitchell evolve from a standard folksinger into a talented songwriter (29 unreleased originals in all) with a unique style.
Armed Forces, Elvis Costello
Essentially an expansion of the excellent 2002 2-CD deluxe reissue of Costello’s third album, this version also features an unreleased 13-song set from the Pinkpop Festival in 1979 and a six-song selection from a rather combative 1978 show.
The Boys… On Safari
A 5-CD set featuring three albums the band made for Safari Records from 1979 to 1981, 22 demos & outtakes, and a 10-song BBC live set. A great way to discover this solid power pop band that deserved far more success than it had.
Elton: Jewel Box, Elton John
Three CDs of demos, the vast majority being unreleased songs recorded between 1965 and 1971, illustrate the early growth of Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a songwriting team. Also features three discs of lesser-known tracks and two discs of b-sides.
Elektrafied: The Elektra Years 1978-1982, Shoes
This four-CD set chronicles the period after 1978’s acclaimed Black Vinyl Shoes when the band got a major label deal with Elektra Records. Includes the Shoes’ three Elektra albums, demos for each album, and a disc of non-album rarities.
Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019, Various Artists
This 3-CD set cherry picks performances from the massive all-star, guitar-centric festival. Includes numerous one-of-a-kind collaborations like Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt storming through Bob Dylan’s “Everything’s Broken” and the all-star jams on Prince’s “Purple Rain” & Joe Cocker’s “High Time We Went”!
Flaming Pie Archive Collection, Paul McCartney
One of McCartney’s best solo albums gets expanded to a 5CD/2 DVD set with rough mixes, home recordings, demos, studio outtakes, and more!
From Elvis In Nashville, Elvis Presley
Collects songs Presley recorded in Nashville in 1970 with the ace musicians known as the Nashville Cats.
Goat’s Head Soup, Rolling Stones
A 4-CD/Blu-ray reissue of the 1973 album that had the daunting task of following up the classic Exile On Main Street. Features unreleased tracks and the fantastic 1973 concert from Brussels, Belgium, which illustrated how lead guitarist Mick Taylor took the Stones to a whole new level as a live band.
New York, Lou Reed
3CD/DVD/2LP/Cassette expansion of Reed’s best album of the ‘80s. Features unreleased studio & live tracks, and the New York Album Concert!
No Need To Argue, The Cranberries
This 2-CD reissue includes several worthy b-sides, demos, and live tracks.
Permanent Waves, Rush
This 2-CD reissue supplements one of Rush’s best albums with 11 live tracks.
Pleased to Meet Me, The Replacements
The Replacements’ best album expanded with dozens of b-sides, outtakes, demos, rough mixes, and extras galore!
Seeds of Love, Tears For Fears
The deluxe reissue of this ambitious album features some good b-sides and early versions.
Sign O’ The Times, Prince
This 8-disc box set reissue comes with the landmark original album, 45 previously unreleased studio tracks, and two 1987 concerts. The wealth of unreleased material alone makes this one worth it!
Sockin’ It To You: The Complete Dynavoice/New Voice Recordings, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels
Collects the songs Ryder recorded while fronting the Detroit Wheels (1965-1968).
Summerteeth marked the third and last studio effort from the original lineup of Wilco before frontman Jeff Tweedy began to remake the band into its current, more musically adventurous and versatile image. This 4-CD deluxe reissue starts with the original album and then adds a disc of demos, outtakes, and some interesting alternate versions. Two more discs house a complete 1999 concert, a fine live document of Wilco at its early peak.
Trouble No More, The Allman Brothers Band
A 5-CD retrospective covering the entire 50-year career of the group. Highlights each era of the ABB while not duplicating too much from the 1989 Dreams boxset.
Wildflowers and All the Rest, Tom Petty
Features 1999’s Wildflowers plus nine fine songs left off the original release, home recordings, and live performances on 4 CDs.