Milestone music albums are getting deluxe reissues
A batch of pivotal albums are hitting big anniversaries, all toasted with deluxe reissue box sets. Here's a survey of seven key releases:
Paul Simon: “Graceland” (Sony Legacy, two CDs, two DVDs, $117)
The groundbreaking work of art and political hot potato gets a lavish 25th-anniversary treatment that enhances the original with loads of extras: the documentary “Under African Skies,” the 1987 Zimbabwe concert, the audio narrative “The Story of Graceland,” music videos and Simon's “Saturday Night Live” performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” The set also contains five previously unreleased live tracks recorded in 1989 during the Graceland/Rhythm of the Saints tour.
Eric Clapton: “Slowhand” (Polydor/Universal, three CDs, one DVD, one LP, $100)
The guitarist's classic solo album rode Billboard's chart for 74 weeks on the strength of “Wonderful Tonight,” “Lay Down Sally” and “Cocaine.” The box of the 35th-anniversary reissue adds an audio-only DVD in hi-res stereo and 5.1 surround sound, two CDs of Clapton live at London's Hammersmith Odeon and a vinyl disc.
Rage Against the Machine: “XX” (Legacy, two CDs, two DVDs, one LP, $130)
Rage's explosive 1992 debut returns in a 20th-anniversary upgrade with all its revolutionary heat and enough bonus fuel to keep the band's fans fired up for weeks. The original CD adds three B-sides. A second disc holds the fabled 1991 demo tape sold at early shows. The DVDs contain the free 2010 concert at Finsbury Park in the U.K. and rare footage.
Peter Gabriel: “So: 25th Anniversary” (Real World Productions, four CDs, two DVDs, one LP, one vinyl 12-inch, $135)
The former Genesis frontman reached his commercial peak with 1986's “So,” a five-times-platinum album that yielded “Sledgehammer” and the John Cusack-immortalized “In Your Eyes.” The comprehensive edition offers the album in CD, vinyl and digital formats, a 1987 Athens concert recording and a CD that shows how songs evolved from early demo to finished production.
INXS: “Kick 25th Anniversary” (UMC, three CDs, one DVD, $70)
Slide over here, INXS fans: This remastered edition of the Aussie group's six-times-platinum 1987 album includes a second CD of demos, live tracks, B-sides and remixes, plus a third with bonus remixes of hits “Devil Inside” and “New Sensation.” A DVD includes concert recordings, music videos and a documentary that traces the making of the album.
Michael Jackson: “Bad 25” (Sony Legacy, three CDs, one DVD, $50)
The King of Pop's final collaboration with Quincy Jones is reintroduced in this deluxe package, featuring the first authorized DVD release from his Bad concert tour. Sourced from Jackson's own VHS copy, it captures his July 16, 1988, performance at Wembley Stadium, before a crowd of 72,000 that included Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Also included: a collection of previously unreleased material, from early demos to tunes that didn't make the final cut.
The Velvet Underground: “The Velvet Underground & Nico 45th Anniversary” (Polydor/Pgd, six CDs, $100)
The Velvet Underground's critically adored debut didn't fare as well commercially, but Brian Eno once famously quipped that everyone who bought a copy formed a band. This collection features stereo and mono remasters, plus previously unreleased recordings of rehearsals in Andy Warhol's Factory and acetate recordings from Scepter Studios, which include early, alternate versions. Also included: vocal collaborator Nico's 1967 album “Chelsea Girl.”